- Great Hanshin Earthquake
- 阪神大震災（earthquake と後出 quake は地震、cataclysm は地殻変動〈大地震のこと〉）
- claim a life
- disaster prevention and mitigation
- pass on ～
- moment of silence
- deal with one's feelings
- Hyogo House public hall
- Crown ... Akishino
- 秋篠宮ご夫妻（crown prince はここでは皇嗣(こうし)、crown princess はここでは皇嗣妃）
- surpass a generational line
- (= governor)県知事
- 【写真説明】aerial photo
Jan. 17 marked exactly 25 years since the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake struck the Kobe area, claiming 6,434 lives, and memorial events for the victims were held across the region throughout the day.
While there are growing numbers of young people with no memory of the magnitude 7.3 quake, the cataclysm has also spurred greater understanding across Japan of the importance of natural disaster prevention and mitigation, and disaster volunteering has expanded. Meanwhile, the voices of those who were in the earthquake zone have continued to speak and pass on their memories.
At an annual gathering in Higashi Yuenchi park in Kobe's Chuo Ward, a moment of silence was held at 5:46 a.m. — the moment the quake struck — and again 12 hours later. Some 6,000 lanterns made from bamboo and plastic bottles were also used to spell out "Kizamu 1.17," or "1.17 etched in our minds."
For those who lost loved ones, the ensuing quarter century has done nothing to diminish the pain. One 40-year-old woman now living in Okinawa Prefecture and attending the gathering for the first time revealed that she saw her friend die beneath the rubble.
"I came here hoping to deal with my feelings, but they're just too overwhelming," she said.
At the nearby Hyogo House public hall, some 400 people gathered for a memorial ceremony, including Crown Prince and Crown Princess Akishino, who presented flowers. Crown Prince Akishino told attendees, "I hope that the stories of the disaster will surpass generational lines and continue to be told, that knowledge gained will spread both inside and outside Japan, and that people will help one another."
Hyogo Gov. Ido Toshizo stated, "It has been 25 years since the disaster, and we have entered an era of determination to move beyond recovery to building a new Hyogo."
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