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Julia Gerster-Damerow

PhD Japanese Studies/Anthropology February 2019

Assistant Professor IRIDES Tohoku University

Kizuna: The dynamics of social ties in post-disaster Japan. Impacts of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Radiation. (Thesis Commitee: Verena Blechinger-Talcott, Birgitt Röttger-Rössler, Urs Matthias Zachmann)

Julia was born in Lindau, Lake Constance in Southern Germany. She did her Bachelors and Masters degree at FU Berlin in Japanese Studies with exchange stays at Chuo University and Sophia University in Tokyo. During her first exchange year the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred which lead to her interest in disaster studies, recovery and the dynamics of social ties in disaster struck regions. In 2013 she joined a reasearch group from Sophia University under the supervision of Prof. David Slater for the project "Voices from Tohoku". In 2016 she began her research stay at Tohoku University. Julia also worked for the Berlin office of the Japanese TV station NHK, organized several Japan related events in Berlin and is currently a member of the management board of a German-Japanese Youth Exchange Organization (DJJG).

Research Interests: Disaster Studies, 3.11 (The impact of the earthquake, tsunami and radiation in Japan), the role of culture in recovery processes, Cultural Institutions, Migration, Food Culture, Social Capital, Japanese Studies,Environmental Studies, East Asian Studies, Cultural Anthropology

Publications in Mass Media


“Sicherheit ist relativ” [Safety depends], Die Zeit Online, 12.3.2017.

„Der Wiederaufbau der Seele beginnt erst jetzt“ [The recovery of the soul begins], Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [FAZ] Online, 11.3.2017.


One year after the Great East Japan Earthquake, Guest Appearance at a Special Talk Show at NTV, a German News TV station. 11.3.2012 (Several short documentaries for the Japanese public TV station NHK)

Presentations at Workshops, Conferences and Symposiums


Kataritsugi, Tohoku University, Tagajo (Speech)

Kataritsugu to kokoro no fukkō” [Passing on experiences and the recovery of the soul]


EAJS Conference, Lisbon


Tohoku University

Rōkaru na shoku bunka to Miyagi-kennai to Fukushima-kennai no komyunitīzukuri e no ekyō” [The influence of local food culture on community building in two towns in Fukushima prefecture and Miyagi prefecture]


Miyagi Voice: Symposium on the recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, Sendai

Kaigai kara mita Nihon no fukkō“ [Japan´s recovery seen from abroad]


GEAS Symposium: Inequality, Social Movements and Poverty in East Asia “Gender Issues and inequality within recovery processes post-3.11”


Joint Summer School by GEAS, Jiaotong University and University of Berkeley, Shanghai, China


EAJS PhD Workshop, Paris, France


“Translocal Matters” Joint Symposium of HU Berlin and University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands “Translocal Spaces and Ankokai: Different imaginaries of Japanese Party in Berlin.”


NAJS, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway “Longing for a place to call home: The furusato-concept and the recovery of social ties in post-disaster Japan.”


VSJF Workshop, Leipzig University (association for Japanese social sciences), Leipzig, Germany


Student´s symposium (FU Berlin): “Reimagining Yuriage: Reconstruction plans in Yuriage.”


Student´s Symposium (FU Berlin): “On the quality of life of senior citizens living in temporary housing”


Telling the World about 3.11 (Tohoku University) About “Voices from Tohoku”