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Table of Contents (Issue 5)

March 2015
DISASTER, INFRASTRUCTURE AND SOCIETY: Learning from the 2011 Earthquake in Japan

From The Editors

Editor's Note
Sociological Documents on Transitory Networks of Assistance
Tadahito YAMAMOTO
DISASTER, INFRASTRUCTURE AND SOCIETY, 5: 4-7 (March 2015) [lang: en]

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"TRANSITORINESS" AS FUTURE POSSIBILITY TO TRANSFORMATIONS
In the disaster management process, various types of transitory spaces and networks are created to access resources for setting up emergency housing, performing assistance activities, and reconstructing communities. The constellation of such spaces and networks transform as the phases of the disaster pass, and finally the process results in the construction of a new social geography (Wisner el. al. ed. 1994; Hewitt 1997; Bolin 1998).
"Transitoriness" in this dynamic process of transformations essentially means that the spaces and networks do not exist permanently. At the same time, it also indicates that their future is indefinite and open to change in multiple directions.
The field of disaster studies has taken up the role of documenting the transitory spaces and networks that repeatedly appear and dissolve in changing phases. Disaster studies must also estimate their potential to create the future constellations of society.
The aim of DIS, No.5, is to present, based on the field research in the Sanriku coastal area of Iwate Prefecture, a sociological document of such spaces and networks created for assistance in the case of the 2011 East Japan Tsunami.

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Special Issue: Disaster in Transition: Displacement and Networked Assistance in the 2011 East Japan Tsunami

Displacement and Re-invention of Communities
Disaster Process and Assistance Networks in Ofunato City
Tadahito YAMAMOTO
DISASTER, INFRASTRUCTURE AND SOCIETY, 5: 8-42 (March 2015) [lang: en]

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The Study Group on Infrastructure and Society (SGIS) established a research team to study the impacts of the 2011 tsunami disaster on the Iwate Sanriku coastal area. Since it was formed in November 2011, the research team has conducted most of its fieldwork in two cities in the Iwate Prefecture: Kitakami City and Ofunato City. Kitakami is one of the bases/nodal points for inland assistance activities, and Ofunato City is one of the most heavily damaged tsunami-stricken cities on the coastal side (Yamamoto 2012a; 2012b; Maruyama 2012).
The aim of this paper is to describe the disaster process, which means a combination of the natural disaster itself and the emergency response process to the disaster, and the development of assistance networks in Ofunato during the year following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 (on the role of Kitakami City, see Iwadate's article).

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Chronicle of Assistance Activities in Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture
岩手県大船渡市における被災者支援活動年表
Tadahito YAMAMOTO
DISASTER, INFRASTRUCTURE AND SOCIETY, 5: 43-61 (March 2015) [lang: ja, en]

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This chronicle was made on the basis of interviews with key persons and published data on assistance activities in Ofunato City. It covers the early stage of the disaster from March 11, 2011, the day of the disaster, to June 2012 (text in Japanese).
The chronicle shows thirteen major participants in the assistance activities in Ofunato. These participants form five different types of groups.

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The Transitory Space for Rearguard Support
A Case Study of the Kyosei Union Iwate Tono Volunteer Center
Yutaka IWADATE
DISASTER, INFRASTRUCTURE AND SOCIETY, 5: 62-73 (March 2015) [lang: en]

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This study focuses on a concrete example of temporary space for rearguard support of disaster volunteers that was constructed by a civil organization. The study relies on field data to address two arguments:
The transitory space for rearguard support of volunteers creates a pathway that enables actors with few or no resources, particular unstable urban workers, to join volunteer activities.
There are distinctive effects of the self-contained principle on the disaster volunteers who responded to the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. "Self-contained principle" on volunteer activity is an ideological discourse, in which individual volunteer should be independence from the other and have to be self-sufficient in volunteer activity process.
This principle are caused by the standardization of volunteer activities after the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (also known as the Kobe Earthquake).

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Material

Documents of Relief Experiences "The Tono Volunteer Diary"
Yutaka IWADATE
DISASTER, INFRASTRUCTURE AND SOCIETY, 5: 74 (March 2015) [lang: en]

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The Tono Volunteer Diary contains descriptions of events in tsunami-devastated areas — including the details of relief activities in these areas and the emotions felt by volunteers who participated in those activities — that were written by visitors to the Tono Union Volunteer Center. A number of people who came to the Center from Iwate prefecture, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and overseas left notes about their experiences in two notebooks that were laid out inside the Center. Turning the pages, a reader can find many fragmentary words and sentences about huge debris, rotten sanma fish, the conditions of the wounded, etc. These are the footprints of the volunteers who went to the Sanriku coastal area — a document of their relief experience.

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Interview Video "Rearguard Support for Disaster Volunteers
Trials by a Labor Union in Kitakami City, Kyosei Union Iwate in the Great East Japan Earthquake"
Yutaka IWADATE
DISASTER, INFRASTRUCTURE AND SOCIETY, 5: 75 (March 2015) [lang: en]

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It took about two hours to interview Yusuke Takahashi and Masahiko Yamashita, who are the core staff members at the Tono Union Volunteer Center. How did they provide rearguard support for disaster volunteers? How was the transitory space for this support constituted? What kinds of actions and thoughts underlay the work of the Volunteer Center? This interview was conducted to examine these questions and to investigate the process of making and managing the Tono Union Volunteer Center in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. I hope that viewers will be able to gain a vivid perception of these trials by watching this video.

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