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Seismic JapanThe Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake$
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Gregory Smits

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838171

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838171.001.0001

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Japan according to Earthquakes

Japan according to Earthquakes

(p.71) Chapter 3 Japan according to Earthquakes
Seismic Japan

Gregory Smits

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the social effects of earthquakes in Japan. Drawing on material from more than a dozen major earthquakes, it considers how such disasters produced thought and rhetoric about religion, morality, politics, and sometimes the very foundations of society. It also discusses the ways in which major earthquakes produced drama and goes on to highlight media sensationalism in the reporting of earthquakes. Finally, it explores how earthquakes created opportunities for economic profits, opportunities for governments to demonstrate their benevolence, and even significant new agricultural real estate. It shows that earthquakes provided opportunities to discuss and characterize Japan in a variety of ways, citing the rhetoric of reassurance as an example, and contributed to shaping the social, physical, and imaginative contours of Japan.

Keywords:   social effects, earthquakes, Japan, religion, morality, politics, drama, media sensationalism, reassurance

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