Shinjuku, Tokyo 1968: Media Panics, Nonconformists, and the Play of Politics

A Lecture by William Marotti, Associate Professor of History, UCLA

By 1968, the area around Tokyo’s massive Shinjuku Station had become a site for conflict over visions of the future. The Japanese government sold international investors on the city’s first designated skyscraper zone while moving millions of commuters—and millions of gallons of jet fuel for American air bases—through the station on a daily basis. Around the station, a growing youth culture lived and imagined a different future via tent theater, street performance, guerrilla folk music, and conspicuous idling. Targeted by media panics, undercover cops and riot police alike, these youth nonetheless created a space of possibility and even revolution against demands for conformity and collusion with the Vietnam War.
William Marotti is an Associate Professor of History at UCLA and author of Money, Trains and Guillotines: Art and Revolution in 1960s Japan. This talk draws from his current book project, The Art of Revolution: Politics and Aesthetic Dissent in Japan’s 1968, which analyzes cultural politics and oppositional practices in Japan, with particular emphasis on 1968 as a global event.

Comments are closed.