Social Movements and Political Activism in Contemporary Japan : Re-emerging from Invisibility book cover
1st Edition

Social Movements and Political Activism in Contemporary Japan
Re-emerging from Invisibility

ISBN 9780367889098
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
212 Pages

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Book Description

This book explores social movements and political activism in contemporary Japan, arguing that the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident marks a decisive moment, which has led to an unprecedented resurgence in social and protest movements and inaugurated a new era of civic engagement. Offering fresh perspectives on both older and more current forms of activism in Japan, together with studies of specific movements that developed after Fukushima, this volume tackles questions of emerging and persistent structural challenges that activists face in contemporary Japan. With attention to the question of where the new sense of contention in Japan has emerged from and how the newly developing movements have been shaped by the neo-conservative policies of the Japanese government, the authors ask how the Japanese experience adds to our understanding of how social movements work, and whether it might challenge prevailing theoretical frameworks.

Table of Contents


1. "Towards a New Protest Cycle in Contemporary Japan? Resurgence of Social Movements and Confrontational Political Activism in Historical Perspective" (David Chiavacci and Julia Obinger)

Part I: Fresh Perspectives on Social Movements and Political Activism

2. "The Uneven Path of Social Movements in Japan" (Patricia Steinhoff)

3. "Asia and the Development of Civic Activism in Post-war Japan" (Simon Avenell)

4. "Political Protest from the Periphery: Social Movements and Global Citizenship in Okinawa" (Gabriele Vogt)

5. "Activism for Harmony? Immigrant Rights’ Activism and Xenophobic Activism" (Apichai Shipper)

Part II: Fukushima and Beyond – Towards New Political Culture and Action Repertoires?

6. "Continuities and Discontinuities of Japan’s Political Activism before and after the Fukushima Disaster" (Koichi Hasegawa)

7. "The Post-Fukushima Anti-Nuke Protests and their Impact on Japanese Environmentalism" (Carl Cassegård)

8. "Civil Society Advocacy after Fukushima: The Case of the Nuclear Disaster Victims’ Support Law" (Ayaka Löschke)

9. Mass Media Representations of Youth Social Movements in Japan (Robin O’Day, David Slater and Satsuki Uno)


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David Chiavacci is Mercator Professor in Social Science of Japan at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. His research interest is the economic and political sociology of contemporary Japan.

Julia Obinger is a Visiting Scholar at the University of Oxford, Skoll Centre of Social Entrepreneurship. Her research interests are ethical and sustainable consumption and new forms of political engagement in Japan.