Nautilus

Is Japanese Culture Traumatized By Centuries of Natural Disaster?

The effects of centuries of natural disaster may be most obvious in Japanese culture.“Nichiren Calming the Storm,” a 19th century painting by Utagawa Kuniyoshi / Hulton Fine Art Collection / Getty Images

Ayumi Endo remembers the 2011 earthquake and tsunami with exquisite detail. She ran downstairs to screaming coworkers. The phones in Tokyo had stopped working, and the trains outside stopped running. To kill time, she went to a pub, and saw a tsunami chase a car on TV. The drama was seared into Ayumi’s memory. “We all knew how terrible this was,” she said. “It was like a movie scene.”

Years later, 3/11, as it is informally known, has left deep deaths directly caused by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown combined.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus14 min read
Consciousness Began When the Gods Stopped Speaking: How Julian Jaynes’ famous 1970s theory is faring in the neuroscience age.
Julian Jaynes was living out of a couple of suitcases in a Princeton dorm in the early 1970s. He must have been an odd sight there among the undergraduates, some of whom knew him as a lecturer who taught psychology, holding forth in a deep baritone v
Nautilus4 min readFashion & Beauty
Yes, It Matters What You Wear to an Exam
In May 2015, an official vote was held by the Oxford University Student Union about clothing policy. It was over whether to keep “subfusc,” a traditional uniform dating back to the mid-seventeenth century—comprised of a dark suit or skirt, black shoe
Nautilus9 min read
When Mollusks Fall in Love: Two stories from the remarkable work of Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.
Outside of gothic works of fiction set in Transylvania, we rarely read of enduring friendships that have been initiated by a bite. But that is exactly how nature writers Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas—the two extraordinary, quirky, and i