Sustaining and nurturing from the ground up: a case study of community-led 保養 (hoyō) recuperation practice in Cairns, Australia

Akina Mikami

PhD candidate, Asia Institute, The University of Melbourne

Abstract

In this paper, I study how community resilience is articulated in the post-disaster recuperation practice of保養 (hoyō) led by Japan-Australia civil society. Community resilience, or the ability of a community to withstand and recover from adversity such as disasters, has increasingly become an ideal to be pursued in the globalising fields of disaster governance. However, in spite of its growing research interest, the problem of resilient community as a new field of research remains largely under-developed both theoretically and empirically. I argue for a place-based capability approach to understand community resilience as translocal practice of sustaining human capabilities. In particular, I focus on the practice of hoyō, which has arguably been one of the most salient expressions of civil society’s place-based practices to sustain and nurture a sense of community especially in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake. Drawing on a case study of a grassroots recuperation program that brings Fukushima youth to spend time in Cairns, Australia, I discuss what is being sustained and nurtured, and how, and its implications on the notion of community resilience. This paper is part of my doctorate research project, which examines how grassroots recuperation practice led by transnational civil society between Japan and Australia articulates alternative notion of community resilience in the wider context of disaster recovery politics in late modernity.