Fascinating True Stories From the Flip Side of History

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Podcasting Since January 2008

1896 Japanese Tsunami

A tsunami hit the island of Yezo in Japan at 8 PM on Monday, June 15th of 1896.  News traveled so slowly in those days that it wasn’t until July 28th that it was finally reported in the United States newspapers.  

The death toll was immense – an estimated 30,000 people were killed and an equal number left homeless and starving.  With warming weather, decomposition and disease were turning this into a dreadful situation.  

The article reported another tsunami had hit Japan in 1854, well within the memory of many people alive at the time, but the toll on life was not nearly as great.  

Japan’s Emperor and Empress donated 14,000 yen and relief was being offered by both Japanese and foreign aid. 

Print depicting a 19th-century tsunami hitting Miyagi Prefecture
Print depicting a 19th-century tsunami hitting Miyagi Prefecture. University of British Columbia image.
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