Japan

Overall, the book Climate Change and Society by authors John S. Dryzek, Richard B. Norgaard, and David Schlosberg was an interesting read, to say the least. A part that caught my attention was Chapter 16 3.3 Endangered Languages and 4.1 Climate Refugees. These particular sections highlighted the idea of cultural loss and displacement and although this probably wouldn’t happen for a long time, the sinking of Japan came to mind.

The reading explicitly mentions the Carteret Islanders being displaced and although they were at “smaller numbers” (2,500 people displaced due to climate change), this made me realize that cultures are being replaced in the entirety. With this is the loss of language, environment, and almost a change in identity. This made me think about a larger island, that being Japan, and specifically, what the global impacts of a huge country with a long, long, history going under would have. This is especially prevalent to me because I am Korean, and historically, Korea has some huge ties with Japan and today, there are always talks between them (not all of them being “good” talks) and I can’t help but wonder Korea without Japan.

Although politically Korean and Japan have not always been the best of friends, we have shares in cultures including entertainment seen in anime (a korean super star is known for saying the line “Nico Nico Nee” from an anime “Love Live”) and KPop (where some extremely popular Kpop groups have very loved Japanese idols and sometimes, KPop groups would even release two versions of the same song; one in Korean, the other Japanese) and other cultural ties including food, way of life (although nowadays, Korea is being more “progressive”), and technology (like, just look at pictures of Tokyo and Seoul – the similarities are very apparent). It is pretty easy to see the connections between the two countries and although Japan of course, has global connections, it is very hard to see Korea specifically, without Japan.

As mentioned before, I do know that Japan (probably) wouldn’t sink for many years (if they ever will), but if for example. they sank tomorrow, I personally, with my love for Japan (enough so I self teach myself the language), probably would feel myself kind of lost, which is strange considering that I am full Korean, born and raised in the US. I can only imagine what it’s like for communities that have already been lost and I guess I can just “appreciate”, how this article articulates the idea that with climate change is a loss of something that affects not just the communities affected, but those around them too. In other words, a global loss.

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