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Earthquakes in Japan: a review article

Hunter, Janet (2015) Earthquakes in Japan: a review article. Modern Asian Studies, 50 (1). pp. 415-435. ISSN 0026-749X

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0026749X15000219


This review examines three monographs that make conspicuous contributions to our understanding of major earthquake disasters in Japan from the mid-nineteenth century through to 2011. They focus on different events and different time periods, and ask different questions, but raise a host of shared issues relating to the ongoing importance of disaster in Japan's history over the long term. They cause us to consider how seismic disaster is explained, understood, interpreted and actualised in people's lives, how the risks are factored in and how people respond to both immediate crisis and longer term consequences. One recurrent issue in these volumes is the extent to which these large natural disasters have the capacity to change, and actually do change, the ways in which societies organise themselves. In some cases disaster may be perceived as opportunity, but the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that a desire to return to the previous 'normality' is a powerful impulse in people's responses to major natural disasters. The review also argues that the issue of trust lies at the core of both individual and collective responses. A lack of trust may be most conspicuous in attitudes to government and elites, but is also inherent in more everyday personal interactions and market transactions in the immediate aftermath of disaster. *

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2015 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2015 11:24
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 02:57

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