by Takao Iba, c1995 (WWW Version by Kobe University Library, c2001)

CD Takao Iba

Born: 1947
Place of birth: Higashinada-Ku, Kobe
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Profile of Takao Iba
Audio of the Great Hanshin Earthquake
- The Crippled Transit System
c1995 Produced and written by Takao Iba

A Collection of Announcements Made Inside Trains of Railways Damaged by the Great Hanshin Earthquake
I documented the Osaka and Kobe railway service interruptions caused by the January 17th earthquake using the ambient sounds and announcements made inside trains. I boarded the trains immediately after service had partially resumed - the very first scheduled trains and early trains which carried few passengers - and created recordings of announcements, etc., that one does not hear during normal operation of the trains. The Rokko Liner, which was the last train to resume its normal route, was recovered on August 23rd. This CD, therefore, documents sounds that can no longer be heard.
For about 25 years now, I have been a "live audio" fanatic, taking my recorder to various locations and recording live sounds. I have in the past produced quite a few recordings of sounds inside local railway trains that were scheduled to be discontinued. When the Hanshin earthquake hit, I was on my way to Tokyo on a business trip and felt the great tremor near the JR Osaka Station. All of the transit systems were shut down. I gave up on my trip to Tokyo and walked four and a half hours back to my home in Nishinomiya. I realized at that time how grateful I should be for the railway system. When I reached my home, I found the elevated bridge of the bullet train that ran behind my home had collapsed, and my home totally destroyed.
After the earthquake, I slept at my office in Kobe. One day, when I boarded the Hankyu Line for Osaka, I heard the following announcement: "The next station is Mikage. Mikage. Due to the earthquake, the train will not run between Mikage and Nishinomiya Kitaguchi. To reach these areas, please utilize the bus system." At that moment it occurred to me that such announcements are rare and should be recorded to document the earthquake. I put together a schedule the next morning and started my recordings.
After listening to the recordings, please take the time to send your comments. I will graciously use this information as reference material in the future. Thank you.
Takao Iba