2014-2015 Colloquium Series
The Tourism Studies Working Group and the
Center for Japanese Studies are pleased to announce
VOLUNTEER TOURISM AND PUBLIC ANTHROPOLOGY:
In the Aftermath of the 3.11 East Japan Disaster
(The University of Tokyo/The UCLA Center for Japanese Studies)
Friday, February 13, 4:00 PM
180 Doe Library
University of California, Berkeley
On March 11, 2011, a mega-earthquake of 9.0 magnitude struck East Japan, followed by a huge tsunami and the meltdown of several nuclear reactors in Fukushima. This was a disaster of unprecedented complexity. The disaster left approximately 20,000 dead, including missing people, and it is said that the damage can be estimated at 17 trillion Japanese yen. However, what we should understand is that disaster is a long process. As of August 2014, more than three years after the disaster, there were about 250,000 evacuees and displaced people and the local economic situation is still shaky. In this situation, this paper first pays special attention to tourism that could play a positive role in the reconstruction of devastated communities. In particular, it examines the implications of “volunteer tourism,” as a new form of tourism that emerged after the disaster and helped form kizuna or “social ties” between the devastated areas and the rest of the world. At the same time, the paper discusses new developments of anthropological practices in Japan in the post-disaster context. Reviewing what role anthropology can play in the process of reconstruction, I argue that anthropologists should engage in the public issues in pursuit of a new relationship of anthropology and society. In so doing, we could practice a kind of public anthropology that contributes to the understanding and solution of contemporary social issues. The East Japan Disaster is exactly the kind of challenge we have to respond to.
Shinji Yamashita is Emeritus Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Tokyo, Professor of Tourism Studies at Teikyo Heisei University, Japan, and currently Terasaki Chair of the UCLA Center for Japanese Studies (until March 31, 2015). He was a former president of the Japanese Society of Ethnology (Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology since 2004) 1996-98. His research focuses on the dynamics of culture in the process of globalization with a special reference to international tourism and transnational migration. His regional concern is with Southeast and East Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan. His books include Tourism and Cultural Development in Asia and Oceania (co-ed. with Kadir H. Din and Jerry S. Eades, Malaysia National University Press, 1997), Globalization in Southeast Asia: Local, National, and Transnational Perspectives (co-ed. with Jerry S. Eades, Berghahn Books, 2003), Bali and Beyond: Explorations in the Anthropology of Tourism (translated by J.S. Eades, Berghahn Books, 2003), The Making of Anthropology in East and Southeast Asia (co-ed. with Joseph Bosco and Jerry S. Eades, Berghahn Books, 2004), Kanko Jinruigaku no Chosen: “Atarashii Chikyu” no Ikikata [The Challenges of the Anthropology of Tourism: Transnational Lives on the “New Globe”] (Kodansha, Tokyo, 2009), and Wind over Water: Migration in an East Asian Context (co-ed. with David W. Haines and Keiko Yamanaka, Berghahn Books, 2012).