Masayoshi Nakashima is Professor Emeritus of Kyoto University, Japan. He earned his bachelor and master degrees from Kyoto University (1975, 1977) and Ph.D. from Lehigh University, the Unites States of America (1981). After the doctoral study, he started working for the Building Research Institute (BRI) of Japan between 1981 and 1988 and then for Kobe University between 1988 and 1992 before joining Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University in 1992. During 2004 to 2011, he also worked as Director of E-Defense, a research institution that manages the world largest shaking table, and led a large international project commonly called “NEES/E-Defense Joint Research”.

His fields of research include seismic analysis and design of steel building structures and large-scale experimental techniques for the simulation of earthquake responses. Together with his students, he has published about four hundred technical papers, over two hundred and fifty of them appearing in archived journals. He has earned various national and international awards, including the Best Paper Prize of AIJ (Architectural Institute of Japan), the Best Paper Prize of JSSC (Japanese Society for Steel Construction), the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) Moisseiff Award (2000), the Special Achievement Award of AISC (American Institute for Steel Construction) (2009), the ASCE Ernest E. Howard Award (2013), and the EERI (Earthquake Engineering Research Institute) George W. Housner Medal (2014), among others.  

He served as Director of DPRI, Kyoto University between 2011 and 2013, Program Director of Cabinet Office of Japan in charge of Cross-Ministerial Project on disaster resilience between 2014 to 2017, and President of the Architectural Institute of Japan (AIJ) between 2015 and 2017. He also served as Director of Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) between 2008 and 2011, and since 2018 and until 2022, he was President of International Association for Earthquake Engineering (IAEE). Furthermore, He continues to work as Editor of International Journal of Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics (EESD) since 2006 and was appointed as Executive Editor of EESD in 2020.

Nakashima is Member of the Engineering Academy of Japan (2013) and also inducted to International Member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) of the United States (2015), Corresponding Member of the Mexican Academy of Engineering (2016), and Corresponding Member of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts (2021). He holds the honorary positions that include Honorary Professor of Tsinghua University, China (2018), Honorary Professor of Institute of Engineering Mechanics (IEM) (2017), China Administration of Earthquakes, Honorary Member of IAEE (2017), Honorary Member of AIJ (2018), and Honorary Member of EERI (2019).

Nakashima retired from Kyoto University in March 2017, and since then, he works as Chief Technical Counselor of Kajima Corporation and President of Kobori Research Complex Inc. (KRC), a consulting firm affiliated with Kajima Corporation specialized in earthquake engineering and engineering seismology.

Read Abstract Here

Japan is earthquake-prone, and earthquake disaster mitigation has been the national problem for centuries. The 1995 Kobe earthquake caused severe damage to the modern city of Kobe and its vicinities, and it revealed various issues that would impede a safer life and society. Two notable challenges disclosed after the earthquake were: the prompt response immediately after a severe event and the early warning before the arrival of severe shaking, aiming to reduce human loss and properties after the intense shaking. To promote the relevant actions, monitoring of our lands and built facilities became popular, and efforts continue in both the public and private sectors to install monitoring systems and services throughout the territory of Japan. This presentation introduces an overview of such monitoring systems and services available in Japan. It discusses how they have been utilized for actual practice (rather than for research) of earthquake disaster mitigation and how the Japanese public appreciates and responds to the services provided by such monitoring.


The presentation consists of four parts. First, a general atmosphere of Japanese monitoring is introduced briefly. Second, monitoring of land-shaking is touched upon, and its influence on the seismic design loads stipulated in the seismic design codes is discussed. Interestingly, the seismic design loads tend to be more uniform concerning the location (region) than the seismic hazards estimated based on the historical and monitored data on the ground shaking. Third, monitoring of buildings is argued. As of now, over 1,000 buildings have been instrumented, and the relevant monitoring systems have been used to diagnose the status of building damage and give warnings to the building occupants, owners, and managers, all within a few minutes. Most notable is that building monitoring is almost exclusively “market-driven,” and the building owners have decided and paid for the instrumentation (including maintenance). There is no funding whatsoever from the government sector. Fourth and last, described is a sentiment among the building owners and managers, which has been nurtured through building monitoring. They experience medium levels of shaking much more often than severe ones. They recognize how cumbersome and irritating it is to slow down the business even by tiny-looking damage to nonstructural elements. This sentiment stimulates the thinking of “no damage” even under the design-based earthquake load, which has traditionally allowed damage to nonstructural components and some structural members.