Accepted Paper:

Toward an applied disaster anthropology: from reflections on post-disaster recovery local memory recording and intangible cultural heritage projects  

Author:

Hiroki Takakura (Tohoku University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper argues for an applied disaster anthropology and proposes relevant methods based on the experience of the 3.11 Great East Japan Earthquake. I advocate the use and advantages of applied methods of anthropological management for cultural heritage disaster-risk reduction.

Paper long abstract:

This paper argues for an applied disaster anthropology and proposes relevant methods based on the experience of the 3.11 Great East Japan Earthquake. The author organized and participated in an anthropological project that took the form of a contracted project surveying damage to intangible cultural heritage caused by the tsunami in Miyagi prefecture. As a researcher working in the quake-hit area, I started out in these anthropological projects with some hesitation because of the catastrophic situation at the disaster sites. Soon I learned that post-disaster recovery policy managers require damage information for each item of local cultural heritage in the educational-cultural administrative sphere as well as for those in the health-medical, transportation, civil engineering, or other spheres. Through the two years of survey projects, my team collected a huge volume of records on local memory concerning the intangible cultural heritage of the area: before the tsunami, in its immediate aftermath, and for the later continuing process. Our method was organized and extended fieldwork, emphasizing interviews in particular. Sharing of field notes among researchers on the team is also one of the features of this project. Reflecting on these projects, I advocate the use and advantages of applied methods of anthropological management for cultural heritage disaster-risk reduction. Establishment of this management approach is an urgent matter as an aspect of anthropological social engagement, which has a common basis for other fields of applied anthropology such as for development.

Panel P024
Practicing a public anthropology in communities devastated by the East Japan Disaster