According to Japanese legend, earthquakes were caused by the movements of a monster catfish that lived under the island of Japan. Immediately following the great Ansei earthquake of October 2, 1855, woodblock prints called Namazu-e ("catfish pictures") appeared in Edo (now Tokyo), the most affected area. These imaginative and sometimes brutal depictions served as a unique source of information and reassurance to the local population. Here the monster Namazu (is lifting up the great stone of the Kashima Shrine by which it has been fixed under the ground for a long time. Carpenters and plasterers are encouraging the monster Namazu so they can make money repairing earthquake damage.
Original number FA-0003.
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