From Kobe to Tohoku: The potential and the peril of a volunteer infrastructure

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    On the morning of January 17, 1995, the Kobe region of Japan experienced what was then the country’s most destructive earthquake in the postwar era.2 Close to 6500 died, infrastructure was crippled, and hundreds and thousands of buildings were destroyed or damaged. Magnifying the earthquake was the woeful national government response that arguably made Kobe as much a man-made disaster as a natural one. O cials quarreled over jurisdictional matters and enforced regulations that ultimately cost lives and severely dented the legitimacy of Japan’s bureaucracy. The fl ipside of this administrative debacle was a historically unprecedented outpouring of volunteering which by December 1995 boasted some 1.3 million participants, including many young people who travelled hundreds of miles to help. Undoubtedly one of the milestones of civil society in postwar Japan, 1995 was soon christened ‘Year One of the Volunteer Age’ (Borantia Gannen) and heralded as a ‘volunteer revolution’ (borantia kakumei).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNatural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan: Response and Recovery after Japan's 3/11
    Editors Jeff Kingston
    Place of PublicationNew York
    ISBN (Print)978-0415698566
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    Dive into the research topics of 'From Kobe to Tohoku: The potential and the peril of a volunteer infrastructure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this