Notice: The Japanese Red Cross Society materials are temporarily unavailable as we prepare for exciting, new updates to the archive.

About JDA

A project of Harvard University’s Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, the Japan Disasters Digital Archive (JDA) is an evolving, collaborative space for citizens, researchers, students, and policy makers, and a site of shared memory for those most directly affected by these events. The digital archive is an advanced search engine for archived materials from all over the web, individuals’ testimonials, tweets, prominently including content from international partners who are building digital repositories about the disasters. The site not only facilitates searching of materials, but allows users to create curated collections and interactive presentations on topics of interest to them. Collections and presentations can be shared publicly and enhance the value of the various items accessible through the archive. The archive also features an innovative map feature that visualizes all materials that are tagged with geographic information in real time.

The JDA project relies on the support of partner organizations around the world to supply digital contents, including websites, tweets, video, audio, news articles, and much more1. The JDA does not store copies of the data; rather it seamlessly links to digital materials archived by partner projects, allowing you to search, view, and sort items across separate archives and collections in one interface. This page provides information on the general infomation of the project. For information on how to use the archive, please visit the "How to Use" page. Also more infomraiton on how to contribute information to the archive, please visit the “How to Contribute” page. You can find more information about JDA at North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources's website

1 Conceptual Diagram of the Japan Disasters Digital Archive Project




Below is a conceptual introduction to the Japanese Disasters Digital Archive, prepared in March 2015 on the fourth anniversary of the disaster.

Musical credit: "Senbazuru" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under CC: By Attribution 3.0



The Japan Disasters Digital Archive's core missions are:

  1. To index, preserve and make widely accessible the digital records of the events of March 2011 and their aftermath, as well as other disasters
  2. To provide a public space of information sharing, collaboration and conversation for citizens, researchers, students, and policy makers
  3. To serve as a site of shared memory for those most affected by these events and most concerned about their consequences

The archive actively solicits user submissions of resources such as websites, videos and photographs, and user testimonials about personal experiences of the disasters and their aftermath. Thus, the archive is an interactive space encouraging, and indeed thriving on, user participation.


  • Browse, annotate and visualize digital records
  • Build and share collections
  • Contribute reports, photos, videos, links, etc.
  • Create and share narratives (Waku)

Connect and Explore

The archive aims to foster new connections, both between items and among users. As they move from item to item and collection to collection users encounter an ever-expanding network of fellow archivists, from the major organization that submits thousands of location- and direction-tagged photographs to the fellow citizen who submits her family's testimonial to the historian who seeks to understand the interaction of public and private actors in the relief effort.



Using the Map 

The Japan Disasters Digital Archive (JDA) MAP has two modes of display.  

HEAT MAP DISPLAY:  When there are more than 250 items displayed on the portion of the map that is visible on your screen, the geo-located items in the archive are displayed as a heat map. This provides users a broad view of the relative distribution and concentrations of items in the archive. If you filter your search by keywords, the heat map will show you the distribution and concentration of items on a specific topic, in the area you are looking at. This can be helpful to understand which issues are significant in which regions.  

CONTENT DISPLAY:  When fewer than 250 items are visible, they are displayed as red dots. In some cases, there are multiple items for the same location, so a single dot will give access to all those items.

To view a specific item, place the cursor over the relevant dot and left-click your mouse.  That will open the title of the item. A second left click opens the full item. You can drag and drop the items into a Collection directly from the map.

OTHER FEATURES – MAP ZOOM:  You can zoom in to a specific area either by using the +/- buttons on the upper left-hand corner or (and highly recommended) you can create a box around any area on the map and immediately zoom to that area.  To do this, place the cursor over the area where you want to zoom in. Then, press the shift key and left click on the mouse to draw the box.  When you unclick, the map zooms into the boxed area.  

OTHER FEATURES – DATE & TIME SLIDER: You can also specify a date and time range for a map search using the time slider in the upper right corner of the map.  You can add any of a wide array of layers (tsunami inundation zone, cumulative radiation, etc.) by clicking on the tile icon next to the time slider.

Please note that only archived items with geo-location metadata are displayed on the map.

Development of the Map

Creating a map that can immediately display and refresh over one million items is a technical challenge.  We are grateful to the following organizations and individuals for their assistance in creating and maintaining the map:  Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) at Harvard University, especially Ben Lewis, Merrick Lex Berman, Ray Kameda, and Steve McDonald; Ariel Nunez and  Lennin Suescun, formerly of Terranodo and now with Pienda Labs; and Greg Van Laar and Aaron Crootof of ADK Group in Boston.

The map has been developed using two open source mapping platforms, MapBox and OpenStreetMap, as indicated in the lower right corner of the map.  
Bodies of water, such as the Sea of Japan, are named in accordance with the conventions of the International Hydrographic Organization.


