Print: Anonymous, 2 panel illustration of the earthquake
and tsunami hitting Osaka on December 24, 1854

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Dates: circa 1855,created
Dimensions: 25.5 in,9.75 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

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Physical description:

There is no artist's signature, no censor's seal and no publisher's seal on either of these prints.


At 8 or 9 AM on the morning of December 23, 1854 an earthquake rocked Japan. It was recorded in a wave measurements from Oregon down to San Diego. However, it wasn't that quake which brought the word 'tsunami' into the English language. That happened in 1896.

Actually there were two quakes. The first one which struck Osaka produced a small, negligible tsunami. The second quake struck at 5 PM the next day and it was two hours before the tsunami appeared. "It arrived in the outer harbor at a height of 10 feet (3 m) but was 20 feet (6 m) high by the time it reached the port. It damaged or completely wrecked upward of 1,500 boats, some of which were swept along by the wave for a great distance, damaging at least 25 bridges. Between the surface wave damage and the tsunamis, 60,000 houses were destroyed as well. It was fortunate that only about 3,000 people lost their lives because it could have been far worse."

Quoted from: Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes by Alexander E. Gates and ‎David Ritchie, pp. 189-190.