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City hit hard by quake had highest rate of old homes

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Well, they can build back better now.

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

Mother nature has its own way to recycle for example through strong earthquake.

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

No wonder those very old houses were collapsed easily. Tiles (kawara) on roof seem too heavy. Those houses might be built 50-100 years ago or something. Those have no quake resistance system. New houses were not collapsed at all because quake resistance devices installed, but not many.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@Burning Bush

This is not surprising one bit at all. It is common knowledge that such houses are prone to collapse due to seismic activity.

Even though it's not surprising, it is profound. These houses are charming and symbolic of tradition in Japan. If everyone built strong modern homes, Japan would not look so much like "Japan".

11 ( +15 / -4 )

These houses are charming and symbolic of tradition in Japan. If everyone built strong modern homes, Japan would not look so much like "Japan".

And if everyone built strong modern homes, very few Japanese would die in Earthquakes.  Which one do you think is more important?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

One important thing missing from the article is the average price range for the renovation. 2 million yen subsidy sounds generous though

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Costs more than ¥1 million to remove demolished houses. Many houses will need more than ¥2 million of reforming work.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Of course, it's an earthquake..

Earthquakes damage old houses..

Rebuild back and better..

GO JAPAN!!..

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

If everyone built strong modern homes, Japan would not look so much like "Japan".

What if you build a strong modern home but walk around dressed as a samurai or a geisha?

Just on the reinforcement issue, but in my experience, many inaka people have money but will never admit it. I think it is foolish to take all "we are too poor for building work" type comments at face value. Loads of inaka people have money stashed away.

I expect some "we are poor" people in Suzu and Wajima will now build a brand new house with a garage and tarmac drive. The money to do this will magically appear from somewhere. The government does offer rebuilding loans, but will knock you back if you have a low on-paper income, which will be the case for most old people in these towns. I know this from experience, because I applied and we have a low on-paper income as typical self-employed.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Local shortages of builders and building materials.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The circular design of the SkyTree, based on quake-resistant pagodas, might be a better model. Internal roll cage-style supports. Light roofing materials - prefab panels that look like tiles. Heavy stuff on the ground floor. Prefab insulated wall and floor panels that slot in like Lego. Distinctive cosmetic finishes in a traditional style. Such homes could be quickly re/built from a supply of panels built-up between quakes. They would minimise deaths, but still look Japanese. Japan has enough architects to work on them, with different designs used in different areas.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

A modern office building made from concrete and steel and constructed according to newer building codes collapsed on its side crushing a restaurant building and killing the owner's wife and children.

Very difficult and expensive to build properties to withstand the power of a 7.6 quake.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

What this article mentions is homes build before 1981. What it does fails to mention is that homes built between 1950 and 1981 were quickly and badly built. As a resident of Noto Cho seeing the damage first hand in Suzu, Wajima, Anamizu, Noto Cho, and Northern Nanao most homes that were built between 1950 and 1981 were seriously damaged or destroyed showing the bad craftsmanship and mentality of the Showa time period. This is one of the reasons why I chose to buy a home from the end of Meiji and Early Taisho era. You can see homes built on Noto Hanto in the Meiji, Taisho, and beginning of the Showa era up to 1950 most of these homes and there are many in Noto Cho and Suzu faired very well this Earthquake. My home built over 100 years ago sustained minimal damage especially to the foundation. Where I live many people own homes similar to mine and also faired very well too due to the well built architecture which were made for earthquakes. The thinking of this time period where homes were for generational living no only one generation were to live in the home but many generations to follow this is why homes build prior to 1950 were very well built here.

This opens up a very deep question about the future Naikai Earthquake. How will homes fair that were built between 1950 to 1980 will fair in Shizuoka, South Osaka, Nagoya, Wakayama, and other parts of southern Japan because there are far more in all of these prefectures and cities than on Noto Hanto.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

A modern office building made from concrete and steel and constructed according to newer building codes collapsed on its side crushing a restaurant building and killing the owner's wife and children.

Wasn’t that building built in 1971?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Bobbysix

A modern office building made from concrete and steel and constructed according to newer building codes collapsed on its side crushing a restaurant building and killing the owner's wife and children.

> Wasn’t that building built in 1971?

Yes, you are correct.

Despite being designed to have a high earthquake resistance, a seven-story reinforced concrete (RC) building in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, toppled over due to the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, which registered the maximum 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale. I recently joined Prof. Koichi Kusunoki, an expert in earthquake engineering at the Earthquake Research Institute of the University of Tokyo, at his on-site survey in the affected area.

https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/noto-peninsula-earthquake/20240113-161810/

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Liquefaction is also a cause of collapsed houses.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

My Kumamoto house was built by my uncle in the early '70s using traditional architecture (it has no foundation but a series of pillars, each on its own stone, and lattice-style walls, all wedded to a single, massive central crossbeam). This makes it very flexible, and it withstood the Kumamoto quakes with zero damage (though everything was thrown off the shelves and the kitchen was ankle-deep in broken crockery - what a mess!) The style is similar to most shrines, many of which are a hundred or more years old.

Some traditional architecture is designed to withstand quakes quite well.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Just on the subject of old houses but the 1923 Kanto earthquake destroyed tens of thousands of (obviously) Edo, Meiji and Taisho era houses. Some of them in Tokyo itself burnt down in huge fires, but many in surrounded areas did not and were destroyed by the tremor. Japanese people were super resourceful until modern times (effectively post WWII) so any house recorded as "destroyed" in 1923 must have been very heavily damaged. With our modern throwaway culture, a house simply has to lean over a bit in 2024 to be recorded as "destroyed". The reality is that modern labour costs make repairing things more expensive than replacing them.

