Greeting from the Director

The mission of the Earthquake Research Institute (ERI) is to promote research on earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and to develop methods for mitigating related disasters. It also requires a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of the Earth’s interior which drive these phenomena. To achieve this goal, we promote multi-disciplinary research in the field of solid earth science; integrating field observations, laboratory experiments, and theoretical studies.

To promote research on earthquakes and volcanoes, research collaboration and exchange with many researchers are essentially required in order to conduct large-scale field observation and experiments. As a Joint Usage/Research Center of Japanese universities, ERI organizes various joint research projects, including a nationwide “Earthquake and Volcano Hazards Observation and Research Program” involving many universities and research institutes across Japan. Joint projects includes an approach of integration of arts and sciences to clarify historical seismic and volcanic activity from historical documents. On April 2017, the Historiographical Institute and ERI have just established “the Collaborative Research Organization for Historical Materials on Earthquakes and Volcanoes” in order to advance this interdisciplinary research. ERI has also concluded agreements with many foreign organizations In US, France, Italy, etc. to encourage international collaboration. In addition, ERI has established an international office for the promotion of earthquake and volcano related research, and contributes to sponsoring foreign visiting researchers in order to stimulate international scientific cooperation.

Faculty members of ERI are deeply involved in the education of graduate students at the University of Tokyo. Graduate students at ERI enjoy world-class advanced research through familiar field and laboratory works. There still remains many unresolved issues in the field of solid earth science. Therefore, we will continue to deepen our understanding of earthquake and volcano through various discoveries extracting from enormous data with many young students.

ERI is committed to promoting the most advanced, multi-disciplinary research in the field of solid earth science, and understands the importance of our outreach activities, which make our scientific and engineering achievements accessible to the public. ERI aspires to become a world-class research organization, so we welcome your cooperation and suggestions for improvement.

Director Kazushige Obara

History of ERI

Established on November 13th 1925, the Earthquake Research Institute (ERI), took over the research project which
had been run by the government at the time. For over thirty years, the research activities had contributed to the development of the seismology in Japan. In June 1928, it officially became an institute of Tokyo Imperial University.
After World War II, the institute was re-established as one of the research institutes of the University of Tokyo. Following the nation- wide cooperative Earthquake Prediction Program that started in 1965 and the Volcanic Eruption Prediction Program in 1974, ERI played a core role in bearing the heaviest responsibilities for their implementation, as well as serving as the central institute for fundamental geophysical researches in Japan.
In the last few decades, various cooperative studies, such as seismic observations in several inland areas, seismic and geophysical observations in the ocean, application of Global Positioning System (GPS), seismic observations by a network covering the whole of the western Pacific under the POSEIDON Project, and experiments on volcanic structure and magma supply system, have been planned and conducted as joint researches among the universities and institutes in Japan.
To promote these projects further, ERI was re-organized in 1994 as a shared institute of the University. The reorganized ERI consisted of four divisions, five centers, and two observatories providing positions for visiting professors, and formulating the system for cooperative studies.
In April 1997, the Ocean Hemisphere Research Center was established to develop and operate a global multidisciplinary network in the Pacific hemisphere consisting of seismic, geoelectromagnetic, and geodetic observations.
With the completion of the new base-isolated building (Building 1) in 2006, followed by the anti-seismic reinforcement of the old building (Building 2), ERI’s capacity to respond to large earthquakes in Tokyo has increased
In 2009, the Coordination Center for Prediction Research of Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions was established to promote collaboration of researches of earthquake predictions and volcanic eruptions.
In 2010, ERI was re-organized as a joint usage/research center of Japanese universities for earthquake and volcano researches with four research divisions and seven centers including the Center for High Energy Geophysics Research. The new organization will enable ERI to provide flexible frame-work for diverse and multi-disciplinary observational solid earth sciences.
In 2012, Research Center for Large-Scale Earthquake, Tsunami and Disaster was established in order to construct the theory and develop the method of advanced numerical analysis for conducting the research on forecasting large-scale earthquake and tsunami.
In 2014, ERI has started to join hands with the Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, which is the Joint Usage/Research Center for integrated disaster science concerning natural disasters.