Japan: The Effects of Disaster on the Cultural Psyche

The Takeaway
Japan is faced with a massive humanitarian crisis and potential nuclear threat after last week's earthquake and tsunami. The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 took the lives of over 140,000 Japanese citizens and destroyed the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama. During World War II, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nearly wiped off the map in an instant flash of nuclear fission. And tsunami is, of course, a Japanese word. How has Japanese culture handled natural disaster and tragedy in the past? Dr. Tom Looser, associate professor of Japanese studies at NYU examines how Japan views these moments of tragedy and how the culture has grappled with disaster and tragedy in the past.
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