Edited By Tom Gill, Brigitte Steger and David H. Slater
The tsunami and nuclear disasters of 3.11 have triggered a huge and diverse literature on the 3.11 disasters and their aftermath. With the rise of fast output such as social media, blogs and websites, and online publishing by news outlets of stories that were often longer than conventional print would permit, there is probably no other disaster which has received as much documentation (see Slater, Nishimura and Kindstrand 2012). So, what is the specific contribution that this book is trying to make and how does it differ from other works? Let us first briefly look at the range of literature on 3.11.
The largest and most revealing body of literature on 3.11 is first-person accounts of how people experienced the disasters. Most of them are of course in Japanese. They range from haphazard tweets and texts, photos and videos to systematic reports of visits and relief work.1 In contrast to many disasters around the world where documentation often comes from official or outside sources, insider or local accounts are some of the most detailed and sustained sources of information. This gives us a more immediate view, one from the inside, a view not normally available when we try to understand what has happened. Since communication channels were initially cut off, local communities and journalists also made an effort to get people’s voices heard. After the crisis, one of the first things done by many communities (village or city offices, or later, temporary housing units) was to...
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