WATANABE Hitomi 渡辺 眸
University of Tokyo All-Campus Struggle, 68-69 『東大全共闘 1968-1969』
In searching for some information about Japanese student movements of the 1960s 1970s online, I came across this photo of the radical student movements at the University of Tokyo during the late 1960s. The 1960s were an era of great protest, conflict, and ideological questioning among the youth of Japan. Several students groups took over the University of Tokyo, causing disruptions in the operation of this elite school for a year and transforming it into their own space of protest and questioning. Eventually, police finally dislodged them with tear gas, rubber bullets, and riot gear.
The Japan Society describes the final confrontation on one of their webpages.
For many months students had been protesting Japan’s tolerance of perceived US interference in Japan, including American bases in Japan, US involvement in the Vietnam War and the US occupation of Okinawa. After World War two the Japanese government had given little resistance to the will of the US. This university protest was linked to a world movement of protest that had been happening in response to anti-war and anti-government sentiments. The students represented a growing leftist sentiment against the US and the conservative Japanese government. Police fire[d] tear gas grenades at roofttops of Tokyo University, January 18th, during an 11-hour battle that dislodged the radical students who have paralyzed the campus for almost a year.
Part of me wants to see some parallels to the Occupy Wall Street movements, which is producing new energies in the United States and giving rise to a young, idealistic, generation engaging in sorely needed protest for change. I hope that the recent social movements in the United States will help our society to take a good look at itself and consider its inequalities, moral shortfalls, and dangerous, even toxic apathy.
The photo is reblogged from oldworldwisdom.