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The Catfish That Triggered the Tokyo Earthquake – Pictures

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What causes earthquakes? The Japanese thought it was a giant catfish. One thrashed about and triggered the Great Ansei Earthquake that struck the city of Edo (Tokyo) in November 1855. The event was marked in namazu-e (“catfish pictures”). These portraits of the giant catfish (namazu) show it as the hero of the building trade – you can see the workers celebrating and partying with the giant fish – and enemy of fishermen and farmers, who rely on the god Kashima to keep namazu restrained:

Spotters: Disaster Prevention MuseumNational Diet Library