Kyoto no Saigai wo Meguru (Guided tour for historical disasters in Kyoto)
128 pages, A5 format, softcover
September 30, 2019
Explore the sites of past disasters in Kyoto
Wake-up call for disaster preparedness
There has never been a Kyoto guide like this one, it uncovers historical disasters with maps and photos
These catchphrases appear on the dust jacket of the book. Each one encapsulates what the book is all about. Still, it is worth adding a little comment.
There are countless guidebooks on Kyoto, which has featured as a theme in many novels, essays, and academic texts, and such publications feature prominently in the Kyoto-hon (“Kyoto-books”) section of bookstores. One day, as I picked up a book from the Kyoto-hon section, I wondered whether a publication from my field of interest could sit on one of these shelves. Though it is not something people keep in mind on most of the time, Kyoto has repeatedly seen natural disasters. We hoped to introduce these disasters through the medium of a tourist guidebook. We also hoped to prepare a book that can be used as a basis for organizing tours and as an educational resource for schools. A fortuitous encounter with the publisher helped bring about this vision.
Tourist guidebooks typically contain maps with color coding to indicate sightseeing spots, eateries, accommodation, and so on, and descriptions of each place are provided. Similarly, the maps in this book use color coding to indicate sites that suffered earthquakes, storm damage, fire, and other kinds of calamities, as well as sites related to disaster preparedness or disaster education. As you would expect, there are descriptions of the various sites, along with photos and relevant sources. Take a copy and see for yourself just how well this book matches the style of a tourist guidebook.
To cover a lot of disaster-related sites in a single volume, each description is kept brief. For readers interested in knowing more, the book provides a further reading section listing relevant research reports, historical sources, and other data. These sources are also linked on the publisher’s website. The information in the book, including the names of sites, the latitude and longitude coordinates, and the photos, is available as open access data, so readers are welcome to use this data as they wish, provided they properly attribute me as the original author. Videos of the sites are also available. Those interested can find them on the publisher’s website or on Github and YouTube.
The maps in this book are intended to show where past disasters occurred. It would be a mistake to think that an area without description is perfectly disaster-free. Many sites and events have gone unrecorded. Due to space constraints, we included only those cases that are well known or those we judged to be significant. Future research may yield new discoveries. As an idea for a future project, which could possibly form the continuation to this book, it would be interesting to gather together local knowledge and history about disasters with the participation of citizens. Such project could also be undertaken in places other than Kyoto. If the general public, not just academics, take an interest in the history of disasters, our country will be better prepared for future disasters.
(Written by KANO Yasuyuki, Associate Professor, Earthquake Research Institute / 2021)
github: “Kyoto no Saigai wo Meguru” open data:
YouTube: “Kyoto no Saigai wo Meguru”