Earthquake in Kumamoto

Kumamoto earthquake and aftershocks. Photo: Unites States Geological Survey 2016

The recent 7.3 Kumamoto earthquake and many associated aftershocks have been continuing even after more than two weeks. Our colleagues from ICOM Japan report that at the moment, many nationally designated cultural properties have been effected, including

  • 42 Important Cultural Properties(38 buildings, 4 arts and crafts),
  • 1 Special Historic Sites (Kumamoto Castle),
  • 29 Historic Sites, 10 Scenic Beauties,
  • 2 Natural Monuments,
  • 3 Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings are suffered in 6 prefectures of Kyusyu area.

Fortunately, Most are the damage has to buildings and and there has fortunately little damage of the arts and crafts or museum collections.

Damage to Kumamoto Castle caused by an earthquake is seen in Kumamoto, southern Japan
Damage to Kumamoto Castle caused by an earthquake is seen in Kumamoto. REUTERS/Kyodo

Local museums have sustained a small amount of damage display cases damaged or outer wall collapses, but the biggest difficulty for staff is the difficulty working amid continuing aftershocks.

More serious issues may be faced by the area’s many non-designated cultural properties, which are buried in the buildings. A stock-take is going on now.

Kumamoto prefecture government office plays a key role and gave relief request for each prefectures in Kyushu. It will be start the rescue operation of cultural properties soon. The government, national museums and museum associations will support it in future.

Our sincerest best wishes go to our colleagues during this extremely difficult time.


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