Human-Animal Interaction in Post-Tsunami Japan


  • Hazuki Kajiwara Rikkyo University



This paper explores the interaction between humans and their companion animals after the large tsunami which hit the northeast coast of Japan on 11 March 2011. Interviews, observation and fieldwork were used to assemble ethnographic accounts for 35 owners of companion animals who were assigned to temporary housing complexes where they are still living. A notion of “companion animal first” could be detected in the data.  This way of thinking might be defined as an ethical stance whereby the companion animal is given a very high value or net worth. Since there are few studies on companion animal in Japan at times when large-scale natural disasters occur, this research may contribute to the small but growing amount of qualitative research on human-animal relationships and interaction during and after disasters in an Asian country, thereby adding a sense of urgency to the need for comparative research in this important sphere of social life in most societies.


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Author Biography

Hazuki Kajiwara, Rikkyo University

Hazuki Kajiwara (梶原はづき) is a Doctoral Candidate in the Graduate School of Sociology, Rikkyo University in Tokyo, Japan, and an Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Veterinary Medicine, Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University. Since 2000 she has served as the Convener of the “Pet Lovers Meeting,” a Japanese self-help group for people coping with pet loss. Hazuki has worked as a freelance journalist and a novelist for many years, and has published ten books, including three novels. Hazuki’s research revolves around the varied roles of animals in society, animal rights and ethics, and especially human-animal interactions and relationships during and following a natural disaster.




How to Cite

Kajiwara, Hazuki. 2016. “Human-Animal Interaction in Post-Tsunami Japan”. Humanimalia 7 (2):84-108.