Tag Archives: 鯰

Did you know that catfish cause earthquakes?

20 Mar

About nine months ago I wrote a post about a Japanese folklore character called a “Kappa” which is meant to scare children from playing to close to bodies of water where they may drown.

Signs in Japan warning children to stay away from a river or lake almost always have a picture of a Kappa.

But there is another folklore character that is found in warning signs in Japan today. The 鯰 (catfish).

Long ago in Japan it was said that earthquakes were caused by a giant sleeping catfish who lived under the ground when it woke up and began it thrash around.

 

A 浮世絵 (woodblock print) of a god stopping the catfish from causing an earthquake.

So, in Japan today, even though no one actually believes that earthquakes are caused by catfish, signs for earthquake evacuation shelters, earthquake evacuation routes and earthquake safety usually have a picture of a catfish.

 

A roadsign in Japan for an earthquake emergency road.

 

It says: "It's an earthquake! We support you and your families safety with earthquake evacuation"

Even though no one believes the folklore legend about the giant catfish underground causing earthquakes, many people do believe that catfish act peculiar just before an earthquake strikes…and this is where the folklore story may have originated from.