Katayama Shunpan, Pictures of the Taisho Earthquake: No Escape Route at Hanazono Pond (Taisho Shinsai Gashu: Nigeba wo Ushinatta Hanazone-Ike), 1880-?
In Memoriam – 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake
Scholten Japanese Art
This year the month of September marks the 100th anniversary of the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, and Scholten Japanese Art recognizes the tragedy in solemn commemoration. While this event is frequently refer to as a means to date and categorize modern Japanese prints (as in ‘pre-earthquake’ or ‘post-earthquake) it is imperative to remember the humanity, resilience, and profound spirit of those who endured its devastating impact.
At two minutes before noon on September 1, 1923, a powerful earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale emanated from Sagami Bay south of Tokyo, the jolts roiling across the Kanto plain and striking Tokyo and Yokohama with tremendous force. The quake was followed by a massive tsunami and hundreds of fires were sparked by overturned stoves and broken gas lines. Over the course of three days, the fires spread across Tokyo, leaving behind a landscape of destruction and chaos.
In the aftermath, there were several artistic projects and publications which sought to record the seminal catastrophe and efforts at a rapid restoration of the capital. Their work serves as a somber memorial to the tragedy, offering a reflection on the horrors of the Great Kanto Earthquake and its lasting impact on Japan's history.
To view the exhibition, click here.