Black WaveHow Networks and Governance Shaped Japan's 3/11 Disasters

Black WaveHow Networks and Governance Shaped Japan's 3/11 Disasters

Daniel P. Aldrich

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780226638263

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


Japan's triple disasters - earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown- on March 11 2011 took more than 18,400 lives and caused $235 billion in damage across the Tohoku region. This book tackles several pressing mysteries about the catastrophes, including how more than 96% of the residents of inundated areas survived despite 60-foot waves. Further, mortality rates varied tremendously from town to town in the region, with some communities losing one in ten residents to the disaster and others having no casualties. So too in the recovery process, rates of return and rebuilding have not moved in lockstep across Tohoku. Where some communities have rebounded and even gained population, others have lagged behind. Some observers have been content to explain the 3/11 crises and recovery in terms of culture. Moving beyond that narrow lens, Black Wave looks at multiple levels of recovery - individual, town, regional, national, and international - with a focus on connections and governance. Drawing on years of field work, extensive interviews, hundreds of surveys, and quantitative and qualitative analyses, this book illuminates the ways that social ties and the quality of political guidance and leadership influenced survival and recovery after one of the worst compounded disasters in memory.