Japanese Vocabulary Related to Earthquake and Disaster Prevention

On January 1, 2024, Ishikawa Prefecture, Noto Peninsula, Japan experienced a Richter scale 7.6 magnitude earthquake, with Wajima City reaching an intensity level of 7. Japan, being a seismically active country, it’s essential to understand some Japanese vocabulary related to earthquakes and disaster prevention if you live there for an extended period. We’ve summarized the following Japanese terms (and simple Japanese sentences) for you.

What is also important: What Should I Do to Prepare for An Earthquake in Japan?

Japanese Vocabulary Related to Earthquake

地震 (jishin): Earthquake

マグニチュード: Richter magnitude scale

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震度 (shindo): Seismic intensity

震度階級 (shindo kaikyū): Seismic intensity class, indicating the size of the seismic intensity and the definition for each level. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency:
震度(shindo)0: People do not feel shaking, but seismographs record it.
震度(shindo)1: Some people indoors may feel a slight shake.
震度(shindo)2: Most people indoors feel shaking, and those asleep might wake up. Hanging objects sway slightly.
震度(shindo)3: Almost everyone indoors feels shaking, and some people walking may feel it. If asleep, most people wake up.
震度(shindo)4: Almost everyone is frightened, and almost everyone walking feels shaking. If asleep, almost everyone wakes up.
震度(shindo)5弱(weak): Most people feel fear, as if wanting to grab onto something.
震度(shindo)5強(strong): Most people feel restricted in their movements and cannot walk without holding onto something.
震度(shindo)6弱(weak): Standing becomes difficult.
震度(shindo)6強(strong)・震度7: Unable to stand, can only move on all fours. May roll due to shaking, and even unable to move or be lifted off the ground.

Source: Japan Meteorological Agency Seismic Intensity Class Related Explanation Table

緊急地震速報 (kinkyū jishin sokuhō): Emergency Earthquake Alert

余震 (yoshin): Aftershock

津波 (tsunami): Tsunami

津波警報 (tsunami keihō): Tsunami warning

液状化現象 (ekijōka genshō): Liquefaction phenomenon

Japanese Vocabulary Related to Disaster Prevention


防災グッズ (bōsai guzzu): Disaster prevention goods

インフラ: Infrastructure (basic living facilities such as water, electricity, gas, and transportation)

交通機関の乱れ (kōtsū kikan no midare): Disruption of public transportation (even to the point of suspension)

デマ: False rumors and misinformation on social media

ハザードマップ: Comprehensive disaster prevention map. It records evacuation locations during disasters, so it’s advisable to read and memorize it in advance.

避難 (hinan): Evacuation

避難場所 (hinan basho): Evacuation place

避難所 (hinanjo): Evacuation center

毛布 (mōfu): Blanket

食べ物 (tabemono): Food

寝る場所 (neru basho): Sleeping place

水 (mizu): Water

薬 (kusuri): Medicine

Survival Phrases during an Earthquake in Japanese

地震だ! (Jishin da!): Earthquake!

助けて! (Tasukete!): Help!

逃げて! (Nigete!): Run away!

急いで! (Isoide!): Hurry!

危ない! (Abunai!): Dangerous!

大丈夫?/大丈夫。 (Daijōbu?/Daijōbu.): Are you okay?/I’m okay.

怪我 (Kega): Injury

病気 (Byōki): Sickness

どこに逃げたらいいですか? (Doko ni nigetara ii desu ka?): Where should I run?

一緒に行ってください。 (Issho ni itte kudasai.): Please take me with you.

避難所への地図を書いてください。 (Hinanjo e no chizu o kaite kudasai.): Please draw a map to the evacuation center.

電話はどこでかけられますか? (Denwa wa doko de kakeraremasu ka?): Where can I make a phone call?

食べ物はどこでもらえますか? (Tabemono wa doko de moraemasu ka?): Where can I get food?

We hope everyone living in Japan stays safe.

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