JDR Vol.10 No.1 pp. 135-144
doi: 10.20965/jdr.2015.p0135


Filipinos in Japan: Narratives of Experience from the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Ma. Mylene Martinez-Villegas*, Renato U. Solidum, Jr.*,
Hiroshi Inoue**, Hiroshi Imai**, Angelito G. Lanuza*,
Henremagne C. Penarubia*, Melcario Pagtalunan*,
Ma. Lynn P. Melosantos*, Joan L. Cruz-Salcedo*,
Ishmael C. Narag*, Melchor Lasala*, Ma. Antonia V. Bornas*,
Perla J. Delos Reyes*, and Bartolome Bautista*

*Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology – Department of Science and Technology (PHIVOLCS–DOST), PHIVOLCS Bldg., C.P. Garcia Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

**National Research Institute of Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED), 3-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

August 11, 2014
December 22, 2014
February 1, 2015
narratives, disaster education, evacuation, warning

Filipinos who have settled in Japan as residents were interviewed between June to August 2011. The purpose of these interviews was to gather first-hand accounts of survivors about the March 11, 2011, magnitude 9 earthquake that triggered one of the worst tsunami events in Japan’s history. It is important to document what survivors have learned from these events. Considering how infrequently tsunami events occur in the Philippines, lessons from these descriptive narratives could become a valuable information resource for the Philippines population that might experience tsunami-generating earthquakes in the future, especially because first-hand accounts by Filipinos living abroad would be easy for those living in the Philippines to relate to. This documentation has focused on how Filipinos in Japan were affected, what actions they took during the event, their prior knowledge of earthquake and tsunami preparedness, and how they survived and recovered. Important actions highlighting what to do include the following five: (i) attending and taking part in community awareness activities, (ii) preparing emergency bags holding useful items such as flashlights, food and water, and protection against the cold, (iii) using mobile phones, (iv) paying attention to warnings, and (v) relying on multiple information sources such as television, radio, community sirens or public address systems, and local fire units. Although simple, these actions could save lives in critical times. The lessons they teach show what to do and what NOT to do during earthquakes and tsunami warnings. What NOT to do includes the following:
(1) Do NOT panic.
(2) Do NOT return home to pick anyone or anything up, especially if you live near the coast.
(3) Do NOT drive or use a car when evacuating.

