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Guides to the Digital Archive of Japan's 2011 Disasters: Home

A navigation and reference guide to the Japan Disaster Archive, a digital collection documenting the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011


On Friday March 11th, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck a wide area of the northeast region of Japan, followed by a huge tsunami that inundated the region and flooded the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant. The combined disasters are perhaps the most major event to occur in Japan since the end of World War II.   Since the disasters occurred thousands of voluteers have worked in Northern Japan and groups around the world are donating funds and expertise to assist in the recovery.  NCC is working with organizations in Japan, the US and elsewhere to assist in documentation of the disasters, in data recovery, and in amassing a visual record of the region before, during and after the disasters occurred.  

Related Events

Doing Digital Scholarship in Japanese Studies an NCC a Workshop, November 6-7, 2015, Center for Government and International Studies, Harvard University

Contact Us

For all comments and questions on this webpage, contact Katherine Matsuura at  kmatsuura at fas dot harvard dot edu

Introduction to the Japan Disaster Archive

The Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters (JDA) is an online portal to digital materials documenting the cascading series of natural and man-made disasters that began in Japan on March 11, 2011. The JDA is a partnership of organizations including several terabits of data contained in Internet Archive, photographs archived by Yahoo! Japan, many layers of maps and and videos, tweets collected by Hypercities, testimonials from victims and visitors to the site, and much more. The archive interface does not store copies of the data, rather it seamlessly links digital materials archived by partner projects, allowing you to search, view, and sort items across separate archives and collections.

In addition to being a permanent repository for digital records of the disaster, the archive is an interactive platform for teaching and research, constantly growing through direct user participation. Visitors are encouraged to freely contribute their own material to the archive, and to create individual “collections” of data surrounding a given theme or topic, sharing those individually curated collections with others. The archive seeks to become a collaborative, public space open to all who wish to relate memories, deposit data, teach and learn through the site.  

This LibGuide was created as a window into the Digital Archive of Japan’s 2011 Disasters to help users sift through the many millions of items in the digital collections, by suggesting points of access for students, teachers, researchers, policy makers, and members of the general public interested in specific topics.

As of April 2015, the archive links to:

170,019 images

405 videos 

41 audio files

834,617 tweets

15,536 PDF documents

4,017 full-text news articles

49,777 websites

975 testimonials

730 broadcast videos

253 collections

383,295 news headlines

                                                  A total of 1,459,667 items. 

(numbers are constantly in flux as new items are added to the archive) 

Structure of the Archive

The Digital Archive of Japan's 2011 Disasters (JDA) is built on a network of users and contributors, as well as partner organizations that provide access to their web content. The JDA stores some material itself, including tweets, testimonials, full-text English news articles, and news headlines, but also acts as a portal site that links to a large number of items such as archived websites, photos, videos, audio, and more. We aim to bring together material from the digital archives, both in Japan and the U.S., in one search interface that provides simultaneous access to these diverse resources. Not all partners are digital archives; others have created maps and instructional guides for the JDA. Our partners are thus a crucial part of our effort to provide and add value to digital content related to Japan’s 2011 disasters. 

Click on the image below to expand view. 

Japan Disaster Archive Partner Institutions

Panels, Programs, and Online Presentations


For a list of upcoming programs on the Daishinsai please check the Website of the Reischauer Institution of Japanese Studies at Harvard University. 

Online Presentations

Get Webcasts of Disaster Related Program at Harvard via Vimeo

Listen to the audio Tribute to the Victims of the 2011 Disasters on YouTube

In commemoration of the first anniversary of the disasters in Japan NCC published the first edition of its The NCC Online Guide to Research Access in Japanese Museums, Libraries and Archives (MLAs) (日本研究のためのMLAアクセスガイド) on March 11, 2012.


Read latest updates on the archive on the News Blog, Twitter, and Facebook:


Article links:

Click below to download a handout providing an overview of the JDA, 3/21/14:


Read latest updates on the archive on the News Blog, Twitter, and Facebook:


Article links:

Useful Links

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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