Hiroko Kumaki

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9341

Approve Date

October 5, 2016

Project Title

Kumaki, Hiroko, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Mobilizing the 'Ecological': Disaster Mental Health in Post-2011 Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster Japan,' supervised by Dr.Michael Fisch

Preliminary abstract: Under the name kokoro no kea or ‘care for the heart,’ Disaster Mental Health (DMH) is becoming increasingly normalized and institutionalized in Japan, particularly after the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011. This project proposes an ethnographic study of the ongoing DMH interventions in the tsunami and nuclear disaster affected areas of northeastern Japan. By comparing the two sites affected by the disaster in distinct ways, socially, politically, economically, and ecologically, this project investigates how DMH becomes a point of connection and contention about what consists of ‘healthy’ relationship between human and their post-disaster ecological environments. I suggest that by participating in DMH, policy makers, researchers, practitioners, and the target population are actively reimagining the disaster-affected environment and its relationship to the psychological well-being of the survivors. Thus, the goal of this project is to illuminate the ways in which different actors mobilize knowledges and experiences of the ecological environment in order to configure ‘appropriate’ mental health responses to disasters, and how such responses in turn reconfigure the ways in which physical and psychological well-being becomes articulated and experienced by those who practice or become target of such care. In doing so, I will also trace the ways in which competing ideas and assumptions about the ecology in policy, research, and practices of DMH in the tsunami and nuclear disaster affected sites open themselves up to environmental politics in distinct ways.