The Pal dissent becomes the Pal myth. How did an obscure document from the Tokyo Trials end up front and center in nationalist discourse in Japan today?
Oe Kenzaburo is about as different a writer as you can think of from Kawabata Yasunari, and yet he’s Japan’s second ever Nobel laureate in literature. What sort of concerns defined his work, and what can we learn from looking at him in conjunction with Kawabata?
We’re wrapping up our look at the Hatoyama political dynasty with some time on Hatoyama Iichiro (arguably Japan’s most reluctant politican) and his two sons Kunio and Yukio. Plus some thoughts on the legacy of the Hatoyama family and on dynastic electoral politics more generally.
Hatoyama Ichiro’s revenge tour culminates in finally reaching the top spot as PM and in the formation of the LDP. What does the torturous road it took to get there tell us about the man, and about the politics of his time?
We’re looking at the implosion of the Japanese New Left with a focus on the factional conflicts of the Zengakuren. How did a student youth movement end up divided into 20+ factions, the two largest of which engaged in a multi-decade war of assassination and street violence against each other? And how might that be connected to the general decline of Japan’s left-wing opposition more broadly?
We’re looking at a very different kind of 60s protest movement: an attempt to build a cross-sectarian, non-ideological movement to oppose the American war in Vietnam. How did the anti-Vietnam War movement emerge in its Japan, and how did it simultaneously grow to a massive size and fail to have any appreciable political impact?
We’re beginning a month on radical activism in the 1960s with a look at the student uprisings of 1968. Today is all about where those uprisings came from, how they’re related to the “two Zens” of the 1960s, and the specific example of the University of Tokyo, where a debate about student medical internships turned into a violent and bloody battle between leftist student groups.
A long-requested dive into the ronin police force known as the Shinsengumi. Who were the members of this group, and how, despite their rather marginal role in the history of the 1860s, have they become one of the most famous organizations in Japanese history?
This week is all about a biography of a fascinating figure of the Meiji Restoration: Oguri Tadamasa. But it’s also about much more: about how the present shapes our view of the past, and about how, as a result, the ways we talk about someone long dead can shift and change as well.
This week: how has the JMSDF gone from an afterthought to a central part of Japan’s security planning? Sources Patalano,…