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Content about Iwate Prefecture

July 3, 2011

Japan disaster documentary interviews Brent Duncan in Noda Village debris fields

A Japanese documentary about the disaster areas in Iwate Prefrecture one month after the initial stages of disaster included an interview with me. This blog entry contains the background story about and excerpts from Higashi Nippon Daishinsai: Iwate" (東日本大震災:岩手県野田村[抜粋] The Northeastern Japan Disaster: Iwate

May 1, 2011

Charity is not typically part of traditional Japanese culture. However, as a response to disasters like the Great Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011, thousands of Japanese are going against culture to offer selfless service for strangers. This article about a volunteer trend that has emerged from the aftermath of an unprecedented disaster suggests and important question to consider: Will tradition crush Japan's trend toward western-style charity practices or are we witnessing a major societal transformation?

Charity is not typically part of traditional Japanese culture. However, as a response to disasters like the Great Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011, thousands of Japanese are going against culture to offer selfless service for strangers. This article about a volunteer trend that has emerged from the aftermath of an unprecedented disaster suggests and important question to consider: Will tradition crush Japan's trend toward western-style charity practices or are we witnessing a major societal transformation?

April 24, 2011

The media is starting to recognize the emerging phase of the disaster that struck Japan on March 11, 2011: survivor suicide. The question becomes, what can we do, if anything, to stop the survivor-suicide phase of disaster? A key part of the challenge is to influence change using existing practice and infrastructure within the established culture. That means teaching locals how to administer to one another, not imposing programs, practice, and morals as outsiders. 

Some Japanese friends told us a story that is making the rounds through the grapevine about a Fukushima farmer who killed himself when he learned that he had to destroy his crop of radioactive cabbage. This grapevine story appeared in the Los Angeles Times today in a story titled "Japan fears post-quake rise in suicides."