Fires, floods, and famine have all been a part of Japan’s historical past.

Japan is no stranger to natural disasters, and with the fifth anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake coming up, the dangers of its reality is still all too clear. While search engine giant Google has been digitally recording the damage immediately following the earthquake, as well as the lingering aftermath, one has to wonder what sort of disasters people who lived hundreds of years ago went through and what it was like to live through them at that time.


The National Archives of Japan recently released a number of written records and woodblock prints detailing various earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, fires, floods, and contagious diseases that plagued Japan during the Edo Period, which lasted from 1603 to 1868.



The documents are written in a dated, cursive-like script that is difficult for the average person today to decipher, but the drawings within the documents give an interesting perspective of the events from the point of view of those who witnessed them firsthand.2



Many more records are available to view on the National Archives’ website Tenka Taihen. You can search by disastrous category, from earthquakes to famine to disease. 


Both history buffs and lovers of art can appreciate these old records, and through looking at them perhaps we can all better grasp the magnitude of destruction that mother nature can release on us at any moment.

Source: Tenka Taihen via Japaaan
Images: Tenka Taihen