December 16, 1997An episode of Pokémon, "Dennō Senshi Porygon", aired in Japan induces seizures in 685 Japanese children.
Twenty minutes into the episode, there is a scene in which Pikachu stops vaccine missiles with its Thunderbolt attack, resulting in a huge explosion that flashes red and blue lights. Although there were similar parts in the episode with red and blue flashes, an anime technique called "paka paka" made this scene extremely intense,for these flashes were extremely bright strobe lights, with blinks at a rate of about 12 Hz for approximately four seconds in almost fullscreen, and then for two seconds outright fullscreen. At this point, viewers started to complain of blurred vision, headaches, dizziness and nausea. Some experienced seizures, blindness, convulsions and loss of consciousness. Japan's Fire Defense Agency reported that a total of 685 viewers - 310 boys and 375 girls - were taken to hospitals by ambulances. Although many victims recovered during the ambulance trip, more than 150 of them were admitted to hospitals. Two people remained hospitalized for more than two weeks. Some other people had seizures when parts of the scene were rebroadcast during news reports on the seizures. Only a small fraction of the 685 children treated were diagnosed with photosensitive epilepsy.
January 30, 1902The first Anglo-Japanese Alliance is signed in London.
The first Anglo-Japanese Alliance was signed in London at what is now the Lansdowne Club, on January 30, 1902, by Lord Lansdowne (British foreign secretary) and Hayashi Tadasu (Japanese minister in London). A diplomatic milestone for its ending of Britain's splendid isolation, the alliance was renewed and extended in scope twice, in 1905 and 1911, before its demise in 1921. It was officially terminated in 1923.
February 27, 1870The current flag of Japan is first adopted as the national flag for Japanese merchant ships.
The national flag of Japan is a white rectangular flag with a large red disk (representing the sun) in the center. This flag is officially called Nisshōki ("sun-mark flag") in Japanese, but is more commonly known as Hinomaru ("circle of the sun"). The Nisshōki flag is designated as the national flag in Law Regarding the National Flag and National Anthem, which was promulgated and became effective on August 13, 1999. Although no earlier legislation had specified a national flag, the sun-disc flag had already become the de facto national flag of Japan. Two proclamations issued in 1870 by the Daijō-kan, the governmental body of the early Meiji Era, each had a provision for a design of the national flag. A sun-disc flag was adopted as the national flag for merchant ships under Proclamation No. 57 of Meiji 3 (issued on February 27, 1870), and as the national flag used by the Navy under Proclamation No. 651 of Meiji 3 (issued on October 27, 1870). Use of the Hinomaru was severely restricted during the early years of the American occupation after World War II, although restrictions were later relaxed.
March 8, 1868Sakai incident.
The Sakai incident was the killing of 11 French sailors from the French corvette Dupleix in the port of Sakai near Osaka, Japan in 1868. On March 8, 1868, a skiff sent to Sakai was attacked by samurai of the Tosa clan; 11 sailors and Midshipman Guillou were killed (a monument in Kobe is now erected to their memory). At the time, the port of Sakai was not open to foreign ships, and the Tosa troops were in charge of policing the city. The French captain Dupetit Thouars protested so strongly that an indemnity of 150,000 dollars was agreed upon, the culprits were arrested, and 20 of them were sentenced to death by seppuku at Myōkoku-ji. However, the style of execution was so shocking to the French that, after 11 were carried out, the captain requested a pardon, sparing nine of the samurai. This allowed the French and Japanese parties to reconcile. This incident was dramatised in a famous short story, Sakai Jiken, by Mori Ōgai.
March 13, 1988The Seikan Tunnel, the longest undersea tunnel in the world, opens between Aomori and Hakodate, Japan.
The Seikan Tunnel is a 53.85-kilometre (33.46 mi) railway tunnel in Japan, with a 23.3-kilometre (14.5 mi) long portion under the seabed. Track level is about 140 metres (460 ft) below seabed and 240 m (790 ft) below sea level. It travels beneath the Tsugaru Strait—connecting Aomori Prefecture on the Japanese island of Honshu and the island of Hokkaido—as part of the Kaikyo Line of Hokkaido Railway Company. The name Seikan comes from combining the on'yomi readings of the first characters of Aomori and Hakodate, the nearest major city on the Hokkaido side.
July 9, 869Earthquake and subsequent tsunami strikes the area around Sendai in the northern part of Honshu, Japan.
The 869 Jogan Sanriku earthquake and associated tsunami struck the area around Sendai in the northern part of Honshu on 9 July 869 (26th day of 5th month, 11th year of Jōgan). The earthquake had an estimated magnitude of 8.6 on the surface wave magnitude scale. The tsunami caused widespread flooding of the Sendai plain, with sand deposits being found up to 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the coast.