“Zenchō Everywhere: A Brief History of Earthquake Prediction in Japan, 1855-2012,” by Gregory Smits

On Tuesday, February 12th, Dr. Gregory Smits, Associate Professor of History and East Asian Studies at Pennsylvania State University, kicked off the 2013 CJS Seminar Series with his findings on the failed history of earthquake prediction in Japan.  Audience members learned that since the 1854 Ansei-Tōkai earthquake, despite vast intellectual and material resources poured into earthquake prediction in Japan, scholars have yet to identify a single unique event that can accurately predict an upcoming earthquake.  While thousands of alleged earthquake “precursors” have been identified, all were realized after-the-fact.  Dr. Smits maintained resources could be much better spent on earthquake preparedness than prediction.  More information can be found in his books, Seismic Japan: The Long History and Continuing Legacy of the Ansei Edo Earthquake forthcoming from University of Hawai’i Press, and Before 3-11: A History of Earthquakes in Japan to be published by Rowman & Littlefield.

Prof. Chris Yano, Visiting Scholar Tezuka Yoshiharu, Greg Smits, Joyce Chinen, Gay Satsuma.

Prof. Chris Yano, Visiting Scholar Tezuka Yoshiharu, Greg Smits, Joyce Chinen, Gay Satsuma.

 

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