On Saturday 24 April 2021 I gave an online lecture for The Japan Society on the topic of ‘Japanese Disaster Narratives: Conservatism and Revisionism’.
Japan has a long history of disaster movies. This lecture explained some of the key similarities and differences between English-language (primarily Hollywood) disaster narratives and Japanese ones. It was based on an extensive study of disaster movies that includes defining both what a ‘disaster’ and ‘disaster narratives’ are. It then looked at the various conventions that appear to exist in disaster movies. The lecture then went on to consider the degree to which Japanese disaster movies present both conservative and revisionist approaches. In terms of ‘conservatism’ the lecture was concerned in particular in the portrayal of the protagonists, women, societal behaviour and the response of the government. In relation to ‘revisionism’, the lecture looked in particular at the way in which some of the narratives handle actual historical events.
The lecture was based upon research that I have done for three articles/chapters – ‘Disaster Narratives by Design: Is Japan Different?‘, and two others that I will post about once they have been published.
The lecture is available via the Japan Society’s YouTube channel.
UPDATE [11/Apr/2022]: Another article based upon the research presented in this paper has now been published. See Japanese Disaster Narratives of the Early Twenty-First Century: Continuity and Change