This paper examines the domestic response to the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred in March 2011. The demand to (re)build a new ‘community’ in Japan was triggered by the fatal destruction of towns by the earthquake and the tsunami, and the uncertain future of these towns – and of Japan – due to the subsequent prolonged crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Drawing on the political theory of Jean-Luc Nancy, the paper examines what kinds of communities were realised in the aftermath of the disaster. It argues that two distinctively different types of communities emerged. The first type of community was based on the inside/outside logic, whereby Japan was imagined as one unified entity surrounded by a boundary which separated the safe inside from the dangerous outside. The second type of community was based on sharing. Immigrants in Japan identified themselves with the survivors since both of them shared the experience of losing home and the same home (called Japan). In this way, the immigrants challenged the idea of community as one unified entity and realised a new form of community.
- Jean-Luc Nancy
- The Great East Japan Earthquake