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.1 Close to 6,500 died, infrastructure was crippled, and hundreds and thousands of buildings were destroyed or damaged. Magnifying the earthquake was the woeful response from the national government, which arguably made Kobe as much a man-made disaster as a natural one. Officials quarreled over jurisdictional matters and enforced regulations that ultimately cost lives and severely dented the legitimacy of Japan’s bureaucracy. The flip side 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 traveled hundreds of miles to help. Undoubtedly one of the milestone years of civil society in postwar Japan, 1995 was soon christened “Year One of the Volunteer Age” (borantia Gnnnen) and heralded as a “volunteer revolution” (borantia kakumei).
|Title of host publication||Natural Disaster and Reconstruction in Asian Economies: A Global Synthesis of Shared Experiences|
|Editors||Kinnia Yau Shuk-ting|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Publisher||Palgrave Macmillan Ltd|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|