The experience of 1923 says one should not assume 19th Century houses are fine in earthquakes and do not need bracing or reinforcement. What matters is what happens in a once-in-X-centuries Shindo 6+ or 7 earthquake. Much smaller earthquakes, even repeatedly happening over decades, tell us nothing about what will happen in a big and genuinely dangerous tremor.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Some traditional architecture is designed to withstand quakes quite well.

Indeed. Japan’s traditional architecture has been built to withstand disaster, particularly earthquakes, using primarily wood, which is a flexible and resilient material.

In Japanese Buddhist temple complexes, structures have survived countless earthquakes because of a 心柱, a central column around which different stories/levels can slide back and forth, absorbing stress in the event of an earthquake or typhoon.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Homes are far more dangerous vs. Mansion/Apts, even more so if they're old and on soft soil.

They need to rebuild MANY multi-family homes, that also provide better support for their large elderly population, things like elevators, staff at the front desk, security, etc.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Though massive mansion/apt. shortage across Japan, as people look to downsize and minimize exposure to land deflation, Ishikawa Must be the builder's priority!

It's tough because of worker shortages and Yen being so weak but still easy and cheaper compared to rebuilding homes, taking into consideration safety and cost per unit, Mansions/Apt. need to be built ASAP at scale.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

With all modern technology why is it necessary to build typical western homes that meets earthquake standards. What is wrong with people coming up with designs that reflect Japan and still meet earthquake measures?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Right, mansion/apt can be built to reflect Japanese design preferences and earthquake safety.

Rebuilding homes, besides expensive, time consuming and clearly less safe, are also MUCH Worse Investment!

My nice suburbs of Tokyo, +99% of new construction units Today = Mansions/Apt. The market has spoken!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I have a house that was built in '77. It has the traditional heavy kawara tiles (which I wish it hadn't) and looks like your traditional Japanese looking home. In fact, most of the houses in my area do, which gives it a nice charm.

I'm all for building modern earthquake resistant homes, but many of the new houses being built look like boxes. The last five houses built in my neighborhood look like they were built by the same third grade kid who designed them. A 15x15x15 blue box, A 15x15x15 gray box etc.

A bit more Japanese stylistic flair would be great. I used to love flying over Japan back in the 70s & 80s and seeing the very Japanese looking houses that were so different in looks of the rooftops in the US. These days, a lot of tourists remark how many of the news houses are simple but unattractive, which I tend to agree with.

One important thing missing from the article is the average price range for the renovation. 2 million yen subsidy sounds generous though

In my area, they only offered a 1 million yen subsidy, which we took them up on, and had them reinforce our house against earthquakes. It took about a year or two since there was a long waiting list. But if the Nankai Earthquake hits, I highly doubt it'll be strong enough to withstand it. Even small earthquakes shake my house like a Polaroid picture.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Really makes you rethink buying one of those cheap, abandoned homes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Cheap Housing's NOT Cheap when The Big One Hits!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

My house is 160 years old and I would much rather take my chance in an earthquake than live in a soulless modern building. It al depends on what you want from life.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The majority of people live and die in the places where they were born.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

 I would much rather take my chance in an earthquake than live in a soulless modern building

Modern buildings don't have to be soulless. My abode is modern and homely with an authentic rustic charm.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

90% of people die within 50 miles of where they were born.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

That is very sad.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's not sad for those people who want to live in their birthplace. I am sure you have a family like that. I have a large section of family in my home city that have lived in the same place for more than 100 years. They are very happy and would never think of moving.

The people of Ishikawa are the same. They lost their homes but they want to rebuild and stay.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Ishikawa moves quake evacuees into temporary units in Wajima

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/15146544

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The people of Ishikawa are the same. They lost their homes but they want to rebuild and stay.

I'm not sure about that. They did send their children away as evacuees

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2024/01/17/japan/society/quake-students-evacuation/

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The children were sent to places for schooling because their schools became temporary evacuation centers. Once people are moved from the schools the children will return to continue their education.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Ishikawa has a population of 1.2 million in 441,000 households. More than 30,000 houses were damaged by the quake. Probably 40% are damaged beyond repair.

"A month after the powerful Jan. 1 Noto Peninsula earthquake, some survivors reluctant to leave or go to evacuation centers continue to live in their damaged homes or their cars right outside, in full knowledge that the structures are considered dangerous."

"An Ishikawa Prefecture emergency structural assessment determined 12,615 quake-damaged buildings, or 40% of the total, were "at risk" of collapse -- a higher ratio than that of past major earthquakes. This is believed to be because many of the buildings were old wooden houses that had yet to be earthquake-proofed."

Mainichi

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

In disaster areas the majority of the people stayed and continued to live in those areas. It’s what people are comfortable with.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

One JT poster who lives in Noto posted he and his neighbors were staying even with damage to their homes.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This could be very traumatic for the elderly. My brother’s father in law died soon after his house was completely destroyed by the hurricane that hit near Tampa in Florida. It takes a lot of energy to rebuild and I am not sure if the insurance companies will pay enough or quickly enough. Also there will be a severe labor shortage with so much construction at one time. Moving out may be inevitable.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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