Japan Marks 26th Anniversary of Great Hanshin Quake


Kobe, Jan. 17 (Jiji Press)--With prayers for victims and a renewed determination to pass down memories and lessons, Kobe, capital of Hyogo Prefecture, and its vicinity marked the 26th anniversary on Sunday of the devastating earthquake that killed more than 6,400 people.

With Hyogo under the central government’s state of emergency over the novel coronavirus epidemic, memorial ceremonies were held on a reduced scale.

Before dawn, families of those killed in the Great Hanshin Earthquake and other people gathered in a park in central Kobe. With bamboo and paper lanterns, arranged to form the characters for “Ganbaro 1.17” (Let’s hang in there together, 1.17), lit up, they offered silent prayers at 5:46 a.m. (8:46 p.m. Saturday GMT), the time the temblor with a magnitude of 7.3 jolted the western Japan port city on Jan. 17, 1995. The event brought together about 2,500 people by 7 a.m.

In a ceremony organized by the Kobe city government, Midori Kaga, a 65-year-old classical Japanese dance master, attended as a representative of victims’ families.

She stopped short of reading out a memorial message for her daughter who died at age 6, in order to curb the number of ceremony participants to reduce infection risks. Her message was posted on the website of the city government.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press