Social Movement Transformations in the 20th Century: Japanese Experience

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 6:00 PM
Room: 418
Oral Presentation
Dai NOMIYA , Graduate School of Global Studies, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan
Makoto NISHIKIDO , Humanity and Environment, Hosei University, Tokyo, Japan
In this presentation we investigate causes and conditions of social movement change in the post-World War II Japan.

Social movements in Japan have experienced tremendous transformations after the World War II.  Starting with the movement surge in the 1950s, Japan witnessed a sharp rise in popular protest in the early 60s, culminating in the peak in late 60s.  After a sharp decline in the early 70s, the entire civil action has stayed relatively calm up to the present.  Japan also witnessed huge transformations in repertoires of contention.  In the 1950s, Japan saw a rise in labor movements, along with anti-capitalist, student, and environmental movements in 1960s. 

   Why did Japan, as non-western democracy, experience such a huge transformation in social movements after the World War II?  Big shifts in quantity and quality of social movements have been recorded in some other countries.  In such cases they often experience huge structural transformations.  The Japanese case, with no structural change during the latter half of 20th century, does not allow us to lay out the same explanation.  Also the shift is not toward a “social movement society.”  Japan seems to have become a society content with what they have.

   We employ both qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate into the causes and conditions for social movement change in the post WWII Japan.  Quantitatively we use event data analysis to identify changes in volume and categories.  Qualitatively we look for cognitive change that involve shift in values and perceptions toward social movements.

Our finding is that change in international politics along with growing global civil society had to do with the change in social movements in Japan.  Also past experience of the 60s may have had a negative effect on the perceptions and motives of the later generations to give rise to social movements.