The Mythical Namazu

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by evangilder, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I stumbled on this today and found it an interesting read. In 1855, the great Ansei earthquake struck Edo (present day Tokyo). The Namazu was a mythical giant catfish that would thrash around in it's underwater layer, causing earthquakes.

    I am curious if any of our Japanese members have heard about this, or if it is still part of popular culture in Japan today.

    Namazu-e: Earthquake catfish prints ~ Pink Tentacle
     
  2. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    You are curious about everything, Eric!

    Here is another local superstition -
    A few months ago, I talked to my Chinese friend in my office
    "Do you know, in Japan, a baby is believed to be brought to its parents by a holy stork?"
    "Really? I now understand you are fool!"
    :(
     
  3. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    It is interesting that many cultures have their "old wives tales", or myths and legends. It's sometimes funny, sometimes not, when you hear someone from another culture bring up something you have never heard of. I thought it was interesting to read about and wondered if it was something of a local legend/myth, or if is something from the past that isn't even thought of these days.

    I think there is still a great deal of misunderstanding between American and Japanese cultures caused by each side de-humanizing the other during WWII. Fathers and grandfathers have told stories that have been passed down that aren't based on truth. That's why when I read or see something that seems odd or different to me, I like to ask someone who would know better than me. This is especially true if I ever feel like talking about it with other people. I don't want to perpetuate a myth.
     
  4. rednev

    rednev New Member

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    the myth about the giant catfish or the myth that there is a myth about a giant catfish ?
    ya gotta perpertuate one myth
     
  5. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Shinpachi, the Stork story is an old wives tale in this country also. I believe it came about so that when a child asked where children come from the parent, not wanting to give the truth for obvious reasons, came up with this story. Just a guess.
     
  6. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    God Kashima with a namazu(1st photo) and Kaname-ishi stone (2nd photo. Small one in the center) at Kashima Shrine in Ibaragi Prefecture.
    All photos

    Those namazu prints were popular with Edo(Tokyo today) people but prohibited by the authority shortly because the Ansei Great Earthquake in 1855 brought big profit to such poor people as construction workers like carpenters but great loss to the government.

    *****

    Thanks Aaron too for your kind information!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Interesting stuff, Shinpachi-san. The first photo is a nice carving. So the Namazu is around, in art and such. Prior to finding the website through Stumble Upon, I had not heard of the Namazu.
     
  8. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    This has been a good chance for me too, Eric, to learn about my country's old culture better.
    Namazu is still said goes wild a few hours before the earthquake comes, so some scientists are studying relationship.
    They say Namazu may be able to sense electromagnetic wave which is caused by rock cracking under the ground.
    They are very serious:)

    Thanks!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Image source
     
  9. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    A lot of people here talk of pets acting strangely before an earthquake. My father had a fishtank in his old place and he said if the fish all suddenly went to the bottom of the tank, it was going to start. So there may be something to that.
     
  10. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    There was a show on the History channel not to long ago about the study of how fish can be a indicator for earthquakes and a lot of the study was taking place in Japan. It was quite interesting.
     
  11. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    #11 Shinpachi, Jun 19, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
    This may sound joke but we have actually digital earthquake alarm - Digital Namazu, though the device only receives earthquake warning from the Meteorological Agency to countdown. Reliability depends on the agency.

    YouTube here:)

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnzXpyq3JRo
     
  12. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    It probably works better than the earthquake detectors at my father in laws place. He bought them and they went off so often, the batteries are out now. It wasn't hooked to any agency and I have no idea how they worked, but they weren't any good. At least the Japanese kept with the tradition and called it the digital Namazu.
     

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