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Shibusawa Eiichi and the Great Kanto Earthquake
Shibusawa Eiichi and the Great Kanto Earthquake
Shibusawa Eiichi in 1924,a year after the Great Kanto Earthquake
Shibusawa Eiichi in 1924,
a year after the Great Kanto Earthquake

We would like to offer our prayers for those who lost their lives in the recent disaster and extend our heartfelt sympathy to all those who lost loved ones, homes, and livelihoods.

Reconstruction from such an unprecedented disaster will be a challenge but looking to the past to learn about experiences in rebuilding from previous earthquakes may provide some suggestions for the future. Shibusawa Eiichi, himself a victim of the Great Kanto Earthquake, became involved in a range of relief and reconstruction projects. We hope that his story may prove useful to today’s world.

It is with this hope that this section of the website has been designed. The site is an ongoing project that aims to include materials such as articles, lectures, original historical documents, and some English translations related to Eiichi’s efforts for reconstruction and recovery following the Great Kanto Earthquake. Some of these materials were part of the special exhibition “Shibusawa Eiichi and the Great Kanto Earthquake: Looking to Reconstruction,” held by the Shibusawa Memorial Museum in 2010 as part of the thematic exhibition series “Thinking of Peace.”

Updated on September 15, 2011

Atsushi MORIYA – Shibusawa Eiichi’s Wide-ranging Involvement in Relief Efforts Following the Great Kanto Earthquake: The Need for Speed and the Power of the Private Sector

Instead of focusing on his own needs or relying on the government to act, the multi-talented Shibusawa Eiichi became involved in a wide range of relief and reconstruction projects. From handing out emergency rations and constructing orphanages to canvassing his international network of friends and acquaintances for donations, Eiichi worked individually and as part of associations such as the Daishinsai Zengokai and the Kyochokai. His appeal to friends and fellow businessmen in the United States had a surprising outcome – both because and in spite of the state of Japanese-US relations at the time. (English translation of article originally published by Nikkei Business Online.)

PDF version for download [129KB] pdf

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Masato KIMURA - Looking to Restruction: Lessons from Shibusawa Eiichi

As a leader in Japanese financial circles, Shibusawa Eiichi focused on the power of the private sector with a long term and international outlook while cooperating with the government in reconstruction efforts after the earthquake. (Originally published in Japanese by the Japan Association of Charitable Organizations, and in English by The Japan Journal.)

PDF version for download [166KB] pdf

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Shibusawa Memorial Museum Special Exhibition “Shibusawa Eiichi and the Great Kanto Earthquake: Looking to Reconstruction”

In 2010 the Shibusawa Memorial Museum held a special exhibition entitled “Shibusawa Eiichi and the Great Kanto Earthquake” to mark 80 years since the completion of reconstruction work following the disaster. As the exhibition was part of the thematic series “Thinking of Peace” it aimed to look not only at the recovery of the city, but also the recovery of people’s hearts, the goal of Shibusawa Eiichi’s actions.

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