After the Disaster: Returning to Normal Life and Play in Tohoku

28 June 2012

6:00 – 7:45pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:45pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

Much western attention on Japan since 11 March 2011 has focused either on the implications of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, or on the recovery of the nation’s economy. While these issues remain of great importance, it seems that the effects of the tsunami on the lives of ordinary citizens in the affected regions are beginning to fade into the background, as the world turns its attention elsewhere. Moreover, due to the large proportion of older people in the population, and the disproportionate effects of the tsunami on them, the impacts of the disaster on children and how they are able to return to normality have sometimes been overlooked. In this seminar, Peter Matanle will look at plans for the reconstruction of the tsunami affected areas and assess progress achieved thus far, and then Helen Woolley will focus in detail on how the tsunami has affected children’s play. In particular, she will show the current state of where children used to play in the outdoors, explain the context of children’s outdoor play in temporary housing areas and begin to address some issues for the future as local citizens try to put the disaster behind them, put their lives back together, and re-establish a normal life for their children once more.

Dr Peter Matanle

Dr Peter Matanle is Lecturer in Japanese studies at the National Institute of Japanese Studies and School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield. His research is in the social and cultural geography of Japan, and the role of employment systems in Japan’s developmental and post-developmental processes. He has published four books and various peer reviewed articles and book chapters in these fields including, Japan’s Shrinking Regions in the 21st Century: Contemporary Responses to Depopulation and Socioeconomic Decline (co-authored with Anthony S. Rausch and the Shrinking Regions Research Group, Cambria Press, 2011), and ‘The Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Meltdown: Towards the (Re)construction of a safe, sustainable and compassionate society in Japan’s shrinking regions’ (Local Environment, 16 (9): 843-847).

Helen Woolley

Helen Woolley is a Chartered Landscape Architect and Reader in Landscape Architecture and Society in the Department of Landscape at the University of Sheffield. Helen’s research is about issues of open space and people. This has related to, and informed, national policy and strategic issues about green and open space with an increasing focus on green space and housing in recent years. She is also an expert on inclusive outdoor environments with a particular interest in children and open spaces. Helen has a strong record of knowledge transfer and consultancy activities working with a wide range of partners including some in the built environment, play and housing sectors. These research and knowledge transfer activities have been funded by research councils, government departments, national organisations and charities. In April Helen visited the Tohoku area of Japan with a colleague from Chiba University to begin to understand the situation of children’s outdoor environments in the post disaster area.

Dr Christopher P. Hood (chair)

Dr Christopher P. Hood is a Reader in Japanese Studies at Cardiff University. His latest book Dealing with Disaster in Japan: Responses to the Flight JL123 Crash (Routledge, 2011) is about responses to the world’s largest single plane crash which occurred in Japan in 1985. The book covers a variety of issues, including how the state reacted and the way those who lost loved ones have responded over the years. A chapter related to this work appears in Death and Dying in Contemporary Japan (Routledge, 2012) edited by Hikaru Suzuki. He was a part of the ‘Shrinking Regions Research Group’, whose research was edited by Peter Matanle and Anthony Rausch into Japan’s Shrinking Regions in the 21st Century(Cambria Press, 2011). Other publications include:Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan (Routledge, 2006), Japanese Education Reform: Nakasone’s Legacy (Routledge, 2001), andThe Politics of Modern Japan (4 volumes) (editor, Routledge, 2008).

BOOKING FORM

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Fukushima Colours

3 May 2012

6:00 – 7:00pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:00pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

Fukushima Colours

Published by Langenskiöld

By Elin Lindqvist

The catastrophe on 11 March 2011 has had a deep impact on the Japanese society, and on our global world. Almost twenty thousand people were left dead or missing after the disaster, and the tsunami destroyed entire communities. It will take years for the full extent of the nuclear crisis’ impact on Japan to become clear. Yet, a year after the tsunami, it is possible to see some of the consequences that the disaster has had on agriculture, the fishing industry, people’s health and research about renewable energy sources.

In her reportage book Fukushima Colours, multilingual author Elin Lindqvist has documented the aftermath of the crisis, in collaboration with Japanese journalist Yuko Ota, and Japanese photographer Yoshikazu Fukuda. She has closely followed eight individuals or groups of individuals representing different parts of Japanese society all through 2011, in order to see how people affected by the crisis have recovered. Through these individual stories, we hear the emergence of a common voice striving towards a more sustainable and ecological future in Japan.         

* The book will be available on the day at the discounted price of £18.