The Japan Disasters Digital Archive would not be possible without our partners. The JDArchive stores some materials itself, including tweets, testimonials, full-text English news articles, and news headlines, but also links to a large number of items such as archived websites, photos, videos, audio, and more. In all cases, this content is provided by both our users and partners, and we aim to bring together material from these various digital archives in one search interface that provides access to all of them at once.

Not all partners are digital archives; others have created maps and instructional guides for the JDArchive. Our partners are thus a crucial part of our effort to provide and add value to digital content related to Japan’s 2011 disasters. Please learn more about our partners below.


311 Memories (National Institute of Informatics) 

From online news (Yahoo! News) the 311 Memories project collects articles related to the disasters of March 11, 2011, and uses computer analysis and visualization to present a "quiet moving chronology" in order to look back at the flow of time after the earthquakes. 311 Memories has contributed hundreds of thousands of news article headlines to the JDArchive.

All 311 Comprehensive Archiving Project

Collaborating with citizens and local governments affected by the disaster as well as research institutions, universities, NPOs, volunteers, and commercial companies, 311 Marugoto Archive offers an e-community platform to support disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts. The project aims to restore and regenerate a memory of the lost past by offering digitization of memory while recording the recovery process and valuable information resources produced in the process for future disaster education, disaster prevention and research as a whole.

Asahi Shimbun AJW  

The Asahi Shimbun AJW (Asia and Japan Watch) is the English-language digital version of The Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper. AJW offers in-depth coverage of Japan, China, Korea and other Asian nations. International scoops, in-depth analyses and features, plus daily news and many Op-ed articles constitute a highly useful news package. AJW also prides itself on its exhaustive coverage of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, massive tsunami and ongoing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. It also offers extensive coverage on cultural trends and fashion as well as the latest in the world of anime and manga. The JDArchive contains thousands of full-text English news articles on the disasters from Asahi Shimbun AJW.

Fukushima Nuclear Accident Archive (FNAA)

FNAA, developed and operated by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), aims to support the scientific research and development activities toward the recovery from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Accident. In this system, Internet information on Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Accident and oral presentation information at academic conferences etc are gathered and organized by taxonomy.

The Great East Japan Earthquake Archives Fukushima  

The purpose of the Great East Earthquake Archives Fukushima is to index, preserve and make accessible the records of the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011 and the aftermath in Fukushima. This archive is a collaborative project by organizations such as Fukushima Prefecture, Fukushima City, Keio University Graduate School, The Department of Media Design, Infocom, Hakuhodo and The Japan Research Institute Limited.

Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis

The Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) at Harvard University was established in 2006 to support research and teaching of all disciplines across the University with emerging geospatial technologies. The Center's goal has been to work with entities across the university to strengthen university-wide geographic information systems (GIS) infrastructure and services; provide a common platform for the integration of spatial data from diverse sources and knowledge from multiple disciplines; enable scholarly research that would use, improve or study geospatial analysis techniques; and improve the ability to teach GIS and spatial analysis at all levels across the university. CGA has developed and powers the map view of items in the JDArchive.


Built on the Google Maps and Google Earth APIs, HyperCities Sendai provides active digital media space with Twitters and has accumulated interactive communications on the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake Disaster along with geographical data. Hypercities has contributed hundreds of thousands of tweets related to the disasters to the archive.

Internet Archive

The Internet Archive, is a digital library founded in 1996 with the mission of universal access to human knowledge. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public. The web content that is part of the Digital Archive of Japan's 2011 Disasters is captured and archived using Archive-It, a web archiving service from the Internet Archive. Archive-It allows institutions around the world to harvest and preserve collections of web content and create digital archives. The Internet Archive holds tens of thousands of websites related to the disasters for use in the JDArchive. You can here and also here

Japanese Red Cross Society

The Japanese Red Cross Society has collected, processed, and analyzed information related to relief activities in Fukushima following the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, and made this content available through the Red Cross Nuclear Disaster Resource Center Digital Archives in October 2013.  Records, documents, photographs, and videos are featured in the digital content.

