Naming disasters and emotional ownership

In an earlier post, "Whose disaster is it, anyway?", I argue that emotional ownership is important for victims of a disaster to recover from that disaster. A translator, who works for the Prime Minister's office, argues that simply calling it "the 3/11 disaster" is good enough.

  • Translator: In our translations we use "the 3/11 disaster," etc
  • Me: Okay globally. Emotional ownership first to Tohoku, second to Japan, third to globe.
  • Translator: No, not global ownership issues; the term that will be used most around the globe. Globally speaking, it'll end up being "the 2011 Japan quake," like 2004 Indonesia, 2010 Chile.
  • Me: The Kan administration's first and most lasting contribution?
  • Translator: We did lots of translation for the Kantei; convinced them to abandon "Tohoku -off the Pacific" [sic]. I just don't think the question of labeling/linguistic ownership is a vital one here.


Japan’s strength from Tohoku's outlaw past

The Economist's recent outstanding article, about the strength of Japan's regions nicely focuses on the pressure points for change.

While the article states that Tohoku's tight-knit, independent streak dates back centuries, one can add Tohoku's outlaw status stemming out of Japan's Sengoku Period of the 16th and 17th centuries.


Tochigi Pref to donate 1 million strawberry plants to Miyagi farmers

Tochigi Prefecture, Japan's largest producer of strawberries, will donate 1 million strawberry plants to farmers in Miyagi Prefecture's Watari and Yamamoto towns. More than 90% of the 98 hectares of cultivated land in these towns were ravaged by the 11 March tsunami.


[Cabinet Recovery Commission] A Top-Down Vision: Building Anew Out of Tsunami's Rubble

In Yoree Koh's article in the Wall Street Journal, architect Tadao Ando, a member of the Cabinet Recovery Commission, presents his view of how Tohoku's ravaged coast should be rebuilt.

Mr. Ando is taking upon himself the task of designing a rebuilt Tohoku. The vision is grand but omits a key component: the input of the people of Tohoku. Mr. Ando is acting as if a doctor diagnosing and prescribing for a patient.

Curiously, the article makes no mention of Miyagi Prefecture's competing vision, which is further along in its development. It also makes no mention of Iwate Prefecture's bottom up approach.

Mr. Ando, like others, wants to write his views on Tohoku. Does Tohoku want to be written on?


Yoree Koh, "Building Anew Out of Tsunami's Rubble," Wall Street Journal - Asia, 2011/6/6, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304906004576366643979766836.html (accessed 2011/6/6)