Monday, August 27, 2012

Water Disasters in Kochi

Flooding in September 1998
   Kochi gets higher rainfall than any other prefecture in Japan. Usually that’s a good thing – Kochi doesn’t suffer from water shortages, and the rain is great for agriculture – but too much of even a good thing is bad, and every now and then the rains bring disaster.

   The most recent disaster came in September 2001 when heavy rains caused floods in Otsuki and Tosashimizu. Nobody was killed, but 8 people were injured and 1151 houses were damaged, destroyed or flooded. Kochi City and central Kochi Prefecture suffered major flooding just three years prior in September 1998. A record-setting 963mm of rain came down in just one day, putting much of Kochi City under water. The damage was immense, with 23,796 houses across the prefecture being flooded and 8 people losing their lives.

   Kochi’s long history of flooding is even reflected in the etymology of its name. The castle was originally named “Ko-uchi-yama-jo,” meaning, “The Castle on the Hill between the Rivers,” due to its location on a hill between the Enokuchi and Kagami rivers. After repeated floods, however, people began to dislike the name and decided to change it in 1610.
   A monk from Chikurinji Temple suggested retaining the sound of the name Kochi but changing its characters from“river (ko)” and “between (uchi)” to “high (ko)” and “wisdom(chi). ”These eventually changed to the ones used today, meaning “high” and “knowledge.”

Taken from vol.31 PDF

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