There remain many challenges in using historical documents to reconstruct a reliable history of earthquakes in Japan. Previous catalogs of historical earthquakes in Japan are not conclusive and contain uncertainties about date, hypocenter, magnitude, and tectonic interpretation of each earthquake. There is no database of digital texts of historical documents, which describe each earthquake. Since the density of historical records in Japan is temporally and spatially heterogeneous, seismologists should carefully remove apparent changes of earthquake frequency, which are caused by the heterogeneity of record density. There is, however, no detailed database of the density variation of historical records. The number of researchers, who are interested in historical earthquakes, is small.
The situation stated above is caused mainly by the multi-disciplinary character of historical seismology. Japanese seismologists, who usually have little knowledge of history and classical literature, are not qualified to read a historical document and evaluate its reliability.
The environment for research on historical seismology is, however, getting better. Japanese historians have published and are still publishing many historical documents, sometimes with translations into modern language. Evaluations of the reliability of each document can easily be done by referring to historical dictionaries or other databases. All these publications and information are available in many libraries. It is now easy and stimulating for many seismologists to read, evaluate, and interpret historical documents.