This paper analyzes the activities of volunteer groups mobilized to support vulnerable communities such as foreigners and ethnic minorities after the Kobe earthquake. Apart from trying to give a ‘human face’ to Kobe volunteers, groups, and networks, I am interested in the historical significance of this volunteering beyond the much-discussed, yet nonetheless important, legislative and broader perceptional changes. What did volunteers learn through their interactions with vulnerable communities and in what ways was their consciousness – as volunteers, as activists, and as citizens – transformed (if at all)? Looking backward, how is this volunteering to be positioned in the wider history of volunteering and civic activism in postwar Japan and, looking forward, what were the legacies of this crisis beyond greater social legitimacy and a heightened preparedness for future disasters?
|Title of host publication||Disasters and Social Crisis in Contemporary Japan. Political, Religious, and Sociocultural Responses|
|Editors||Mark R. Mullins and Koichi Nakano|
|Place of Publication||Basingstoke and New York|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|