Cite this article as:
M. Martinez-Villegas, R. Solidum, Jr., <. Inoue, H. Imai, A. Lanuza, <. Penarubia, M. Pagtalunan, <. Melosantos, J. Cruz-Salcedo, <. Narag, M. Lasala, M. Bornas, <. Reyes, and B. Bautista, “Filipinos in Japan: Narratives of Experience from the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.10, No.1, pp. 135-144, 2015.
Data files:
  1. [1] A. C. Yalciner, C. Ozer, A. Zaytsev, A. Suppasri, E. Mas, N. Kalligeris, O. Necmioglu, F. Imamura, N. Ozel, and C. Synolakis, “Field Survey on the Coastal Impacts of March 2011 Great East Japan Tsunami,” WCCE-TCCE Joint Conference 2, Seismic Protection of Cultural Heritage, pp. 123-140, 2011.
  2. [2] M. Ando, M. Ishida, Y. Hayashi, C. Mizuki, Y, Nishikawa, and Y. Tu, “Interviewing insights regarding the fatalities inflicted by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake,” Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci, Vol.13, pp. 2173-2187, 2013.
  3. [3] R. Sokharbi, “Japan’s megaquake and killer tsunami: How did this happen?” 2011, [accessed August 2, 2014]
  4. [4] T. Ozaki, “JMA’s Tsunami Warning for the 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Improvement Plan,” Journal of Disaster Research, Vol.7, No.sp, pp. 439-445, 2012.
  5. [5] K. Satake, “The 2011 Tohoku, Japan, earthquake and tsunami,” Extreme Natural Hazards, Disaster Risks and Societal Implications, pp. 310-321, Cambridge University Press, 2014.
  6. [6] EERI Special Earthquake Report, “The March 11, 2011, Great East Japan (Tohoku) Earthquake and Tsunami: Societal Dimensions,” 22pp., 2011.
  7. [7] S. Konishimura, S. Hayashi, and H. Gokon, “Lessons from the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake Tsunami Disaster,” Journal of Disaster Research, Vol.8, No.4, pp. 549-560, 2013.
  8. [8] N. Y. Yun andM. Hamada, “Evacuation Behaviors in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake,” Journal of Disaster Research, Vol.7, No.sp, pp. 458- 467, 2012.
  9. [9] M. F. Shah and O. Murao, “Foreigners’ Evacuation Behavior in the Great East Japan Earthquake: A Case of Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture,” Journal of Disaster Research, Vol.8, No.sp, pp. 802-813, 2013.
  10. [10] A. Kawasaki and K. Meguro, “Comparing the disaster information gathering behaviour and post-disaster actions of Japanese and foreigners in the Kanto area after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake,” 15 WCEE, 2012.
  11. [11] M. Henry, A. Kawasaki, and K. Meguro, “Disaster Information Gathering Behavior after the Tohoku Earthquake Part 2: Results of foreign respondents,” Proc. of the 10th Int. Symposium on New Technologies for Urban Safety of Magacities in Asia (CD-Rom), 2011.
  12. [12] M. L. P. Bautista, B. C. Bautista, J. C. Salcedo, and I. C. Narag, “Philippine Tsunamis and Seiches (1589-2012),” Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Quezon City, 110pp., 2012.
  13. [13] M. L. Martinez-Villegas, R. U. Solidum Jr., C. Q. Villanueva, L. R. Del Monte, I. C. Narag, M. L. Bautista, and B. C. Bautista, “Development of Earthquake and Tsunami Preparedness Information, Education and Communication Strategy: The Philippine Experience,” Proc. Int. Conf. on Tsunami Warning (ICTW), 2008.
  14. [14] D. J. Clandinin and J. Huber, “Narrative inquiry,” Int. encyclopedia of education (3rd Ed.), Mew York, NY, Elsevier: [accessed August 2, 2014]
  15. [15] M. F. Connelly and D. J. Clandinin, “Stories of Experience and Narrative Inquiry,” Educational Researcher, Vol.19, No.5, pp. 2-14, 1990.
  16. [16] R. E. Gray, K. D. Fergus, and M. I. Fitch, “Two black men with prostate cancer a narrative approach,” British Journal of Health Psychology, Vol.10, pp. 71-84, 2005.
  17. [17] I. Frid, J. Ohlen, and I. Bergbom, “On the use of narratives in nursing research,” Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol.32, pp. 695-703.
  18. [18] M. Sandelowski, “Telling stories: Narrative Approaches in Qualitative Research,” Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Vol.23, No.3, pp. 161-166, 1991.
  19. [19] C. K. Riessman, “Narrative Analysis,” The Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods, Vol.3, Sage.
  20. [20] Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), “Lessons learned from the tsunami disaster caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and improvements in JMA’s tsunami warning system,” 2013.
  21. [21] V. L. Badillo and T. C. Astilla, “Moro Gulf Tsunami of August 17, 1976, Special Committee on Tsunami Warning System.” National Committee on Marine Sciences, National Science Development Board, Philippines, 35pp., 1978.
  22. [22] PHIVOLCS, “The 15 November 1994 Mindoro Earthquake,” Quick Response Team Report, 1995.
  23. [23] H. W. Fischer, III, G. F. Stine, B. L. Stoker, M. L. Trowbridge, and E. M. Drain, “Evacuation behaviour: why do some evacuate, while others do not? A Case study of the Ephrata, Pennyslvania,(USA) evacuation,” Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol.4, No.4, pp. 30-36, 1995.
  24. [24] S. Samaddar, B. A .Misra, R. Chaterjee, and H. Tatano, “Understanding the Community’s evacuation intention. Development process in a Flood Prone Micro-Spot, Mumbai,” Journal of Integrated Disaster Risk Management, Vol.2, No.2, pp. 1-19, 2012.

*This site is desgined based on HTML5 and CSS3 for modern browsers, e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, IE9,10,11, Opera.

Last updated on Jul. 23, 2019