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Abstract

This article examines local myth and folklore related to earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis in oral traditions from Cascadia (part of the northern Pacific coast of North America) and in written traditions from Japan, particularly in the Edo (present-day Tokyo) region. Local folklore corresponds closely to geological evidence and geological events in at least some cases, and the symbolic language of myth and folklore can be a useful supplement to conventional geological evidence for constructing an accurate historical record of geological activity. At a deep, archetypical level, Japan, Cascadia, and many of the world′s cultures appear to share similar themes in their conception of earthquakes. Although folklore from Cascadia is fragmentary, and the written record short, the evolution of Japanese earthquake folklore has been well documented over a long period of history and illustrates the interaction of folklore with dynamic social conditions.

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