Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

2 - Transnational Turn of Social Activism of Postwar Japan: Focusing on the Shift of Movement Ideology of Japanese Student Activism from the Late 1960s to the Early 1970s

Friday, July 6
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Magnolia, Lower Ground Floor

This study aims to discuss transnational shift of the postwar Japan’s social movements by exploring student activism in the late 1960s. It first examines how the Cold War since the late 1940s shaped a political socialization process of Japanese youth who later participated in the radical student movements in the late 1960s. It then shows that the upheaval of student activism in the 1960s reflected the transnational turn of the Japanese left-wing movements’ ideology, in which people’s orientation became less domestic, more Asia-focused, and more concerned about Japan’s colonial past.


Data from in-depth interviews with former student activists demonstrates two important points. First, during their childhood, the student activists of the 1960s had several experiences in which they accumulated anti-Japanese government and anti-American sentiments, which in turn, let them turn a critical eye to the East Asian Cold War system and Japan’s colonial past and facilitated their activism in the late 1960s. Second, the Japanese student movement of the 1960s was formed through direct and indirect interaction with other Asian countries’ social movements and activists, and those transnational ties led the students to redefine the meaning of their struggle. Student leaders paid special attention to Japan’s former colonies and focused on Japan’s war guilt as one of the issues at campus protests and rallies against the Vietnam War. These findings indicate that we need to turn to the transnational process of the ’60s youth activism within Asian countries to more accurately understand Asian experiences in the 1960s.


Send Email for Ryoko Kosugi


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2 - Transnational Turn of Social Activism of Postwar Japan: Focusing on the Shift of Movement Ideology of Japanese Student Activism from the Late 1960s to the Early 1970s



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