The Red Years: Theory, Politics, and Aesthetics in the Japanese ’68

4064

The Red Years: Theory, Politics, and Aesthetics in the Japanese ’68  (4064)

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Edited by Gavin Walker/Verso/272 pages

 

“The essay in Walker’s The Red Years masterfully show the inscription of an energetic intellectual afterlife in the working-through of a mission to rescue the memory of rebellion’s ruins and reanimate its vanquished possibilities.”
—Harry Harootunian, author of Marx After Marx

 

The story of Japan’s forgotten radical 1968

The analysis of May ’68 in Paris, Berkeley, and the Western world has been widely reconsidered. But 1968 is not only a year that conjures up images of Paris, Frankfurt, or Milan: it was also the pivotal year for a new anti-colonial and anti-capitalist politics to erupt across the Third World, a crucial and central moment in the history, thought, and politics of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Japan’s position—neither in “the West” nor in the “Third World’—provoked a complex and intense round of mass mobilisations through the 1960s and early ’70s. Although the “’68 revolutions” of the Global North—Western Europe and North America—are widely known, the Japanese situation remains remarkably under-examined globally. Beginning in the late 1950s, the New Left, independent of the prewar Japanese communist moment (itself of major historical importance in the 1920s and ’30s), came to produce one of the most vibrant decades of political organization, political thought, and political aesthetics in the global twentieth century. In the present volume, major thinkers of the left in Japan, alongside scholars of the 1968 movements, reexamine the theoretical sources, historical background, cultural productions, and major organisational problems of the 1968 revolutions in Japan.

 

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