1. September 1, 1923. Magnitude 7.9 “Great Kanto earthquake”, 143,000 casualties. This major earthquake caused what the US Geological Survey termed “extreme destruction” in the Tokyo and Yokohama area. It is estimated that the shaking lasted for an extraordinarily long 4 to 10 minutes. Firestorms that erupted as a result of the quake were responsible for claiming the greatest number of lives.
2. December 31, 1703. Magnitude 8.0 “Genroku earthquake”, 108,800 casualties. This historic quake struck the area near where modern day Tokyo lies. As is often the case with earthquakes along coastal areas, far many more casualties were realized from the tsunami that followed than the earthquake itself. It is estimated that 2,300 died from the quake while more than 100,000 died from the tsunami.
3. June 15, 1896. Magnitude 8.5 “Meiji-Sanriku earthquake”, 27,000+ casualties. This quake’s epicenter was near the March 11, 2011 earthquake. Reports from the time indicate the tsunami that struck the Japanese coast reached a height of 80 feet and was responsible for 22,000 of the deaths. The waves swept across the Pacific sweeping away several homes in Hawaii and causing a 9.5 foot wave in San Francisco.
4. May 27, 1293. Magnitude 7.1 “Kamakura earthquake”, 23,000 casualties. Striking off the southeastern coast of Japan, it is believed this quake generated a tsunami.
5. December 24, 1854. Magnitude 8.4 “Ansei-Nankai earthquake”, 10,000+ casualties. This powerful quake struck off southeast Japan between the islands of Shikoku and Honshu. The massive casualty count was the result of a triple threat of the earthquake, a tsunami and fires that swept populated areas.
6. October 28, 1891. Magnitude 8.0 “Mino-Owari earthquake”, 7,273 casualties. Also known as the Great N?bi Earthquake, this is the largest inland quake to have ever struck Japan. Over 140,000 homes were destroyed and more than 17,000 casualties were recorded, primarily in the Aichi and Gifu prefectures.
7. November 11, 1855. Magnitude 6.9 “Ansei Edo earthquake”, 6,641 casualties. The epicenter of this quake was near Edo (now Tokyo). Casualties were realized from the quake itself and subsequent fires. This was one of three major earthquakes to strike the area between 1854 and 1855. In addition to the destruction from the quakes and tsunamis, it is estimated that over 100,000 people were killed due to cholera outbreaks.
8. January 17, 1995. Magnitude 6.8 “Great Hanshin Earthquake”, 6,434 casualties. This modern day quake was centered on the northern end of the island of Awaji and only 12 miles from the major city of Kobe. More than 200,000 buildings collapsed in the temblor with the majority of the casualties (4,000) occurring in the cities and suburbs of the Hy?go Prefecture. $102.5 billion in damage, 2.5% of the nation’s GDP, was realized. The Guinness Book of World Records calls the quake the “costliest natural disaster to befall any one country.”
9. October 28, 1707. Magnitude 8.6 “H?ei earthquake”, 5,000+ casualties. This quake was the most powerful recorded in Japan until the March 11, 2011 earthquake near Sendai. The earthquake and tsunami destroyed 29,000 homes and is believed to have triggered the last eruption of Mount Fuji.
10. June 28, 1948. Magnitude 7.1 “Fukui earthquake”, 3,769 casualties. More than 22,000 were injuried in this quake that struck during World War II. Little is known about the quake that struck near the town of Maruoka in the Fukui Prefecture.
Note – Since 1900, there have been a total of 17 deadly earthquakes in Japan.
Chart of Japanese Tsunamis
|Mar-07-1927||Japan (South-West Honshu)||325|
|Mar-04-1952||Japan (Southeast Hokkaido)||33|
|May 16-1968||Japan Trench||52|