BOOKS / 出版物

The Era of Great Disasters

The Era of Great Disasters

Japan and Its Three Major Earthquakes

Iokibe Makoto
Translated by Tony Gonzalez, Foreword by Yamazaki Masakazu

Published Titles / History

Published by University of Michigan Press | 978-0-472-07467-9 (Hardcover) | 978-0-472-05467-1 (Paperback) | 388 pages | 228mm (h) x 152mm (w) | March 2020

About the Book

The Era of Great Disasters examines modern disaster response in Japan, from the changing earthquake preparations and regulations, to immediate emergency procedures from the national, prefectural, and city levels, and finally the evolving efforts of rebuilding and preparing for the next great disaster in the hopes of minimizing their tragic effects. This book focuses on three major earthquakes from Japan’s modern history. The first is the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, which struck the capital region. The second is the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake, striking the area between Kobe and Osaka. The third is the 2011 East Japan earthquake, the magnitude 9.0 quake which struck off the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region, causing a devastating tsunami. While the events of (and around) each of these earthquakes are unique, Professor Iokibe brings his deep expertise and personal experience to each disaster, unveiling not only the disasters themselves but the humanity underneath. In each case, he gives attention and gratitude to those who labored to protect and restore the lives affected, from the individuals on the scene to the government and emergency staff, in hope that we might learn from the past and move forward with greater wisdom, knowledge, and community.

About the Author


Iokibe Makoto is chancellor, Prefectural University of Kumamoto and president of the Hyogo Earthquake Memorial 21st Century Research Institute. He is also professor emeritus of Japanese political and diplomatic history, Kobe University and former president, National Defense Academy of Japan.


"Included in the University of Michigan Press ‘Michigan Monograph Series in Japanese Studies,' The Era of Great Disasters is a scholarly but highly readable text that investigates Japan’s three major quakes: The Great Kantō Earthquake (Yokohama, 1923), The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (Kobe, 1995) and the Great East Japan Earthquake (Tohoku, 2011). The play-by-play telling of each event, from the first rumbles and unfolding of the disasters to first responders sometimes reads like a thriller complete with insurmountable dilemmas among impeccable timing. The author, himself a victim of the 1995 disaster takes the reader behind the scenes into the Prime Minister’s office and board rooms of government agencies to parse the catastrophes from beginning to end, including recovery efforts and reconstruction of beleaguered cities."

Amy Chavez, May 2020

Books on Asia




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Original Japanese Edition / 原書情報

大災害の時代 未来の国難に備えて

大災害の時代 未来の国難に備えて

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