Individualism and collectivism in small-scale fisheries post-3.11 Japan

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: This study examines fisheries affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 to explore how the collectivism appears during the recovery process. Design/methodology/approach: The author questions the context of collaboration after the disaster among independent small-scale fishers in Miyagi by conducting semistructured interviews with more than 50 local fishers with anthropological observations of boat fishing operations and using local documents and statistics. Findings: The corresponding collaboration among the fishers after the disaster is not a mere “disaster utopia,” but is embedded in the socioecological context of fishing. Fishers have developed individual and group fishing. They have institutionalized competitive distribution for sedentary fish with low resource fluctuation, while outcome-equal distribution is adopted for migratory fish with high resource fluctuation. This forms a fishing continuum that connects competitive individualism with collectivism in the community, which has contributed to resilience for disaster recovery. Originality/value: The balance between individualism and collectivism is decisively coordinated in socioecological contexts. The multifaceted resource strategy for maritime biodiversity that features family-based occupational differentiation in a community is crucial for disaster recovery of small-scale fishers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-38
Number of pages13
JournalDisaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar 26


  • Disaster studies
  • Fishing
  • Japan
  • Resilience
  • Tsunami

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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