Disaster Education Based on Legitimate Peripheral Participation Theory

A New Model of Disaster Science Communication
  • Takuya IwahoriEmail author
Part of the Integrated Disaster Risk Management book series (IDRM)


It is often suggested that disaster education should not be a one-way knowledge transfer from disaster experts to non-experts, but a bilateral interaction between the two sides. In this study, the authors propose a new framework for disaster education based on legitimate peripheral participation (LPP) theory, in which disaster experts and non-experts interact very closely to remove the barriers between the two sides. Specifically, the present study introduces two practical research methods for disaster education. The first is an attempt to convert a seismological observatory into a disaster science museum with collaboration between seismologists (experts) and volunteer staff (non-experts). The second is an endeavor to involve elementary school children in cutting-edge seismological research by installing a miniature seismometer at their school. As a result, volunteer staff at the museum formed a new identity in joint practice as semi-experts who mediate between experts and non-experts. Although the schoolchildren did not reach a definite stage as successfully as did the volunteer workers in the museum project, through this research, both the seismologists and the children realized what they had not shared, and this marked a starting point for further risk communication. The results are discussed from the perspective of LPP theory.


Disaster education Legitimate peripheral participation Community of practice Science communication Seismology 


  1. Abuyama Open Museum Project (2011) Leaflet of first special open house for public information (not published)Google Scholar
  2. Fujigaki Y, Hirono Y (2007) Science communication theory. University of Tokyo Press, Tokyo (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  3. Iwahori T, Yamori K, Miyamoto Y, Shiroshita H, Iio H (2017) Disaster education based on legitimate peripheral participation theory: a new model of disaster science communication. J Nat Disaster Sci 38(1):1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kano M (2017) Outline of Citizen’s challenge for decrypting old documents about historical earthquakes. Rep Kasama 63:53–56 (in Japansese)Google Scholar
  5. Kumamoto K (2011) The great East Japan Earthquake in reality is not “unexpected.” Tsunamachi Mitakai Club (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  6. Lave J, Wenger E (1991) Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation (Japanese version: translated by Saeki, Y. Sangyo Tosyo 1993). Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  7. Nielsen MA (2013) Reinventing discovery: the new era of networked science. Princeton Univ PressGoogle Scholar
  8. Nogami T, Yoshida F (2014) Disaster myths after the great East Japan disaster and the effects of information sources on belief in such myths. Disasters 38(2):190–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Okada N, Tao Y, Kajitani Y, Shi P, Tatano J (2011) The 2011 Eastern Japan great earthquake disaster: overview and comments. Int J Disaster Risk Sci 2(1):34–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Shiroshita H, Yamori K (2011) Participatory disaster management learning built on the theory of legitimate peripheral participation. J Disaster Res 6(2):258–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Takagi K (1999) Identity construction in legitimate peripheral participation theory. Bulletin of the Center for Educations of Children Overseas Tokyo Gakugei University 10:1–14 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  12. Takenouchi K, Kawata Y, Nakanishi C, Yamori K (2014) Collaboration on local weather information between weather forecasters and weather information users. J Nat Disaster Sci 35:67–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. The Japan Times (2004) Derailment mars shinkansen safety myth (Nov. 19, 2004) Accessed 6 Dec 2016
  14. Yamori K (2012) Improving disaster risk communication: a paradigm shift in disaster information research. Minerva Shobo, Kyoto (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  15. Yamori K, Suwa S, Funaki N (2007) Dreaming disaster education. Koyo Shobo, Kyoto (in Japanese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations