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Japan Copes with Calamity

Edited By Tom Gill, Brigitte Steger and David H. Slater

Four years after the 3.11 disaster in Japan, this acclaimed collection of ethnographies in English on the Japanese communities affected by the giant Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters continues to be the only one of its kind. With a new preface offering an update on the affected communities, this volume brings together studies by experienced researchers of Japan from field sites around the disaster zone. The contributors present the survivors’ struggles in their own words: from enduring life in shelters and temporary housing, through re-creating the fishing industry, to rebuilding life-ways and relationships bruised by bereavement. They contrast the sudden brutal loss of life from the tsunami with the protracted anxiety about exposure to radiation and study the battle to protect children, family and a way of life from the effects of destruction, displacement and discrimination. The local communities’ encounters with volunteers and journalists who poured into Tohoku after the disaster and the campaign to win compensation from the state and nuclear industry are also explored. This volume offers insights into the social fabric of rural communities in north-eastern Japan and suggests how the human response to disaster may be improved in the future.
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Youth for 3.11 and the Challenge of Dispatching Young Urban Volunteers to North-eastern Japan

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Regardless of the fact that there has been a severe shortage of volunteers following the Great East Japan Earthquake, we have witnessed a situation where many interested students have been unable to partake in volunteering. Youth for 3.11 believes that students – the supporters of tomorrow’s Japan – have an important role to play in the solution of social problems. This is why it is our aim to realise, through the provision of accessible volunteering opportunities, both a swift recovery as well as a society where students can take part in the solving of social problems.

— Mission Statement, Youth for 3.11 (Youth for 3.11, 2012)

 

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