For in-depth coverage of the earthquake histories of Taiwan and Japan, visit the “In the Same Seismic Zone” exhibition running at Tainan’s National Museum of Taiwan History from June 27 through Dec. 3.
Accurate records first appeared at the turn of the 17th century, in which nearly ten large earthquakes – most of which struck areas south of Taichung – caused widespread death and destruction in Taiwan. Japan, with its denser population, also suffered more than 20 large earthquakes since recordkeeping began.
In early human civilization, earthquakes were often attributed to activity regarding large animals, gods, giants, or world pillars. Japanese mythology spoke of divine action, whereas Taiwan’s ethnic diversity gave rise to an eclectic mix of earthquake legends, all of which point to the frequency of such tremors since the dawn of Taiwan.
Today, both the public and private sector no longer focus only on material reconstruction. From the rescue and preservation of local cultural heritage to the inclusion of non-designated cultural assets, such as everyday objects and personal memorabilia, museums will continue to play a larger role in post-quake restoration and the preservation of national memories.