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The reluctance to represent natural disasters extended to volcanic eruptions as well as earthquakes.
The Holy Resurrection Cathedral, completed in 1891, was Tokyo’s tallest building for many years.
The Japanese archipelago is located in a zone of high seismic activity, and there are numerous records of earthquakes over the country’s history. But large cities with tall buildings are a relatively recent phenomenon.
In classical Japanese literature, however, earthquakes are almost entirely absent. In ancient and medieval Japan, even towns were relatively rare, and these were really little more than overgrown villages. In addition, the traditional Japanese house took into account the threat of earthquakes.
In the political philosophy of Japan (and other parts of East Asia), an earthquake was seen as punishment from heaven for poor or unjust government.
For this reason, anyone who dared to write about or depict an image of an earthquake would be regarded as a critic of the powers that be.
While the people of the Edo period (1603–1868) regarded it with awe as a sacred place, they feared its volcanic temperament.