1st Edition

Tracing Japanese Leftist Political Activism (1957 – 2017) The Boomerang Flying Transnational

By Kevin Coogan, Claudia Derichs Copyright 2023
    348 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    348 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Tracing Japanese Leftist Political Activism (1957–2017) tells the story of the Japanese Red Army (JRA), a militant left-wing group founded in 1971 which was involved in numerous terrorist attacks.

    It traces the origins of the group in the Japanese New Left in the 1960s and looks at Red Army groups of the early 1970s in Japan, such as the Red Army Faction, and the United Red Army which became infamous for murdering its own members. The book also examines the JRA's trans- and international links with other militant groups including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, as well as the networks of intellectuals and fellow activists who supported them.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of terrorism, radicalism, and Japanese social history.

    PART ONE: TOKYO (1957–1973)

    Introduction: The Boomerang Flying Transnational

    Section One: The Rise and Fall of Student Radicalism

    1. The Birth of the Japanese New Left

    2. The First Bund

    3. Ampo

    4. Zengakuren’s Gangster Shōgun?

    5. Profiling Zengakuren

    6. The Return of Ikki Kita

    7. Icarus Falling – The Second Bund

    8. "Disorganize Tokyo Imperialist University!"

    Section Two: Beheiren

    9. The Riddle of Shunsuke Tsurumi

    10. Voiceless Voices – The Rise of Beheiren

    11. The Intrepid Four

    12. Beheiren’s War

    13. "Destroy from Within"

    Section Three: Red Army

    14. Sekigun!

    15. The Yodogō Hijack

    16. Sixteen Gravestones – Rengō Sekigun

    17. Tsuneo Umenai Declares War


    Section Four: Arab and Japanese Red Army

    18. Slaughter at the Airport

    19. Paris Underground

    20. Takahashi in the Curiel Network

    21. Pyongyang Calling

    22. The Hague

    23. The Stockholm Arrests

    24. Crisis in Kuala Lumpur

    25. Trapping Takahashi

    Section Five: Return to Japan

    26. After Dhaka

    27. O! Japan

    28. Station to Station

    Conclusion: Man of Ghosts


    Kevin Coogan was a veteran investigative journalist. His previous books include Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International (1999) and The Spy Who Would Be Tsar: The Mystery of Michal Goleniewski and the Far-Right Underground (2022).

    Claudia Derichs is Professor of Transregional Southeast Asian Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany. She has published on the Japanese New Left and the Japanese Red Army.

    "Claudia Derichs has gracefully completed the manuscript left behind by Kevin Coogan’s untimely death. It tells a richly detailed story of Japanese leftist political activism that sheds light on neglected connections spanning national, organizational, and chronological boundaries."

    Kenji Hasegawa, Yokohama National University, Japan, and author of Student Radicalism and the Formation of Postwar Japan

    "Studies of the Long Sixties are increasingly transnational in approach and this book is another bold entry in that growing canon. Gleaned from a multilingual array of sources — political publications, previous scholarship, memoirs, reportage, declassified materials, and more — it is an ambitious attempt to pull together the disparate and sometimes astonishing threads of the Japanese Red Army and Beheiren — respectively, perhaps the most notorious and lauded elements of the Japanese New Left — as they intersected through several key intellectual-activists and interacted with other radicals around the world."

    William Andrews, author of Dissenting Japan