Events were held on Monday morning to mark the 27th anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in Hyogo Prefecture.
The magnitude 7.3 earthquake, which struck at 5:46 a.m. on Jan 17, 1995, killed 6,434 people in Hyogo Prefecture and neighboring areas.
Before dawn Monday, 3,000 bamboo lanterns were lit and arranged in the figures 1.17 and the kanji characters “忘れない” (We will never forget), at Higashi Yuenchi Park in Chuo Ward, Kobe, to pay tribute to the victims. Several hundred people gathered at the park at 5:46 a.m. to offer prayers for the victims.
The number of people at events was limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, while other events were canceled.
The quake buried residents in flattened buildings and uprooted highway overpasses and train tracks, while fires raged through collapsed timber houses and acrid smoke darkened the sky.
Heavy damage to the harbor area, where nearly all of the 300 shipping berths were destroyed, dealt a severe blow to the city's economy, sparking a population exodus over the following months and years.
About 40% of Kobe's current residents were either born after the quake or moved to the city in the years following the disaster, according to city officials.
"We will continue to deal with the issue of how to pass on experiences and lessons from the earthquake to the next generation without losing them to time as the number of citizens who did not experience the disaster is increasing," Kobe Mayor Kizo Hisamoto said, according to Kyodo News.© Japan Today