Creative Destruction of Industries: Yokohama City in the Great Kanto Earthquake, 1923

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External organisations

  • University of Tokyo
  • Keio University


The Great Kanto Earthquake occurred on 1 September 1923 and inflicted serious damage on Yokohama City. About 90 percent of the factories in Yokohama City were burnt down or completely destroyed. However, these manufacturing industries appear to have swiftly recovered in the aftermath of the damage. This article investigates the role of creative destruction due to the Great Kanto Earthquake. Using firm-level data on capital (horsepower of motors) before and after the earthquake, we find substantial creative destruction, that is, upgrade of machine technology and/or survival of efficient firms. We find further collaborating evidence of this at the prefecture level.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalThe Journal of Economic History
Issue number1
Early online date14 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019