I am proud to be part of a great effort to bring this labor of love to life. My friends and colleagues have been on the front line in trying to make sense of the disaster. Here is a joint effort to bring that thinking to the public.
What is Reconstructing 3/11? Perhaps it’s easier to say what it’s not. It’s not a charity project. Amazon takes 30 percent of the $2.99 cover price. The remaining 70 percent is split equally between the nine writers and three editors. That amounts to 17 cents each, per book, before tax. The publisher, the Abiko Free Press, doesn’t take a penny. That many of the contributors are also planning to give their cut to charity is wonderful. But that’s not the purpose of writing this book.
In an earlier age we would have had to rely on the mass media for the first draft of history. Now, we don’t need a newspaper to know the news, or even a publisher to publish books. But we do need people with insight. Our Man in Abiko is just the online persona of an Englishman in Japan. He doesn’t have any more valuable an insight into 3/11 than anyone else, but he is lucky enough to know some people who might. He picked these contributors based on the criteria that they knew or witnessed something he didn’t; and that they were willing and able to share their knowledge. They were tasked with writing 3,000 words on an aspect of the disaster of their choice, in any which way they liked. Our Man and his faithful team then lightly edited for style and clarity. Is this journalism? Is this history? Is this blogging? Is this Proper Publishing? Our Man doesn’t know. But he does know the views expressed here are the contributors’. Any errors that might have made it through to what you see before you now are entirely his own.
There is still massive need in Japan, but it’s not for relief. It’s for recovery. And for that we need understanding. Understanding of where we’ve been so we know where we’re going.
Our Man in Abiko
March 9th, 2012
What the present crisis emphasizes is that Japan’s rebirth lies in the hands of an enlightened and reenergized group of young Japanese leaders and a global community of partners who are willing to be part of efforts to keep the beauty of Japan from fading. I call this effort Global Japan. It is a hope for Japan’s future driven by brave individuals willing to take risks. It is about the reality and potential of all that is good and possible from and with Japan to help change the world for better. It is a big name for a small community. It is about both the inbound and outbound, the flow of people and ideas about and related to Japan.
March 9th, 2012