Clock Stopped by Earthquake a Decade Ago Restarts

After another earthquake in Japan
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2021 2:36 PM CDT
One Quake Stopped a Clock, Another Restarted It
Stone lanterns lie collapsed after a strong earthquake at a graveyard in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, in February. The temblor shook the quake-prone areas of Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.   (Yohei Nishimura/Kyodo News via AP)

A clock that stopped working after the catastrophic 2011 earthquake in Japan has resumed ticking a decade later—after another strong earthquake. The BBC reports that the century-old, spring-driven clock in a Buddhist temple stopped keeping time when the temple was damaged by the quake and ensuing tsunami. The temple's head priest didn't part with the 31-inch clock, however, and now he's glad. After another powerful quake rattled the Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures earlier this year, Bunshun Sakano visited the temple to assess damage and heard the clock ticking again for the first time in a decade, per the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.

"It's like a sign of encouragement that the real restoration is to come," he said, referring to recovery efforts now in their 11th year following the original tragedy. The Fumonji temple is located in the town of Yamamoto in Miyagi prefecture. So how to explain the weird phenomenon of the clock? The Japanese newspaper reached out to manufacturer Seiko, and a rep offered some possibilities. "It's possible that the pendulum, which had stopped, started moving again with the shaking of the earthquake, or that dust which had built up inside came loose." (The more recent quake might actually be an aftershock of the original.)

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