Memorial Services Held on 24th Anniversary of Great Hanshin Quake

Society Lifestyle

Kobe, Jan. 17 (Jiji Press)--Bereaved family members and others attended memorial services in Hyogo Prefecture on Thursday to mourn 6,434 people killed in the Great Hanshin Earthquake that devastated Kobe in the western Japan prefecture and nearby areas 24 years ago.

Some 5,500 people gathered at a park in Kobe's Chuo Ward for a memorial ceremony sponsored by a nonprofit organization.

To console the souls of the victims, the participants offered silent prayers at 5:46 a.m. (8:46 p.m. Wednesday GMT), the time when the 7.3-magnitude quake struck the region on Jan. 17, 1995.

Bamboo lanterns were lit at the park to form lines reading "1995" and "1.17," as well as Japanese hiragana letters that have the meaning of "passing down."

At the ceremony, Daisuke Shibata, a 31-year-old representative of the bereaved families, spoke of his experience of losing two younger brothers in the earthquake.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press