The story of Japan’s forgotten radical 1968. The analysis of May ’68 in Paris, Berkeley, and the Western world has been widely reconsidered. But 1968 is not only a year that conjures up images of Paris, Frankfurt, or Milan: it was also the pivotal year for a new anti-colonial and anti-capitalist politics to erupt across the Third World, a crucial and central moment in the history, thought, and politics of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Japan’s position—neither in “the West” nor in the “Third World’—provoked a complex and intense round of mass mobilisations through the 1960s and early ’70s. Although the “’68 revolutions” of the Global North—Western Europe and North America—are widely known, the Japanese situation remains remarkably under-examined globally. Beginning in the late 1950s, the New Left, independent of the prewar Japanese communist moment (itself of major historical importance in the 1920s and ’30s), came to produce one of the most vibrant decades of political organization, political thought, and political aesthetics in the global twentieth century. In the present volume, major thinkers of the left in Japan, alongside scholars of the 1968 movements, reexamine the theoretical sources, historical background, cultural productions, and major organisational problems of the 1968 revolutions in Japan.
Contents include: Revolution and Retrospection, by Gavin Walker; On the Japanese ’68, by Hiroshi Nagasaki; The Ethics of the Agitator: On Hiroshi Nagasaki’s The Phenomenology of Politics by Yoshihiko Ichida; The Perception of Violence, the Violence of Perception, and the Origins of Japan’s 1968 by William Marotti; ’68 and the Japanese Women’s Liberation Movement by Setsu Shigematsu; 1968 and the Postwar Regime of Emperor-System Democracy by Hidemi Suga; The Japanese Communist Party since 1968: Between Revolution and Reform by Yoshiyuki Koizumi; Human Liberation or “Male Romance”? The Gendered Everyday of the Student New Left by Chelsea Szendi Schieder; The Undercurrent of Art and Politics in the 1960s: On Gendai Shichōsha by Yoshiko Shimada; 1972: The Structure on the Streets by Yutaka Nagahara; Night and Fog in Japan: Toward Another Critique of Violence by Alberto Toscano; and The Post-’68 Conjuncture by Gavin Walker.