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Literature and Disaster in Japan: Reflections from History and the Present Day

We were very pleased to host this event considering the relationship between literature and disaster in Japanese history. Dr Stephen Dodd began the event with an overview of the experience of last year's earthquake and tsunami whilst considering the effects of the modern media in multiplying the experience around the world. He went on to discuss the historical example of the Great Kanto Earthquake and how it affected various writers at the time both in terms of the effect on the city they were living in and what was made possible for new types of literature by this event. Prof Izumi Ohmoto gave further insight into last year's events through recounting her experience and the stories of her students at Sendai University, before also commenting on the Great Kanto Earthquake, in particular examining the work of Ryunosuke Akutagawa. The event concluded with Karan Kurose giving an account of tanka written in the wake of last year's events, including detailed contextualisation of each poem as well as commenting upon the reception of each piece of work.