2018: What Was and Is “1968”?

Quelle:  The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 16 | Issue 11 | Number 6 | May 21, 2018
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus.

What Was and Is “1968”?:   Japanese Experience in Global Perspective
Oguma Eiji

Did the movements of “1968” change societies fundamentally worldwide? This article examines “1968” from the perspective of Japanese history. Japan’s “1968” shared such common elements with “1968” in other countries, as the social background, development of visual media, and progress of modernization. This article investigates Japan’s “1968” in light of the common background and characteristics of the movements in Japan and globally. I conclude that “1968” was a product of the resonance of unrelated phenomena throughout the world, and many evaluations of “1968” confuse the general trend of modernization with the specific influences of the movements.

"1968" is said to be the heart of an era in which new social movements rose up "globally". A book titled 1968 in Europe published in 2008 claimed that “Nobody today seriously doubts that European societies were fundamentally transformed as a result of the events of ‘1968’.”1 In the United States, there seems less of a tendency to emphasize the year 1968 exclusively, noting the rise of the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, the women’s movement and others that transformed society in the course of the decade. I would like to contribute to the discussion of “1968” from the perspective of Japan, drawing on research on the Japanese student and citizen movements in the 1960s. This work was published in a two volume work of 2000 pages 1968 in Japan.2 My previous English language article, "Japan's 1968", investigated the characteristics of Japan’s “1968” and the social background specific to Japan.3 In this article, I would like to reflect on the common features of “1968” throughout the world in light of Japan’s “1968”. ....

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