Overview of Historical Earthquake Document Database in Japan and Future Development

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Akihito Nishiyama, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan and Kenji Satake, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Japan
In Japan, damage and disasters from historical large earthquakes have been documented and preserved. Compilation of historical earthquake documents started in the early 20th century and 33 volumes of historical document source books (about 27,000 pages) have been published. However, these source books are not effectively utilized for researchers due to a contamination of low-reliability historical records and a difficulty for keyword searching by characters and dates. To overcome these problems and to promote historical earthquake studies in Japan, construction of text database started in the 21 century.
As for historical earthquakes from the beginning of the 7th century to the early 17th century, “Online Database of Historical Documents in Japanese Earthquakes and Eruptions in the Ancient and Medieval Ages” (Ishibashi, 2009) has been already constructed. They investigated the source books or original texts of historical literature, emended the descriptions, and assigned the reliability of each historical document on the basis of written age. Another database compiled the historical documents for seven damaging earthquakes occurred along the Sea of Japan coast in Honshu, central Japan in the Edo period (from the beginning of the 17th century to the middle of the 19th century) and constructed text database and seismic intensity data base. These are now publicized on the web (written only in Japanese).
However, only about 9 % of the earthquake source books have been digitized so far. Therefore, we plan to digitize all of the remaining historical documents by the research-program which started in 2014. The specification of the data base will be similar for previous ones. We also plan to combine this database with liquefaction traces database, which will be constructed by other research program, by adding the location information described in historical documents. Constructed database would be utilized to estimate the distributions of seismic intensities and tsunami heights.