Kahoku Shimpo Disaster Archive 

In March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Disasters caused grave damage to our Furusato (hometown). As one of the oldest local newspaper companies in the disaster-stricken area that has been distributing papers to Tohoku region since 1897, Kahoku Shimpo participates in the “2011 Great East Japan Disasters Archive” national project in order to pass down the story of this “millennial-scale” disaster to future generations. Kahoku Shimpo Disaster Archive was launched in 2013 with technical assistance from the International Research Institute of Disaster Science at Tohoku University. Our archive collects, preserves and organizes not only newspaper articles and photographs we have published but also photographs and video footage that the local residents have generously contributed.. It is our wish that our archive be shared widely and that it aid in the generation of the stories and lessons learned from the disasters in 2011. Moreover, we hope to create an archive that is easy to use for all those who might utilize the records for disaster prevention and mitigation purposes.

metaLAB (at) Harvard

metaLAB (at) Harvard is a hub for innovation in the arts, media and humanities hosted at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The lab is founded on the belief that some of the key research challenges and opportunities of the new millennium, not to mention crucial questions about experience in a connected world, about the boundaries of culture and nature, about democracy and social justice, transcend divisions between the arts, sciences, and humanities; between the academy, industry, and the public sphere; between theoretical and applied knowledge. metaLAB (at) Harvard has been a major partner in the conception and development of the JDArchive since its inception.

Michinoku Shinrokuden 

As the leading national university in the region, Tohoku University in 2011 launched a digital archiving project on the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake Disaster. Collaborating with the government, industry, and academe, the project aims to build a comprehensive archive on disasters in the region, with a broad spectrum of memory, records, case studies. It aims to record the recovery and rebuilding process of the disaster and to disseminate information on a near real-time basis. The Michinoku Shinrokuden project contains a variety of ways to display photographs and other digital information about the disasters, with a special focus on innovative, interactive maps. Tohoku University has contributed tens of thousands of photographs from the Michinoku Shinrokuden project to the JDArchive and plans to contribute about 100,000 photos by the summer of 2013.

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources (NCC)

NCC provides access to information from and about Japan to support teaching, research, and general education. NCC’s website ( is a distribution hub for online resources and a platform for global collaboration. NCC has developed and hosts a detailed online guide to the JDArchive and its use.

National Diet Library of Japan 

The National Diet Library (NDL) was established in 1948 as the only national library in Japan. Under a system of comprehensive submission of works published within Japan, the library's collected materials are preserved for the long-term as a national cultural heritage. The NDL uses its collections to offer its service to the National Diet, the judiciary, administrative agencies, and the Japanese people. The NDL also collects and archives a wide array of websites and other digital materials. In 2002, the NDL began harvesting selected websites with the permission of website owners. Following an amendment to the NDL Law, the NDL began harvesting all government websites in April 2010, including the websites of local governments affected by the disasters in Eastern Japan. The JDArchive contains thousands of websites harvested in the NDL's web archiving efforts related to the disasters.


NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), Japan’s only public broadcaster, introduced a radio service in 1925 and a television service in 1953. NHK is financed by the receiving fee paid by each household that owns a television set. This system enables the Corporation to maintain independence from any governmental and private organization, and ensures that the opinions of viewers and listeners are assigned top priority. More details: NHK is presenting a series of TV programs and and a digital archive service which collects testimonials of many eyewitnesses and news clips of Japan's March 11th, 2011, disasters. The JDArchive contains hundreds of news broadcast videos created and hosted by NHK in their digital archive.

Sakura on Project 

The Sakura on Project regards the discovery, reorganization, and creation of every "story" as a great value looking toward the future. Within this, using the planting of cherry trees (sakura) as one tool, it produces a program and location for the important, long-term cultivation of the "stories" of both participants' own as well as the areas they encounter. As a digital archive, it records, edits, transmits, and preserves growth and broadening of the "new multiplicity of stories" born from this effort, for a better future. The JDArchive contains a variety of materials from the Sakura on Project, including photographs and videos of their activities with accompanying descriptions.

Sendai Mediatheque 

In view of the belief that the disaster relief effort can be supported by information dissemination and that records of the disaster can be priceless assets for the future, Sendai Mediatheque (SMT), one of the cutting-edge information centers in Japan, is leading a unique disaster recovery archiving project. In collaboration with citizens, experts, and SMT staff, this archive project focuses on recording the recovery and rebuilding process from the disaster while disseminating thoughts and information through various media, such as images, photos, sounds, and text. Sendai Mediatheque has contributed a number of video and audio segments to the JDArchive.

Tokyo Foundation 

The “101 Voices from Tohoku” Project (Hisaichi no Kikigaki 101) documents the lives and experiences of people affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in their own words. This project, employing a unique interviewing style called kikigaki, was launched in July 2011 jointly by the Tokyo Foundation and the Kyouzon no Mori Network, an NPO dedicated to promoting sustainable lifestyles. Over the course of a year, 47 interviewers—members of the two groups, along with students and other project members—visited 101 people living in evacuation centers and temporary homes to conduct one-on-one interviews. These accounts are told entirely in the first person and have been transcribed verbatim (in the local dialect). Focusing on people’s work, family life, and community activities prior to the March 2011 disaster, they also serve as an important archive of information on community life in areas whose historical records were washed away. They not only provide insights into how lives should be rebuilt in tsunami-affected areas but also prompt those of us who were not affected to reflect on the way we live our lives and the values we hold, and could shed new light on the essential qualities of our society.The JDArchive contains hundreds of full-text Japanese interviews with disaster victims conducted by the "101 Voices from Tohoku" Project.

