Earthquakes in Japanese History
With a Focus on the 1855 Ansei Edo Earthquake
This page provides links to some of the items I have written, co-authored or translated pertaining to the interaction of earthquakes and human history in Japan. Most of the items have been published, but a few are only available on this site. Click on the links to access each item.
Academic Articles and Book Chapters:
Ruth Ludwin, co-author, "Folklore and Earthquakes: Native American Oral Traditions from Cascadia Compared with Written Traditions from Japan," in L. Piccardi and W. B. Masse, eds., Myth and Geology (London: Geological Society of London, 2007): 67-94. (Contact)
"Shaking Up Japan: Edo Society and the 1855 Catfish Picture Prints," <1.3MB> Journal of Social History, 39.4 (Summer, 2006): 1045-1077.
Sections on the namazu as a special case of yōkai (uncanny beings)
"Japanís Ansei Edo Earthquake"
Select Lectures and Presentations:
Ruth Ludwin, co-author. Poster presentation: "Evolution of the catfish (namazu) as an earthquake symbol in Japan" <10MB PDF> (Seismological Society of America Conference, April 2006, San Francisco). (Printable handout <4MB PDF>)
Catfish as Cultural Symbol in Japan (low res) (medium resolution) (PDF)
Conduits of Power, Sacred Geography, and the Origins of Japan's Earthquake Catfish (Southern Japan Seminar, March, 2010)
"Was Emperor Shōmuís Devotion to Buddhism Prompted by an Earthquake?" (Short newspaper article from Japan to which I added a quick English translation. It is a good example of the kind of cross-disciplinary research involving earthquakes that is rather common in Japan.)