Research Support

Natural disaster and astronomical events described from historical documents of shrines and temples in Kyoto

Project Gist

How people in the past watched natural disaster and astronomical events?


Earthquake, Aurora, Solar Physics, History, Historical material

Background and Purpose

Our project aims to reveal (1) natural disaster such as earthquakes, storm, and flood, (2) daily weather, and (3) astronomical and celestial event such as aurora and halo occurred in the past. For this purpose, we planned to search historical documents, especially diaries owned by temples and shrines in Kyoto. An interdisciplinary team consists of researchers from variety of research field i.e. seismology, history, solar physics, digital humanities, geography, was organized to make appropriate interpretation and analysis of the descriptions extracted from the historical materials. Knowledge exchange or conversation in the team over the historical documents is important part of our project.

Project Achievements

We have photographed, transcribed and analyzed historical documents owned by temples and shrines in Kyoto to reveal earthquakes and auroras occurred in the past. We held project meetings three times a year to report the progress and exchange the knowledge and results. We also invited guest speakers to a workshop to make a opportunity of collaborative research. We also cosponsored a workshop “aurora hunt in literature Kyoto” which is open to the public. The project leads to a session “History X Earth and Planetary Science” proposed for Japan Geoscience Union (JpGU) Meeting 2019.

Future Prospects

We will continue the cooperative effort to photograph, transcribe and analyze the historical material owned by temples and shrines in Kyoto. The work will include researchers from variety of research field. We will construct a framework to promote this interdisciplinary research project.


Top page of online transcription project “Minna de Honkoku.”
Auroral Drawing on 1770 September 16 at Numadzu.

Principal Investigator

KANO Yasuyuki

・KANO Yasuyuki (FY2017)
・Earthquake Research Institute / Collaborative Research Organization
・KANO Yasuyuki was Assistant Professor of Crustal Activity Information, RCEP, DPRI, Kyoto University. His major is seismology and current research interest is historical earthquake. He is Associate Professor of Earthquake Research Institute, and Collaborative Research Organization for Historical Materials on Earthquakes and Volcanoes, The University of Tokyo since July 2018.


・HASHIMOTO Manabu (FY2018)
・Disaster prevention Research Institute
・HASHIMOTO Manabu is Professor of Subduction Zone Earthquakes, Research Center for Earthquake Prediction (RCEP) , Disaster prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University. His current research interests are crustal deformation and space geodesy. He is director of DPRI since FY2019.