The Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University recently announced that it current Director, Theodore C. Bestor, received the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Award for the Promotion of Japanese Culture from the Agency of Cultural Affairs in Japan. The Agency of Cultural Affairs is a special body of the of the Japanese Ministry of Education, … Continue reading Harvard Anthropologist Honored by Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency
AAA member, David H. Slater, is an associate professor of cultural anthropology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and the Graduate Program of Japanese Studies at Sophia University, Tokyo. His most recent article, “Fukushima Women Against Nuclear Power: Finding a Voice from Tohoku” was featured in The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. Below is an excerpt … Continue reading Fukushima Women Against Nuclear Power
It has already been over two months since the mega earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant problem is ongoing. The current plan/estimate is to stabilize the plant in six to nine months, and that is the best-case scenario. Meanwhile, in my city, Koriyama (population 336,232), hourly radiation fallouts have been … Continue reading Post-earthquake Japan – An update from Yoko
Pamela Runestad, a PhD candidate in medical anthropology at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, is back in the US from Japan and continues her account about post-earthquake Japan. This is the first time I’ve been so acutely aware that I’ve left a collective consciousness behind. I’m usually more focused on the re-integration part. But this time, I feel … Continue reading Upon Returning Home
Guest blogger John Mock (Temple U Japan) is a sociocultural anthropologist who lived in the Tohoku region of Japan for many years and now lives in Tokyo. He was at work in Tokyo during the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. In this post, written just a few days after the earthquake, he shares the story … Continue reading A View from Tokyo on March 11
AAA member, Yoko Ikeda lives in Koriyama-city in Fukushima prefecture with her family. She is a recent graduate from the Graduate Center, City University of New York with a Ph.D. in anthropology. Here she gives an account of her experience living in Japan in the earthquake aftermath. Thank you, Yoko!
Koriyama is in the middle part of Fukushima prefecture, not near the ocean at all. My city was not affected by the devastating tsunami. Some buildings were damaged when the March 11 earthquake hit, but houses around my house had only minor structural damage, if any. Most people reported that much of the damage occurred from things falling inside the house and made quite a mess – the same was true for mine. Although parts of this city are without water and electricity, my area got them back within the same day of the earthquake. I believe nobody was killed or seriously injured in my city, although it is possible that such news has not been widely reported because of the massive disasters going on in many other places.
We are still getting many aftershocks. It is unbelievable how often we are having earthquakes each day. Even though we are used to earthquakes in general, what we’ve been experiencing now is unprecedented.
Many evacuees from the nuclear power plant area are here. There is no evacuation order or restriction to be outside in Koriyama right now and many stores are open. Because of the massive scale of the problem Japan now faces, there is some scarcity of gasoline and heating oil here, too. It seems that we are getting enough food supplies in stores that are open, but people often have to get in line to get in some grocery stores right now and the lines at the checkout are pretty long – 30 minutes to an hour at the store my mother went to.
Many businesses are open and people are going to work, but the limited gasoline supply makes commutes stressful. Transportation services are limited due to the damage to roads and railways. Long-distance busses just began running again or are about to resume on a limited basis. I don’t think there is train service in my city at this time. And given the shortage of gasoline, people do not feel comfortable going too far, unless they absolutely have to. I’ve heard many people complain that they feel stuck at their location due to the gasoline shortage.
I think that the biggest concern for people in Koriyama is what is happening with the broken nuclear power plant. Some people are worried about the nuclear power plant situations and have left the city; but for now, the overwhelming majority is here, living as normally as possible. Some people are taking radiation precautions by trying to minimize their time outside, and if they have to go out they wear a mask and hat. I hardly have been outside myself, but I don’t really have to since I am currently job hunting. Continue reading “Living in the Earthquake Aftermath in Koriyama, Japan”
Pamela Runestad, a PhD candidate in medical anthropology at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, continues her account from Japan. Here is an excerpt: …[O]ne of my interviewees in Osaka told me on Friday: “Ms. Pamela, I really want to talk to you. But please understand that I’m not quite myself today. I’m from Sendai…” Despite his initial note … Continue reading Inside Looking Out, Part Three