Following the March 2011 tsunami and subsequent Fukushima nuclear crisis, the world media remarked with surprise on how thousands of demonstrators had flocked to the streets of Tokyo. But mass protest movements are nothing new in Japan and the post-war period experienced years of unrest and violence on both sides of the political spectrum: from demos to riots, strikes, campus occupations, faction infighting, assassinations and even international terrorism.

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Dissenting Japan: A History of Japanese Radicalism and Counterculture, from 1945 to Fukushima by William Andrews is the first comprehensive history in English of post-war political protest and counterculture in Japan, as well as the artistic developments during this turbulent time. It chronicles the major events and movements from 1945 to the new flowering of protests and civil dissent in the wake of Fukushima. Introducing readers to frequently overlooked aspects of Japanese society, it explores the fascinating ideologies and personalities on the Right and the Left, including the student movement, militant groups and communes. While some elements parallel developments in Europe and America, much of Japan’s radical recent past (and present) is unique and offers valuable lessons for understanding the context to the new waves of anti-government protests the nation is currently witnessing.

Major areas covered:

– Post-war period, including the occupation, Bloody May Day and other incidents
– Anpo (US-Japan security treaty) 1960 protest movement
– Emergence of the Japanese New Left
– Student movement in Japan, including Zenkyōtō, Zengakuren, and the campus movements at the University of Tokyo and Nihon University
– Sekigun-ha (Red Army Faction) and Japanese Red Army
– Radical and militant far-left factions such as Chūkaku-ha and Kakumaru-ha, and interfactional fighting (uchi-geba)
– Sanrizuka (Narita Airport) protest movement
– Anti-war (anti-Vietnam War) movement in 1960s and 1970s, including Beheiren, Anpo 1970 and Okinawa
– East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front
– Ainu activism
– Yukio Mishima
– Japanese ultra-nationalism and the far Right, from post-war to minzoku-ha and New Right, and hate groups
– Avant-garde and underground arts, including 1970 World Expo, Shūji Terayama, Genpei Akasegawa and Hi-Red Center
– Hippies and communes in Japan
– Aum Supreme Truth
– Yasukuni Shrine controversy
– Anti-nuclear power protests after Fukushima disaster in 2011-12