JAWS online series of reflections on Tōhoku

Ten years ago, the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster was dominating news cycles around the world, with desperate imagery of chaos and uncertainty capturing our attention. The disaster sent shockwaves across the nation and beyond, igniting a host of public debates about the future of Japan while bringing new insights to long-standing discourses in light of the new post-disaster reality. While the disaster may have bolstered neo-conservative imaginations of national strength and harmony, greater engagement with new values emerged along with desires for further pluralism of choices, and prosperity beyond traditional markers of growth. These included the coinciding processes of anti-nuclear protests and reinvigoration of grassroots movements, growing interest in rural migration, slow life movements and sustainability, and general reflections of happiness and well-being in 21st century Japan. Alongside these national discourses and engagement with global development trends, the disaster also promoted intense localism, with post-disaster recovery principles highlighting the central role of affected citizens and communities in directing the recovery and shaping their own futures.

The formal aspects of the post-disaster recovery, such as re-establishment of housing, services and infrastructure, are reaching their conclusion in a majority of the affected locations across the Tōhoku region. Attention to 3/11 today is primarily confined to the anniversary events, but many of the impacts of the disaster have been persistent over the last ten years, and still felt daily by communities and individuals across the region.

In this special online series, we invite anthropologists to share their thoughts and research on the Tōhoku experience over the last ten years. The topic and focus of contributions is free, but in order to illustrate the long-term and profound nature of the impact the disaster has had on the affected communities, and Japan as a whole, we are particularly interested in ethnographic reflections, creative methodologies and research carried out at later stages in the ten-year period.

We will make a selection of the proposed pieces that will be published on the JAWS website on a monthly basis over the latter half of 2021. The schedule for the publication of the series will be announced once the selection has been made. Please send a 200-word abstract to us by 30.4.2021 along with your name, affiliation and contact details to jaws.editors@gmail.com.

The final submissions should be 800-1500 words and will be published on the JAWS website in 2021 and included in the next newsletter. Once the selection of papers is finalised, we will work with contributors to arrange precise deadlines and publication times.


Jennifer M. McGuire, Christopher Tso, Anna Vainio, Co-Editors