What are Japanese people learning from the 3.11 disaster? – A Lecture by Prof. Takehiko Kariya, University of Oxford

Date: 2 November 2011 from 6.30pm
Venue: The Japan Foundation, Russell Square House, 10-12 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5EH

The gigantic earthquake and following tsunami on March 11, 2011 killed nearly twenty thousand people and devastated a huge area of Tohoku, Japan. This unprecedented natural disaster triggered violent explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Radiation spread widely, a problem which has not been solved even seven months after the accident. But already we cannot stop ourselves from asking what it is that we Japanese are learning from the experience of this unprecedented disaster in Japan. Reactions to the disaster have revealed many aspects of Japanese society which are usually hidden in the course of ordinary daily life. How are Japanese converting their experiences into knowledge and reflective thinking regarding their own society? What ‘lessons’ are being learnt, and how? Can we share these lessons with the world? Paying attention to these learning processes in particular, this presentation will consider the meaning of this disaster for highly modernized societies.

Prof. Takehiko Kariya is a professor in the Sociology of Japanese Society, Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies and the Department of Sociology, University of Oxford. Before he came to Oxford, he had been a professor in Sociology of Education at the Graduate School of Education, University of Tokyo for 18 years. He received his Ph.D in Sociology from Northwestern University. His research interests include sociology of education, social stratification, school-to-work transition, educational and social policies, and social changes in postwar Japan. He has published 13 books and many articles in Japanese and most recently he is co-editor of Challenges to Japanese Education: Economics, Reforms, and Human Rights (Teachers College Press, 2010).

This event is organised by the Japan Foundation in association with the Embassy of Japan.

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