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Effects Of The Great Kanto Earthquake In Japanese History

2038 words - 8 pages

The Great Kanto Earthquake also known as the Tokyo-Yokohama Earthquake of 1923 hit the metropolitan area of Kanto on September 1st, 1923 around 11:58 pm. It was a 7.9 on the Richter magnitude scale, killing over one-hundred and forty thousand people due to its high magnitude and the time it happened. The earthquake struck around lunch time, when many Japanese people were at home cooking at their charcoal or gas fueled stoves. At the moment the earthquake hit, it knocked down buildings that caught flames from the stoves that fell over, enflaming the city. The fire was swept up and able to spread due to the gusts of wind that occurred for two days afterwards, resulting in firestorms. Charles Blauvelt experienced the ordeal of the fire describing the flames as “[covering] the whole city [as they] burned all day and night.” In addition to the firestorms and the earthquake itself, there was a shock because of all the fallen debris which triggered tsunamis to fill and flood Japanese cities. These tsunamis, that were about thirty feet tall, destroyed central Tokyo and immensely added to the death toll.
Because of the damage to the city, the people around the affected area had to move elsewhere, but they were killed off due to the firestorms; the remaining survivors attempted to rebuild the city. They got help from foreign lands, which were willing to help by loaning and donating money. With donated money, they were able to rebuild homes and to restore the land. In addition to getting help from foreign lands, they worked internally to help their own nation. The survivors of the caustic disaster took loans from the national bank, which made the economy flourish. Even though the people worked amongst themselves and helped each other, the government was unwilling to protect the depositors and loaners, despite the economy’s increase and growth. As the nation worked to rebuild, restore, and revive the nation after the crisis, more problems rose. The earthquake induced apprehension among the nation, which lead to many dilemmas and impediments.
The importance and significance of the Tokyo-Yokohama Earthquake is seen through all of the changes it has brought the Japanese people in history. Although it might not have affected residents of lands outside of Japan, it did affect the lives of those who endured the earthquake and the disasters that soon followed it. The debacles that occurred in the earthquake and its aftershock, including the firestorms it caused, inspired the creation of new methods and changes within the vicinity of Kanto. The Tokyo and Yokohama area within Kanto of Honshu Island underwent many changes mostly in the economic system. There were impacts directed towards the society, like the change in ways of communication. Ties were strengthened between the United States and Japan as the United States president at the time, Calvin Coolidge, raised money to support and help Japan recover from the earthquake’s terrible effects. This earthquake...

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