Developing a Model to Explain Modifications to Public Transportation Accident Memorials

With the notable exception of modifications to memorials related to the Titanic, public transportation accidents have remained largely ignored by the academic community. This article fills a gap in the literature by developing a model to explain modifications which occur many years after the event. Such modifications, beyond the financial means of most individual families, are unexpected given that the lack of need to reinterpret the event, as often occurs with modifications to memorials which may have a wider social significance. The article develops a model using existing literature on transportation accident memorials, memory studies and death studies, pointing to the need for three factors: local approval, co-ordination (of both people and funds), and a trigger. In relation to the trigger, the model finds that this relates to the continuation of the bereavement process as well as potentially issues relating to ‘dark tourism’. Having developed the model, it is tested against the case study of a modification made to a memorial, Irei-no-Sono, for the world’s largest single-plane crash, JAL flight JL123. The article finds, in addition to the model working for this case, there is a need for bereavement theory to be better used within studies on memorialisation.

See also my books Dealing With Disaster in Japan: Responses to the Flight JL123 Crash and Osutaka: A Chronicle of Loss in the World’s Largest Single Plane Crash

‘Developing a Model to Explain Modifications to Public Transportation Accident Memorials’, Mortality (2019). DOI 10.1080/13576275.2019.1702009.

Links to posts about memorials and memorialisation:

Also see the following posts, which although primarily relating to my study Disaster Narratives by Design: Is Japan Different? also contain discussion about memorialisation: