Great East Japan Earthquake Essay

A part of Japan that had been ruled by seniority systems (pyramid community structures dominated by older men) and where “government dependence” was an oft-uttered phrase was now a place where young people, women, and outsiders were taking a prominent role.Many people from outside the community either relocated to Tohoku or at least moved the locus of their lives northward.

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The “Accelerate Reconstruction” slogan issued by the Japanese government rings hollow across Tohoku, simply bringing into sharp focus the emptiness and superficiality of Japan’s long-cherished commonality and civic-mindedness.

Some three years after the disaster, there was an increasing number of opportunities to be asked whether the Japanese society had really ended up changing as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

With top talent from all kinds of fields moving in and out on a regular basis, some started to wonder if they were experiencing what it would have been like to live in bustling Nagasaki during the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate.

There has also been a marked increase in new businesses.

But when it comes to the incoming first-year university students—those who were in junior high school when the March 11 disaster hit—their memories of the Great East Japan Earthquake are nothing more than some vague recollection of a passing event.

This is a direct result of the fact that the Tokyo-based media no longer says anything about it.

Kesennuma Knitting (which sells hand-knitted luxury sweaters), GANBAARE (which offers canvas products), Tohoku Taberu Tsushin (a platform for promoting community-supported agriculture), and Kesennuma Regional Energy Development (an effort to make use of woody biomass derived from forest thinning) are just a few examples of the non-profit and for-profit organizations that have enjoyed national attention in the wake of the disaster.

And though it is not, strictly speaking, a new business, longstanding Kesennuma seafood processor Abecho Shoten has developed new anchovy and other products under its recently established Mermaid brand, and is actively working to expand its sales channels.

It simply illustrates the fact that young people are an honest reflection of society at large.) Today, I feel that the Great East Japan Earthquake was an event that cruelly revealed the modern Japan that has lost the kind of nationwide civic-mindedness that characterized it during the bulk of the 20th century.

Looking back now, there were signs that this was happening even immediately after disaster struck.


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