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The Aftermath of Japan’s Smallpox Epidemic – Online Program

Throughout the course of history, disease outbreaks have been a frequent disruptor across civilizations. In this online program, we examined the aftermath of the smallpox epidemic of 735–737 that afflicted much of Japan and had significant social, economic, and religious repercussions throughout the country. Along with a brief overview of the Nara period, we looked at some examples of art, architecture and poetry to understand how the epidemic left a lasting impact on Japan’s culture and society.

This program was led by former East Asia Resource Center Director Yurika Kurakata, who presented from abroad.  During her time at the EARC, she organized and contributed to numerous Japan related programs.

This seminar was offered at no cost to current, in-service teachers, and was sponsored by the East Asia Resource Center (EARC) in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington with funding from a Freeman Foundation grant in support of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA).


May 21, 2020; 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM PST (Group 1); May 22, 2020; 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM PST (Group 2).

This online program was held on Zoom.


  • Online resources
  • 1 free Washington State OSPI clock hours


Yurika Kurakata was the Assistant Director and later Director of the East Asia Resource Center from 2014 to 2018, when she moved to Singapore for her spouse’s job.  Prior to working at the EARC, she was the Associate Director at the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University where she managed public and student programs on Japanese culture.  She also worked with the late Professor Keene, the renowned Japanese literary scholar for whom the center is named after.   She started her career in education as a Japanese history and Social Studies teacher at a bilingual school outside of New York City.