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Japan Sinks: 2020 & Earthquakes

Created as a warning of the imminent disasters that await Japan which Kat explains in her section,Japan Sinks: 2020 also addresses the problems of nationalism and how to preserve your culture through social media.

Sources in episode:

Japan Sinks? – Confluence

In 2020 reboot of 'Japan Sinks' the disaster is no longer the star

Japan Sinks 2020' Review: An Emotional Departure for Masaaki Yuasa

Why Do Earthquakes Happen?

Stay Safe During an Earthquake

Devastated communities, an unseen fear: Japan's 2011 tsunami | Earthquakes News

Tokyo will probably face a massive earthquake in the next 30 years. The only thing they can do is prepare

Japan's fantasy films act as a buffer against the reality of the natural world

How you can help make a difference: 

Earthquake Relief - UNICEF

Earthquake Relief - Red Cross

Global Giving

Hispanic Federation

Puerto Rico Earthquake Relief Fund

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Media from this week's episode:

Japan Sinks: 2020 (2020 Director: Masaaki Yuasa

Summary by IMDB: Japan Sinks 2020: An ordinary family is put to the test as a series of massive earthquakes throw Japan into total mayhem. From director Masaaki Yuasa (Devilman Crybaby), the first anime adaptation of the bestselling science fiction novel by Sakyo Komatsu.


Japan Sinks 2020: Educational Tool and Study of Toxic Nationalism

Gabe Castro

RED: Quotes, someone else's words.

Japan Sinks: 2020 is a heartbreaking anime that cuts to the heart of the effect of natural disasters on people. Adapted from the novel Japan Sinks written by Sakyo Komatsu, the show takes a different approach in covering the natural disaster. Created as a warning of the imminent disasters that await Japan, Kat will explain more in her section, the novel followed scientists and politicians as they grappled with the reality of the impending earthquakes. Similar to Bong Joon-Ho’s The Host, the TV show Chernobyl, or even Godzilla (which counts as an earthquake film), it sought to explore the ways in which a government handles natural disasters. We’ll see in next week’s episode too, that oftentimes people want to delay any hasty reactions to avoid panic from the people and so those sounding the alarm are often gaslit or dismissed.

Does it accurately represent the horrors of a natural disaster?

In an article on NYU Gallatin, writer Naho Sakemi explains the novel’s influence and the differences between the novel and show. Titled, Japan Sinks? – Confluence Komatsu’s novel was a timely piece that was intended to inform the public of the very real threat of an impending earthquake. He (Komatsu) began writing his story in 1964, which collides with the first science journal publication on sea floor spreading and continental drift, and 1969 was the first article published on plate tectonics. It was only in the middle of the 1970s that the Japanese geological community gradually began to accept plate tectonic theory, and it took another decade for it to become widely accepted. Komatsu’s decision to follow a scientist who is struggling to get government officials to listen and seriously consider the impending disaster is strategic. At the time of publication, it was very likely that many would dismiss or misunderstand the gravity of the situation. Sakemi goes on to explain in the article that, This explains why Komatsu presented Tadokoro as a geophysicist that studied abroad instead of a geologist. In Japan Sinks, Tadokoro was laughed at by the cabinet members and other Japanese scholars, and the only reason they do not entirely dismiss his idea is because he must be “smart” since he is recognized by the U.S. science community. Japan Sinks presents real-life conflicts and differences in scientific understanding. In terms of the general public’s understanding, Japan Sinks must have played a huge role in spreading the knowledge of plate tectonics through millions of copies sold and viewed in theaters. All of this it to say that it does accurately represent the horrors and was even intended as a tool for informing the public about the natural disaster. Unlike most natural disaster media, where the science and the actual event take a backseat to the people-focused plots - the book and the many adaptations that followed intended to do both. Show us the truth of what lurks beneath our feet and explore the effects on humanity.

What is this film trying to teach us about humanity?

Japan Sinks: 2020 decides to ignore the higher-ups completely and instead focuses on a specific family fighting to survive. In an article on the Asahi Shimbun titled, In 2020 reboot of 'Japan Sinks' the disaster is no longer the star by Atsushi Ohara, the director Masaaki Yuasa said this about the decision to change the story’s protagonists. "The original novel confronted Japan with fear at a time when the country was living it up. But now, after we experienced the 2011 earthquake, the fear is real," Yuasa said. "So I thought I should portray how people think and live in a world where Japan has sunk, instead of taking an omniscient point of view."

"I thought it would be realistic when people have no time to accept the deaths of their loved ones and have no choice but to flee from the spot, feeling the sorrow and fear that comes afterward," the director said.

Through their experiences, we get to see the heart of the issues that arise from natural disasters but also truly understand the fear and anxiety that comes with fighting to survive in moments like this. As viewers, we are forced to experience the events alongside the Mutos and live in similar constant anxiety, never knowing who will survive or if the decisions our protagonists make are the right ones. There are some truly harrowing events that take place in this show that rocked me. I was capital S T R E S