1923 japan earthquake fire tornado

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1923 japan earthquake fire tornado

Yokohama Burning: The Deadly 1923 Earthquake and Fire That Helped Forge the Path to World War II by Joshua Hammer

Yokohama Burning is the story of the worst natural disaster of the twentieth century: the earthquakes, fires, and tsunamis of September 1923 that destroyed Yokohama and most of Tokyo and killed 140,000 people during two days of horror. With cinematic vividness and from multiple perspectives, acclaimed Newsweek correspondent Joshua Hammer re-creates harrowing scenes of death, escape, and rescue. He also places the tumultuous events in the context of history and demonstrates how they set Japan on a path to even greater tragedy.

At two minutes to noon on Saturday, September 1, 1923, life in the two cities was humming along at its usual pace. An international merchant fleet, an early harbinger of globalization, floated in Yokohama harbor and loaded tea and silk on the docks. More than three thousand rickshaws worked the streets of the port. Diplomats, sailors, spies, traders, and other expatriates lunched at the Grand Hotel on Yokohamas Bund and prowled the dockside quarter known as Bloodtown. Eighteen miles north, in Tokyo, the young Prince Regent, Hirohito, was meeting in his palace with his advisers, and the noted American anthropologist Frederick Starr was hard at work in his hotel room on a book about Mount Fuji. Then, in a mighty shake of the earth, the world as they knew it ended.

When the temblor struck, poorly constructed buildings fell instantly, crushing to death thousands of people or pinning them in the wreckage. Minutes later, a great wall of water washed over coastal resort towns, inundating people without warning. Chemicals exploded, charcoal braziers overturned, neighborhoods of flimsy wooden houses went up in flames. With water mains broken, fire brigades couldonly look on helplessly as the inferno spread.

Joshua Hammer searched diaries, letters, and newspaper accounts and conducted interviews with nonagenarian survivors to piece together a minute-by-minute account of the catastrophe. But the author offers more than a disaster narrative. He details the emerging study of seismology, the nascent wireless communications network that alerted the world, and the massive, American-led relief effort that seemed to promise a bright new era in U.S.-Japanese relations.

Hammer shows that the calamity led in fact to a hardening of racist attitudes in both Japan and the United States, and drove Japan, then a fledgling democracy, into the hands of radical militarists with imperial ambitions. He argues persuasively that the forces that ripped through the archipelago on September 1, 1923, would reverberate, traumatically, for decades to come.

Yokohama Burning, a story of national tragedy and individual heroism, combines a dramatic narrative and historical perspective that will linger with the reader for a long time.
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Earthquake, Fire And Tidal Wave (1923)

The powerful quake and ensuing tsunami that struck Yokohama and Tokyo directions, and then, at 4 p.m., a foot-tall “fire tornado” blazed across the area .
Joshua Hammer

Perfect Storms

On September 1, , Japan was hit by its worst earthquake ever, measuring 7. Instantly, the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama are leveled, but their troubles are only beginning. Relive the Great Kanto Earthquake, a perfect storm of catastrophic events, including a landslide, a firestorm and a monstrous force of nature called a "dragon twist," a tornado of fire that would bring the death toll to , lives in just minutes. Then see how this disaster shaped the destiny of a nation and changed the course of the 20th century. Stream hundreds of shows by starting your free trial to Smithsonian Channel Plus. Check the availability of this title and explore our vast library of original documentaries and series. Don't panic!

Actually, the city of Yokohama was hit even worse than Tokyo was, although both were devastated. It was the deadliest earthquake in Japanese history. The quake's magnitude is estimated at 7. The offshore earthquake triggered a tsunami in the bay, which struck the island of O-shima at a height of 12 meters 39 feet , and hit the Izu and Boso Peninsulas with 6 meter 20 foot waves. Japan's ancient capital at Kamakura , almost 40 miles from the epicenter, was inundated by a 6-meter wave that killed people, and its ton Great Buddha was shifted nearly a meter. The total death toll from the disaster is estimated at about , The quake struck at am, so many people were cooking lunch.

It was caused by a rupture of part of the convergent boundary of an actively deforming region, where two or more tectonic plates collided: the Philippine Sea Plate moved under the Okhotsk Plate along the Sagami Trough. Based on accounts, the earthquake was said to have lasted anywhere between four and ten minutes and within minutes of the initial shock caused a tsunami with waves that were as high as 40 feet. The series of towering waves swept away thousands of people into the ocean. As a result, fires broke out and developed into firestorms that swept across the cities. It took nearly two whole days for the fires to be put out. To make things worse, a typhoon struck Tokyo Bay at the same time.

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Tokyo According to the Guinness Book of Records, the most destructive earthquake ever was the Kanto earthquake that struck the Tokyo and Yokohama areas at am on September 1, , Varied accounts indicate the duration of the earthquake was between four and ten minutes.

The first shock hit at a. A by mile segment of the Philippine oceanic plate ruptured and thrust itself against the Eurasian continental plate, releasing a massive burst of tectonic energy. Zacharias, then a young U. The date was September 1, , and the event was the Great Kanto Earthquake, at the time considered the worst natural disaster ever to strike quake-prone Japan. The initial jolt was followed a few minutes later by a foot-high tsunami. A series of towering waves swept away thousands of people.

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