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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.104

Funerals in view of natural disaster: how the media described Fukushima?


  • Marta JAWORSKA

Primary authors


The death toll of natural disasters is enormous. Loosing someone close is a traumatic experience. During the catastrophe like Fukushima 2011, when the Japanese nation experienced one of the most tragic losses, the world was watching. Media everywhere were informing on the events hourly. The full coverage and technology made it possible to feel empathetic towards the Japanese. In the aftermath of the tragedy, multiple articles on how the Japanese coped with the losses in the infrastructure, and especially in people were written. During my research on the funerals in Japan 2011, I had the opportunity to witness and discuss the effects of the disaster. How the Japanese managed to live through the tragedy? How and if it affected the funerals? Considering this catastrophe and its coverage, I ask, was it necessary to show pictures of mass graves? Was it cleansing to relieve through images the loss and pain again? What other, than informative, purpose had all the visual materials created long after March 2011? I will discuss role of tradition and structure of the Japanese funeral rites, which helped the Japanese with coping with their feelings of loss. Secondly, I will analyze the articles from the local and international papers which showed the living conditions and tragedy of the survivors. Lastly, I will present the other media and their purpose in cleansing the trauma. I will argue was it necessary to produce so much visual material and did it help the Japanese or the world to cope with Fukushima.