Collective Tools for Disaster Recovery: Recalling Communal Pride and Memory through Community Radio and “Picturescue”

Tomohide Atsumi, Yuko Ishizuka, Ryohei Miyamae


Disaster recovery requires a vision of the community. This study will introduce the concept of ‘symphonicity’ which can be defined through the use of a 2X2 table. One axis of the table includes voluntary and pre-voluntary corresponding to intentional and unintentional respectively. The other axis includes the traditional distinction between community and association or Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft.” Symphonicity, lies in the voluntary-community cell, which can be realized by moving the society either from voluntary-association or from pre-voluntary-community; however, moving a society from one quadrant to the other requires effort and vision. The authors of this study have been conducting fieldwork in Noda Village, Iwate Prefecture, Japan, hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, and have identified two possible tools for community recovery. One is a movement to establish a community-radio-station for which various village groups produce their own program; while the other is “Pircturescue” in which volunteers picked up tsunami-damaged photos taken before the tsunami and returned them to the original owners. Our participant-observations revealed that these two activities motivated the survivors toward Symphonicity: community-radio led survivors to establish a sense of community with local pride, while Picturescue reminded survivors of the community before the disaster, further reinforcing their rationale for choosing to remain in the community. The socio-psychological and practical implications for utilizing such tools for recovery are discussed.


recovery;Great East Japan Earthquake; community

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