Aftershock: Japan one year after the Tohoku earthquake

At 2:46 p.m. local time on March 11, 2011, the east coast of Japan was rocked by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake. The earthquake caused significant structural damage and loss of life in the Tohoku region of Japan, but it also triggered a tsunami over 100 feet high and heading almost 6 miles inland at some points, which led to even greater devastation.  Shortly after the initial incidents, news reports surfaced about an impending nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, which ultimately forced evacuation of 80,000 residents from within a 12.5-mile radius of the plant.  According to the National Police Agency of Japan, as of April 4, 2012, the official death toll stands at 15,856, with another 3,084 missing and 6,025 injured.

Thirteen months after the devastating triple disaster, all of the evacuation centers have been closed and the people of Japan have shifted their focus to the demands of daily life. But what does that really mean?

On Friday, April 13 at 4:00 p.m., the Center for Asian Studies will be hosting, “Aftershock: Japan One Year after the Tohoku Earthquake” in Eaton Humanities 150.  This panel discussion will attempt to address the aftermath of the disaster and the ongoing recovery efforts occurring on the ground from a variety of perspectives:

Bruce Goldstein, an Associate Professor of Planning and Design at the University of Colorado Denver, will begin the event by discussing community crisis recovery practices in "Collaborative Resilience to Catastrophe.”

His presentation will be followed by Levi Jacobs, a graduate student in the CU-Boulder Department of Anthropology, speaking on “Life After Deluge: Witnessing 3-11 and Local Clean-up Efforts.”

Next, Roger Bilham, a Professor of Geological Sciences at CU-Boulder, will address lessons learned and how they are applied worldwide in “The Hazards of Seismic Understatement and the Hazards of Seismic Truth in a Post Fukushima World: Concerns in India.”

Greg Hanes, the Assistant Vice President of International Marketing with the U.S. Meat Export Federation based in Denver, will share his experiences working with the people of the region in “Tohoku: Return to Normalcy?”

The formal remarks will conclude with Laurel Rasplica Rodd, the Director of the Center for Asian Studies and a Professor of Japanese at CU-Boulder, whose talk, “‘because I have/ to go on living’: The Tohoku Earthquake in Poetry," will give the earthquake survivors a voice by sharing translations of moving poems they have written.

The disaster left the people of Japan with many questions about how to pick up the pieces and move forward, and our hope is that by sharing their stories, we can learn about resilience, hope, and dignity in the face of man’s struggles against nature

Founded in 1998, the Center for Asian Studies brings together faculty, students, and community members to encourage and support scholarship about Asia across disciplinary and regional boundaries. Over 100 affiliated faculty members teach in 21 departments and 6 professional schools at CU, offering over 300 courses fully or partially devoted to Asia. CAS organizes events, supports research and teaching, and acts as a key resource for students and scholars with an interest in Asian studies.

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