Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

Catfish, Super Frog, and the End of the World: Earthquakes (and Natural Disasters) in the Japanese Cultural Imagination

One of the earliest written records of Japan, the Nihon shoki or Chronicles of Japan, includes a poem about an earthquake written during the reign of Emperor Buretsu (about 500 CE).1 The poem is not particularly memorable, but this early reference to earthquakes through a creative medium is the beginning of a long history of disasters represented within the cultural imagination. To take a more recent example, the eighties era sci-fi anime series Bubblegum Crisis is set in a post-apocalyptic land...