Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lecture "'Catfish' Catastrophe in Japan", February 26 at IUP.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Department of Asian Studies will host "'Catfish' Catastrophe in Japan" by Dr. Gregory Smits of Penn State.
Gregory Smits will present an illustrated lecture discussing representations of the Ansei Edo earthquake in popular prints. The talk will be in the Susquehanna Room of the HUB on February 26 at 7:00 p.m. All are welcome.

At about 10:00 p.m. on November 11, [1855], a strong earthquake shook Edo (modern Tokyo), Japan’s de facto capital. The earthquake killed roughly 8,000 and did extensive damage to certain areas of the city. Along with death and destruction, the earthquake created opportunities for windfall profits for many of the city’s ordinary residents. One product of this earthquake was hundreds of varieties of broadside prints. These prints came to be called “catfish prints” (namazue) because many of them featured catfish, which symbolized the power of earthquakes.
An article by Dr. Smits on the topic published in the Journal of Social History , "Shaking up Japan: Edo Society and the 1855 Catfish Prints," is available online.