Tracing Japanese Leftist Political Activism (1957 – 2017) : The Boomerang Flying Transnational book cover
1st Edition

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

ISBN 9780367641382
Published October 11, 2022 by Routledge
348 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

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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