The Evolution of Disaster Volunteering in Japan: From Kobe to Tohoku

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    On the morning of January 17, 1995, the Kobe region of Japan experienced what was then the country’s most destructive earthquake in the postwar era.1 Close to 6,500 died, infrastructure was crippled, and hundreds and thousands of buildings were destroyed or damaged. Magnifying the earthquake was the woeful response from the national government, which arguably made Kobe as much a man-made disaster as a natural one. Officials quarreled over jurisdictional matters and enforced regulations that ultimately cost lives and severely dented the legitimacy of Japan’s bureaucracy. The flip side of this administrative debacle was a historically unprecedented outpouring of volunteering, which by December 1995 boasted some 1.3 million participants, including many young people who traveled hundreds of miles to help. Undoubtedly one of the milestone years of civil society in postwar Japan, 1995 was soon christened “Year One of the Volunteer Age” (borantia Gnnnen) and heralded as a “volunteer revolution” (borantia kakumei).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNatural Disaster and Reconstruction in Asian Economies: A Global Synthesis of Shared Experiences
    EditorsKinnia Yau Shuk-ting
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd
    ISBN (Print)9781137374936
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    Dive into the research topics of 'The Evolution of Disaster Volunteering in Japan: From Kobe to Tohoku'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this