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Monday, 18th April 2016
In Events In Japan,

Kumamoto Castle's walls damaged in earthquake

The 400-year-old structure of Kumamoto Castle was damaged in a devastating earthquake that struck the island of Kyushu on Saturday (April 16th).

At least 18 people were killed and 1,500 injured when the 7.3-magnitude quake occurred just a day after another earthquake in the region resulting in the loss of nine lives.

Kumamoto Castle was constructed by Kiyomasa Kato in 1607 during the samurai era and its walls have always managed to withstand attacks from enemy forces.

Now, a large section of the castle’s wall has fallen down as a consequence of the natural disaster, damaging the 17th-century infrastructure.

The castle’s history includes standing firm against artillery fire when rebel samurais tried to attack it as part of the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877.

While much of the castle’s complex burnt down during the conflict, the walls were never breached and remained intact until this week.

As well as the damage to the walls, two turrets, known as Higashi-Juhachiken-Yagura and Kita-Juhachiken-Yagura, also collapsed.

These historic structures were designated as important cultural assets by the Japanese government.

It is thought they fell down as the walls supporting them were damaged and parts of the turrets landed on the Kumamoto-Daijingu shrine close by.

This destroyed the roofs, making the necessary repair work all the more severe.

The administrative office for the castle has closed the attraction in the wake of the earthquake and has not indicated when it will open again to the public.

It warned on its Facebook page: "Please do not go close to the stone walls as aftershocks continue."

Related news stories:
Kumamoto Airport reopens to commercial passengers (19th April 2016)
Pokemon Go helps boost disaster-struck regions of Japan (11th August 2016)
Search for survivors in Kyushu after second earthquake rocks southern Japan (18th April 2016)