Disaster Risk Sense in Japan and Gaming Approach to Risk Communication

August 2007 (VOL. 25, NO. 2)

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The aim of the present paper was to identify and describe the three different modes of risk sense that occurred before Japanese society digested and finally accepted the unfamiliar and imported concept of “risk” (or its Japanese translation “risuku”) in the context of natural disaster reduction. These modes were: mode zero, in which the concept of risk was almost absent before the mid-1990s; the first mode, which occurred after the 1990s when the concept of risk became rapidly and widely accepted by linking it with the preexisting concept of “danger,” or “kiken” in Japanese; the second mode, in which, some people highlighted active and participatory risk management processes based on the significant distinction between risk and danger proposed by Luhmann (1991a). Today, another mode of risk sense is needed, to move beyond the limitations of the first and second modes, and to deal with the recurrence of natural disasters we are bound to face in Japan. To deal with such disasters, a novel and promising gaming approach is proposed that entails a new, third mode conceptualization of risk.