April 12, 2011

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University will host "Japan's Response to Crisis: A Panel Discussion on History, Religion, and People in Japan" on Tuesday, April 19, at 5 p.m. in Coleman Hall, Room 221.

The discussion, which is free and open to the public, will provide a scholarly analysis of the crisis reaction from historical, cultural and religious perspectives. The discussion also will feature photos, eyewitness accounts and family experiences.

Elizabeth Armstrong, associate professor of East Asian studies, will moderate the panel.

Jim Orr, associate professor of East Asian studies, will offer a historical perspective on the situation in Japan, helping to understand how the 1923 earthquake and the nuclear bombs at the end of WWII have shaped the current day responses to this national tragedy.

James Shields, associate professor of comparative humanities, will discuss the religious aspects of Japanese life and how that impacts responses to crises and this disaster in particular.

Mizuki Takahashi, post-doctoral fellow in biology, will share news from his family in Tokyo and discuss the formation of the local Susquehanna Valley Japanese Community, a group that is providing support to one another and raising awareness and funds for disaster relief.

Kyoko Breczinski, a member of SVJC, will speak about what it has been like to be so far from family during the unfolding disaster and share reports from Japan.

Bucknell junior Anna Uehara, president of the Bucknell Japan Society, will share observations from Kota Suenaga, a Bucknell student currently on leave in Japan. A resident of Sendai, Suenaga's entire family has been displaced, their home and business destroyed by the tsunami.

On March 11, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off the coast of Japan and lasted for six minutes. It triggered enormously destructive tsunami waves of up to 124 feet that struck the coast minutes after the earthquake, traveling up to six miles inland. This is considered one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900. The devastating loss of life has been exacerbated by severe structural damage to roads, railways and buildings. In addition, explosions at three nuclear reactors have put the region at risk from radiation leaks.

Co-sponsors of this panel discussion include the Bucknell Office of Civic Engagement, East Asian Studies, the Japan Society and the Susquehanna Valley Japanese Community. For more details, call 577-3973.

Contact: Division of Communications