Postwar Japan was rife with polemics. Thick magazines such as Chuo Koron, Sekai and many others that carried in-depth analysis and cutting comment were read and discussed by people of all classes and shades of opinion, left, right and center. Antiwar films of the 1950s by directors such as Kon Ichikawa, Tadashi Imai and Masaki Kobayashi kept Japanese guilt, in its many guises, in the foreground of national debate.
Well, the Japan of grand polemics and a social-conscious culture may be gone, but it is not lost. There are a number of reasons why I believe young Japanese people may be on the verge of creating a second wave of just such a culture.
First, the tragic events of March 11 and the concomitant radiation contamination have catalyzed many young people. I sense it in the students at Tokyo Institute of Technology, where I teach, and at other tertiary institutions. Call it a renewed awareness in themselves and a belief that they should be doing something to redress the pain and ills their country is experiencing.
Continue reading at Conditions are ripe for the volcano of Japan’s betrayed to erupt again