Urayasu Disaster Archive

As part of the “Urayasu City Reconstruction Project,” the Urayasu Disaster Archive was launched in 2015 with the following purpose: (1) To document, preserve, and draw lessons from the Great East Japan Earthquake, (2) To promote disaster preparedness education in schools, and (3) To support emergency disaster planning for the larger public.

Yahoo! JAPAN 

This site is a damaged photo recovery project by Yahoo! JAPAN. Easy to use various ways of search, one can search by keywords, geographical points (e.g., latitude, longitude), time period (pre-disaster, post-disaster), type, prefecture, and community. Yahoo’s recent release on their free-of-charge API platform to access Yahoo Photo Archiving Project on the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami March 11th 2011 may lead to a more collaborated image archive development for open access to society. Yahoo! JAPAN has contributed thousands of photographs of the disaster region to the JDArchive.

Hidenori Watanave (Great East Japan Earthquake Archive)



This project is led by the Edwin O' Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University 


Project Director: Andrew Gordon, Professor of History

Project Manager: Ryo Morimoto, Postdoctoral Fellow


Japan Digital Research Center, Fung Library, Harvard University

Japan Digital Scholarship Librarian:  Katherine Matsuura


Reischauer Institute Faculty and Staff providing additional support

Faculty Director: Mary C. Brinton, Professor of Sociology

Faculty: Theodore C. Bestor, Professor of Anthropology

Executive Director: Gavin H. Whitelaw

Associate Director: Stacie Matsumoto


Interaction Design and Development Project

JDA Site Design and Development: The ADK Group, JDA Case Study

JDA Heatmap Development: Terranodo

Interface Developer: Jessica Yurkofsky, metaLAB (at) Harvard


Content Development

Digital Content Lead: Koko Howell

Web Seed Curation: Momoko Howell


Team Alumni

Nick Kapur: Project Manager

E.J. Bensing: Project Technical Lead

Molly Des Jardin: Archive Development Manager

Konrad M. Lawson: Project management

Yuhki Yamashita: Project development and design

Kyle Parry: Educational Design Coordinator

Kazuko Sakaguchi: Librarian, Documentation Center on Contemporary Japan

Theodore Gilman: Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies

Arne Brasseur: Project development 

Jesse Shapins: Zeega Platform design and development

Hikari Senju: Interface Developer

Kara Shen: Interface Developer

Luis Filipe Brandao: Zeega Platform design and development

James Burns: Zeega Platform design and development

Kara Oehler: Zeega Platform design and development

Joseph Bergen: Zeega Platform design and development

Selena Kim: Interface design

Eric Dinmore: Collection curation

Julie Zhang: Interface Developer

Kyoko Shiga: Web seed and testimonial curation

Ray Kameda: GIS data curation

Takamasa Nunogaki: Web seed curation

Alicia Zhao: Web seed curation

Yeonjoo Kim: Web seed curation

Ilsoo Cho: Web seed curation

Miho Segal: Web seed curation

Grace Song: Web seed curation

Sandy Xu: Web seed and testimonial curation

Atsuko Yamashita: Web seed curation

Rei Yoshimine: Web seed curation

Taisei Wake: Web seed curation and SNS promotion  

Kae Nakahashi: Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture: Web Seed Curation

Yumiko Takeda: Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture: Web Seed Curation

Kanami Ohno: Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture: Web Seed Curation

Maho Yanagisawa: Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture: Web Seed Curation

Mao Kuroda: Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture: Web Seed Curation

Rie Suzaki: Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture: Web Seed Curation

Honoka Hatano: Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture: Web Seed Curation

Natsumi Yasuda: Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture: Web Seed Curation

Maika Shimizu: Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture: Web Seed Curation 

Mizuki Hosoda: Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture: Web Seed Curation

Erika Kishi: Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture: Web Seed Curation  

Sarah Bush, Simmons College: Web Seed Curation

Corinne Curcie: Project Technical Lead

Alex Horak: Technical Lead

Zahra Mahmood: Interface Developer

Harnek Gulati: Interface Developer

Rebecca Chen: Interface Developer

Annie Lin: Interface Developer

Tyreke White: Interface Developer 

Javier Cuan-Martinez: Interface Developer

Steve McDonald: Heatmap Developer: The Center of Geographical Analysis, Harvard University 

Anna Wada: Digital Content Developer


Please direct inquiries to