Elin Lindqvist

Elin Lindqvist was born in Tokyo in 1982 and currently lives in England. She has studied at New York University in New York and Sophia University in Tokyo. She is an international writer, and has published three novels in Swedish (Tokyo natt, 2002; Tre röda näckrosor, 2005 and Facklan, 2009). She also works as a freelance journalist, dramaturge and translator. In the spring of 2011, she reported about the catastrophe in Japan for Sweden’s largest newspaper Aftonbladet, and she wrote about the aftermath of the crisis for leading daily newspapersSvenska Dagbladet in Sweden and Aftenposten in Norway.

Dr Akira Matsuda

Dr Akira Matsuda studies the relationship between archaeology – and more broadly cultural heritage – and the general public from anthropological and sociological points of view. He is currently doing research into the representation of damage caused by natural disasters in Japan over the last 500 years. Matsuda completed his PhD in public archaeology at University College London in 2009. He worked as a project-based consultant in UNESCO’s Division of Cultural Heritage in 2004 and 2005, and was a Handa Japanese Archaeology Fellow at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures from January 2009 to August 2011. Since 2010, he has been teaching at the School of World Art Studies and Museology, UEA, and most recently co-edited a book, New Perspectives in Global Public Archaeology (Springer, 2011) with Okamura Katsuyuki. He is the Membership Secretary of the World Archaeological Congress, and is now working on the publication of a book on cultural heritage in East Asia.

BOOKING FORM

Japan In A Day

Japan In A Day is an extraordinary project to create the definitive self-portrait of Japan today, filmed by you, inspired by Life in a Day. It is dedicated, with our deepest sympathy, to those who lost their lives and those who are suffering as a result of the earthquake and tsunami that struck east Japan last year.

At 00:00 on Sunday 11 March 2012, Ridley Scott and Fuji TV invite you to capture the reality and intimacy of your day.

The resulting film will be a powerful and moving snapshot of Japan today, which will premiere in cinemas, and be screened around the world.

http://www.youtube.com/japaninaday

Fukushima’s animals abandoned and left to die

 

I found very hard to watch the video published on CNN website on Fukushima’s abandoned animals but while watching this sad video I was thinking about all the people who lost their lives, relatives and/or friends and never be able to forget the day Tsunami struck. When I think what human beings had to go through, then the condition of those animals, even if tragic, seems to be less important and I agree Japanese government that it would be far to risky and costly to try to save those animals.

POSTCARDS FROM JAPAN – A Message from Tohoku Artists

12 December 2011 – 31 January 2012
Embassy of Japan, 101/104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT

Admission free; Monday to Friday; 09:30 to 17:30
Visitors are requested to present a form of photographic identification when entering the Embassy.

This month, the Embassy of Japan will host a small exhibition with a rather poignant message.

After the major earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Tohoku region of north-eastern Japan on 11 March 2011, power supplies, telephone land lines and mobile telephone networks were cut and internet access became impossible.

This made it extremely difficult for people to contact family and friends. The Japanese postal service – Japan Post – was, however, quickly up and running again. It was by postcard, in many cases, that people first heard that their loved ones were safe.

Sculptors, Katagiri Hironori and Kate Thomson, share their time between Iwate and Scotland. They were working in their studios in the countryside of Iwate when the immense earthquake of 11 March 2011 struck. Their home and studio inland were not damaged and they were safe, but they were desperately worried about family and friends along the Tohoku coast. In the days after the quake, power and telephone connections slowly returned. Despite the telephone lines’ being restored, however, they could still not get through to anyone.

Inspired by the impact that the receiving of postcards can have, Katagiri and Thomson invited Tohoku-based artists from Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and Aomori prefectures to make new work for Postcards From Japan – A Message from Tohoku Artists. Even artists who had lost so much in the tsunami were enthusiastic to celebrate life through art with their communication with the world outside. The results are works made especially for this exhibition and which give an insight into the incredible grace and resilience of the people of North East Japan.

The priority in the devastated regions is to rebuild communities and livelihoods and the recovery will take years. Art and culture will play vital roles in this recovery and in celebrating life itself, helping to nurture imagination, energy and the determination to move on. Many people in Japan have realised that family, friends and communities are their most precious treasures and that they require and deserve the most time and investment. Cherishing the relationships they have, people are re-establishing contact with those with whom they had lost touch.

The project continues and in response, artists from around the world are being invited to make ‘Postcards to Japan’ and post them to Tohoku as tangible messages of support to communities affected by the devastation.

Please see www.postcardproject.org for more information.