The International Journal of Restorative Justice

Article

Imagining a community that includes non-human beings

The 1990s Moyainaoshi Movement in Minamata, Japan

Keywords restorative justice, community, environmental damage, spirituality, Japan, the Moyainaoshi Movement
Authors Orika Komatsubara
Author's information

Orika Komatsubara
Orika Komatsubara is working under a Research Fellowship for Young Scientists from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). This study was supported by Grant Number 20J00091. Contact author: orika1982@gmail.com.
  • Abstract

      This article offers a vision of a community that includes non-human beings. After suffering environmental damage, a community is often harmed and confused. Restorative justice may have the potential to intervene in divisions with a community approach. However, though environmental damage affects both human and non-human beings, restorative justice typically concerns itself with human communities. Therefore, through a review of the literature I consider what non-human beings mean for a community, focusing on the Moyainaoshi Movement (MM) in Minamata, Japan, in the 1990s. This movement aimed to reconstruct the community after severe, long-term pollution. First, I examine the motivations of several stakeholders that worked to reconstruct the Minamata community in the 1990s. Second, I clarify the role of non-human beings in the vision of community as practiced by the MM. I find that non-human beings served as symbols to connect human beings within the community. Finally, I conclude that a vision of a community that includes non-human beings can propel community reconstruction in our current political realities, and I reveal that in studying this concept of community in restorative justice, listening to victims’ voices is of paramount importance.

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