Community and citizenship in post-disaster Japan

  • Lynne Parmenter


In March 2011, a triple earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster rocked north-eastern Japan. In this article, the impact of these three disasters on schools, teachers and children will be analysed, with a particular focus on the role of teachers in saving lives and leading communities, and the role of schools as sites and agents of community and citizenship in the disaster situation. The article is structured around four themes, namely, the role of school leaders and teachers, the role of schools as sites of community, changing media representations of children and communities in the wider national context, and the birth of global citizenship as a meaningful concept. Primary data from visits to schools in Miyagi Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture in Japan in July 2011 and December 2011 are combined with analysis of secondary sources written in Japanese to paint a clear picture of the different roles served by teachers and schools at different points in time during and after the disasters. This provides insights not only into post-disaster communities, but also into the role of teachers and function of schools as agents and sites of community and citizenship in Japanese society.

Author Biography

Lynne Parmenter

Dr Lynne Parmenter

Principal Lecturer in International Education

Faculty of Education

Manchester Metropolitan University

Crewe Campus

Crewe Green Road




Tel: 0161-247-5025