yonaoshi – the cleansing disaster

In japanese culture, disasters are commonly interpreted as a call and chance for renewal. The then governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara published a statement only two days after the Tsunami of March 2011 calling “the disaster a punishment from heaven because Japanese have become greedy. […] We should avail of this tsunami to wash away this greed. I think this is a divine punishment. ” Shintaro was a controversial figure, an extreme right-wing politician, but also a popular literary author and former film maker. He later apologized for the statement and in 2012 resigned as governor of Tokyo. Still, this concept is quite popular among Japanese who are also very much accustomed to natural disasters. It is called yonaoshi (世直し) which translates as world renewal or great revolution.

Sources from: Christian Rumrich, Sichtbares und Unsichtbares, in: Mensch. Natur. Katastrophe. Von Atlantis bis heute. Mannheim: 2o14

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