Telling the Stories of Disasters Study Juku: A Series of Workshops in 3 Disaster-Affected Areas in Japan

Monday, July 14, 2014: 6:00 PM
Room: Booth 48
Oral Presentation
Liz MALY , Research Dept., Disaster Reduction Institute, Kobe, Japan
Mayumi SAKAMOTO , Disaster Reduction Institute, Japan
Saneyuki UDAGAWA , Disaster Reduction Institute, Japan
Hiromasa WATANABE , Disaster Reduction Institute, Japan
Ryoga ISHIHARA , Disaster Reduction Institute, Japan
Junko TAKAMORI , Disaster Reduction Institute, Japan
Mariko YAMAZAKI , Nagaoka Memorial Archive, Japan
Shosuke SATO , Tohoku University, Japan
What are the ways that disasters are memorialized, and how are the lessons of disaster transferred to future generations though preserving objects as well as the actual experiences of people who experienced the disaster?  The Telling the Stories of Disasters Study Juku is a series of 3 workshops held in 2013, in 3 areas of Japan that have experienced disaster: Tohoku, Chuetsu, and Kobe. Each workshop includes a tour of the local area, with a focus on the way that local institutions pass on the stories of the disaster experience, involving local community members.

In recent years, large natural disasters are happening throughout Japan: in 1995 the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, in 2004 the Chuetsu Oki Earthquake, and in 2011 the Great East Japan Earthquake. Yet in the disaster area those terrible memories are not being forgotten. Many efforts have begun to preserve and pass down these memories through sharing experiences, items, documents, video, etc., towards the creation of a future society which is stronger against disasters.

The “Telling the Stories of Disasters Study Juku,” visits each disaster area, engages in practical activities related to the collection and preservation of documents in the disaster area, listens to the local people who are involved in passing on the stories of disaster, and learns in the style of a study retreat. Incorporating the discussions of the participants, we consider the ways to pass on the stories of disaster. This paper will review the experience of the Study Juku, along with the different memorialization and disaster storytelling examples from the 3 disaster areas in Japan.