Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 1:30PM
The 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami -- the most powerful ever recorded to hit Japan -- caused heavy damage to buildings and transportation infrastructure, as well as nuclear meltdowns in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Complex. While the initial frenzy of humanitarian aid and global support has died down, many NPOs and social enterprises have emerged to fill various niches across the Tohoku region. Operating independently of the government, these diverse organizations point to how affected communities in Japan are moving beyond mere “disaster reconstruction” to address deeper structural problems including the emptying of the countryside, falling birth rates, an aging population, and shrinking cities – all of which were only exacerbated by the disaster.
Focusing on the city of Ishinomaki, David Wang utilizes an ethnographic approach to examine regional revitalization initiatives in post 3.11 Japan. Is there a possible model that can be gleaned from Ishinomaki to be replicated across Japan? Can these initiatives be reproduced and adapted in other areas around the world, many of which will soon experience the same problems of depopulation and aging that Japan is currently facing?
David Wang is an inaugural Northrop Frye Centre Undergraduate Fellow, 2015-2016. The Northrop Frye Centre Undergraduate Research Award provides Victoria College students with the opportunity to further their involvement with Humanities and Social Sciences research by providing funds for proposed research projects. David Wang completed his fieldwork in the summer of 2015, conducting interviews and participant observations, while drawing on scholarly articles on the state of reconstruction in Tohoku and urban planning history in Japan. Click here to learn more about the NFC Undergraduate Research Award.