Has the 3.11 disaster brought about conservatism in Japan?

Masaki Hata*, Jaehyun Song, Yutaka Shinada

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This study uses survey data to examine empirically the effect of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 on attitudes towards politics. Drawing upon Terror Management Theory, we hypothesize that the earthquake triggered a fear of death in people, thus tilting their attitudes more conservative. Terror Management Theory postulates that exposure to a fear of death activates a psychological self-defense mechanism in people, who try to escape this fear by, for example, excessively embracing culture and building up their own egos. This article examines whether the fear of death triggered by the earthquake caused people in the disaster areas to becomemore conservative through an excessive embrace of political culture. To test this hypothesis, we rely on the Japanese Election Study IV, which provides panel data derived before and after the earthquake. Using this data, we empirically analyze changes in values, liberal-conservative ideology, materialism, and patriotism.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReconstruction of the Public Sphere in the Socially Mediated Age
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789811061387
ISBN (Print)9789811061370
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 31
Externally publishedYes


  • Propensity score matching
  • Terror management theory
  • The great east Japan earthquake Conservatism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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