Video shows Typhoon Jebi destroying Japan rooftop structure, not Typhoon Hinnamnor

·3 min read

As Typhoon Hinnamnor tore through parts of Japan and South Korea in September 2022, a video was viewed more than one million times in TikTok posts claiming it showed a rooftop structure swept away by the powerful storm. However, the video has circulated in social media posts since September 2018, when Typhoon Jebi devastated parts of western Japan. Google satellite images taken shortly after Jebi hit showed the structure destroyed in the storm was no longer intact.

"[The typhoon] is strong enough to blow away a house... watch to the end," reads a Korean-language TikTok posted on September 3, 2022.

It features hashtags such as "#TyphoonHinnamnor" and "#Japan".

Typhoon Hinnamnor forced thousands of people to flee their homes as it battered the southern coast of Japan and South Korea in early September.

In South Korea, 11 people were killed in the storm, including seven people trapped in an underground parking lot in the port city of Pohang after they reportedly went to move their cars during heavy downpours.

The footage, which has more than 1.7 million views, shows a person on the roof of a building holding onto a small shed-like structure which is rattling in the wind. Suddenly, the shed is ripped away and reduced to a flurry of debris.

Korean text superimposed on the footage reads: "The person who lost a house because of the typhoon."

Screenshot of a TikTok post sharing the false claim, taken on September 16, 2022

The video was shared in similar TikTok and YouTube posts which claimed it showed Typhoon Hinnamnor in Japan.

However, the footage was filmed during a different typhoon in September 2018.

Typhoon Jebi

A reverse image search on Google found the video posted on Japanese video-sharing website Niconico on September 4, 2018.

The video's Japanese-language caption translates to English as: "[Typhoon No. 21] A man's prefabricated rooftop structure blown away."

"Typhoon No. 21" is the Japanese name for Typhoon Jebi, which battered western Japan in September 2018, killing 14 people and leaving thousands of travellers stranded overnight at Osaka's Kansai International Airport.

Screenshot of the video posted on Niconico, taken on September 19, 2022

Some comments on the Niconico post said the clip was filmed in Osaka.

AFP searched Google Maps imagery of Osaka for the yellow-white building near a highway seen in the footage, and found it located in the city's Yodogawa-ku district.

The image -- captured in June 2022 -- shows the building without the rooftop structure that was blown away.

A clearer view of the building is visible on Google Earth's 3D Imagery. Similarly, the image -- taken in November 2020 -- shows the building without the rooftop structure.

AFP has highlighted similarities between the video (below left) and Google Earth's 3D Imagery (below right).

Screenshot comparison of the Niconico video from 2018 (L) and a 3D rendering of the corresponding location on Google Earth (R)

Google Earth images taken in May 2017 and August 2018 -- before Typhoon Jebi hit -- show the rooftop structure intact.

However, in February 2019, five months after the storm, only traces of where it stood are visible.

Comparison of Google Earth satellite images from May 2017, August 2018 and February 2019, showing the corresponding building seen in the video.