Death, Modernity and Monuments: The Realities Expressed in the Monuments of the Hanshin–Awaji Earthquake


  • Original Article: “Shi to kindai to kinen koui: Hanshi-Awaji daishinsai no ‘monyumento’ ni miru riariti,”Japanese Sociological Review (2001) 51(4), 412–429.

  • Translation by Yu Fukuda, Graduate School of Sociology, Kwansei Gakuin University.


Many monuments have been constructed to commemorate the Hanshin–Awaji earthquake. If a memorial represents the need to reaffirm one's ties to “a world,” each monument is supposed to provide an image of that “world.” An analysis of the monuments shows that they are greatly influenced by the character of the various organizations and groups that constructed them. Therefore, the monuments almost appear to be linked to the duties or functions of these groups. However, two realities appeared across these organizations. At first, there is a pattern in the monuments to mourn the death of those with whom one in familiar. It expresses a spiritual feeling about death. Second, we often find the word “we” in the monuments. The word “we” expresses reality in a homogeneous space. Although each reality does not correspond to a particular type of group or organization, they cannot be expressed simultaneously in the one monument. The result of the research shows that the two realities are constituted through different means.