Japan’s Way Back; Six months after the nightmare of 3/11, a resilient nation is rebuilding—and taking stock of a new era. Wall St. Journal, Sept. 10
A Japanese magazine recently declared that, after six decades, sengo Japan had been replaced by saigo Japan—that is, the postwar era had given way to the post-disaster era. Just as the country’s politics, economy and society had been transformed by the trauma and destruction of World War II, so now are its foundations being remade by the calamity of March 11, whose six-month anniversary falls this Sunday, just as Americans mark their own unhappy anniversary.
The comparison to World War II is an exaggeration. As colossal as the quake, tsunami and nuclear accident were, they don’t begin to match the scale of what the country faced in 1945. But a half year after the combined disasters—which have left, at last count, 15,780 confirmed dead and another 4,122 missing—Japan is still wrestling with the disruption and dislocation unleashed that day.
“Seven times down, eight times up,” is a popular Japanese expression for resilience after adversity. It is often symbolized by the round Daruma good-luck doll that bobs up after getting knocked down. On July 8—chosen for the date of 7/8—the Fukushima prefecture city of Koriyama held a Daruma festival to inspire the refugees from the surrounding area.
One more article re “civic paralysis” may be of interest. Recovery is very hard, if not impossible, for some small towns that are devastated. Sept. 12, 2011.
- Japan’s Way Back (online.wsj.com)