SOAS Japan Research Centre - Annual Lecture - Conflicting and Complementary Demands after a Disaster

Helen Macnaughtan's picture
Conflicting and Complementary Demands after a Disaster: The Different Faces of Remembering the JL123 Crash
Guest Speaker:  Dr Christopher Hood (Cardiff University)


This event is sponsored by the Meiji Jingu Intercultural Research Institute and is the 10th Annual Meiji Jingu Lecture at SOAS.


Date: Wednesday 4th October 2017  Time:   18:00

Venue: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, Brunei Gallery Building, SOAS University of London, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG

Type of Event:  Academic Lecture  (followed by drinks reception at 7:45pm)


The event is free and open to all but registration is essential to guarantee a place.  Please register at:


Further Details:


The JL123 plane crash of 12 August 1985 remains the world’s largest single plane crash. 520 of the 524 passengers died in the crash in the mountains of Ueno-mura in central Japan. Over thirty years on, there is much, and seemingly increasing, interest in the crash; there have been two novels, both of which have been dramatized, numerous documentaries and books, and more and more visitors are going to the crash site, Osutaka-no-One, each year. The anniversary of the crash is always covered extensively by the media, in part, it seems, as it fits in to a time of year when remembrance stories are sought after and due to the crash’s association with the Obon festival of the dead. Yet, for the families of victims, the crash also remains personal as their grieving process appears to continue. But, at the same time, they are looking for ways to ensure their loved ones are not forgotten by others. This paper explores the various conflicting and complementary demands surrounding the memorialisation of JL123 and in particular focusses upon the dynamics which saw the museum at one of the memorial sites, Irei-no-Sono, being significantly upgraded in 2015.


Speaker Biography

Christopher Hood is a Reader in Japanese Studies at Cardiff University. His research interests revolve around issues relating to transportation in Japan, particularly the shinkansen ('bullet train') and aviation. He is the author of Japan: The Basics (2015), Osutaka: A Chronicle of Loss in the World's Largest Single Plane Crash (2014), Dealing with Disaster in Japan: Responses to the Flight JL123 Crash (2012), Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan (2006), and Education Reform in Japan: Nakasone's Legacy (2001). He was also the editor of the four volume collection The Politics of Modern Japan (2008), co-editor of Doing Business with the Japanese (2003) and author of the novel Hijacking Japan (2017). He is currently the President of the British Association for Japanese Studies.