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Dealing with Disaster in Japan: Responses to the Flight JL123 Crash (Part I - Context 1. Introduction 2. Putting Jl123 Into Conte) [Paperback]

Christopher Hood

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Book Description

7 May 2013 0415705991 978-0415705998 Reprint

Just as the sinking of the Titanic is embedded in the public consciousness in the English-speaking world, so the crash of JAL flight JL123 is part of the Japanese collective memory. The 1985 crash involved the largest loss of life for any single air crash in the world. 520 people, many of whom had been returning to their ancestral home for the Obon religious festival, were killed; there were only four survivors.

This book tells the story of the crash, discusses the many controversial issues surrounding it, and considers why it has come to have such importance for many Japanese. It shows how the Japanese responded to the disaster: trying to comprehend how a faulty repair may have caused the crash, and the fact that rescue services took such a long time to reach the remote crash site; how the bereaved dealt with their loss; how the media in Japan and in the wider world reported the disaster; and how the disaster is remembered and commemorated. The book highlights the media coverage of anniversary events and the Japanese books and films about the crash; the very particular memorialization process in Japan, alongside Japanese attitudes to death and religion; it points out in what ways this crash both reflects typical Japanese behaviour and in what ways the crash is unique.

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More About the Author

My research interests relating to Japan are broad, however the central themes are relating to identity and symbolism. My doctoral research and first book, Japanese Education Reform: Nakasone's Legacy, were on education reforms in Japan and the influence of Prime Minister Nakasone.

My next project was on the shinkansen ('bullet train'), looking at the ways in which it both reflects aspects of Japanese society and the ways in which it has influenced Japanese society. This book, Shinkansen - From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan, was published originally in 2006, with a paperback version published in 2007.

My third book is about the Japan Air Lines flight JL123 crash in 1985. Although the book, Dealing with Disaster in Japan: Responses to the Flight JL123 Crash, published in 2011, discusses the reasons for the crash, it primarily looks at what can be learnt about Japanese, and to some extent global, society by looking at what happened following the crash.

I have also been working on a number of other projects over the past few years. For example, I was the editor of The Politics of Modern Japan, a 4 volume collection of articles on Japanese politics, published in 2008. I was also co-editor, with Prof. G. Bownas and D. Powers, of Doing Business with the Japanese, published in 2003.

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"This is a haunting saga, brilliantly told, about the 1985 crash of a Japan Airlines flight in the mountains of remote Gunma that claimed 521 lives. It is a gripping tale that explores what happened and why while probing the human tragedies that have unfolded since that fateful day... While disaster buffs will find this a rewarding read, I think that anyone interested in Japan will learn a great deal about how people collectively and individually cope with death, from how it is reported, how it is mourned and commemorated, to efforts at healing the traumatic aftershocks that disrupt lives and families, and the cold calculus of compensation." - Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies, Temple University Japan; The Japan Times: Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011

About the Author

Christopher P. Hood is a Reader in Japanese Studies at Cardiff University, UK.  His publications include Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan, (2006), Japanese Education Reform: Nakasone’s Legacy (2001) and (as editor) the four volume Politics of Modern Japan (all published by Routledge).

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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