SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English
CHO Sojin Meaning of my studying “Zenkyoto” (All-Campus Joint Struggle League)
I have always concentrated on majoring in “Japanology” since my undergraduate. It all started when I heard about J-POP in my second year of junior high-school. And I was interested in Japanese culture. I could not catch the meaning of the words of songs, but I was enchanted by its special atmosphere which was different from Korea and started learning Japanese language by self-educating as watching Japanese movies and dramas. When I entered high school, I chose Japanese language as an elective course because I did not want my passion to learn Japanese language remain just as a hobby. I made up my mind to major in “Japanology” when I would be enrolled at a university. I have grown up from a junior high school student to a university student who have majored in Japanology just listening to J-POP.
When I was an exchange student during my undergraduate period in Tokyo, I could encounter actual “Japan” which I only imagined in my head and wanted to study more about “Japan” at graduate school rather than finding an employment in Korea. As a result, I have encountered “Zenkyoto” (All-Campus Joint Struggle League) which include history of student movement and social movement.
It was the time when I knew a word “Zenkyoto” at a seminar of graduate school in Korea. Theme of seminar was “Japan in 1960s” which was unknown to me. I remember I studied Japanese history at the course “Japanese early and postmodern history” in earnest at my undergraduate age. But I did not learn the history of 1960s. Framework of “Postwar Japanese History” was fixed to until 1950s. Japan in 1960s was explained as “Politics’ Season” and I had an impression that it was succession of various events. I thought Japan in 1960s was only “past” news which were broadcasted hotly rather than “history” which were stated stiffly. Students who lived in 1960s were distressed in society and Japan started getting problems from their universities. In order to express their opinions, they raised objection in form of struggling and I was interested in such points. “Zenkyoto” movement, which occurred in the later part of 1960s successively in universities in Japan, interested me.
Above all, Zenkyoyo in Nihon University interested me the most. It differed from that of the University of Tokyo which belonged to the left-wing series. Students in Nihon University were prohibited to assemble and could not have usual student movements and were very naïve in politics. It is said that they did not know strategy nor tactics of the movement. Despite of such situation, the happening of unaccounted expenditure amounting 2 billion yen by the board of directors triggered Zenkyoto of Nihon University and established their own style which was apart from “sect-like” correspondence. A series of their struggle triggered “Student Power” correspond to “the year of 1968” from appearance of unimaginable “mass”-like existence. The struggle became bigger in its scale and was evaluated as “the barricades of Nihon University are the strongest in the world”. Fresh passion in their behavior were pass on clearly to me who live in the present. “It is interesting!” I thought it was interesting because we cannot find such passion in present Japan at all which is equal to that of Zenkyoto of Nihon University.
Starting with the Japan-US Security Treaty in 1960, student movements were activated in earnest. Zenkyoto movement put an end to the voluntary function of “the youth” or “students” who voiced the democracy. Youths grew up to be adults and students became members of society and formed the generation which could share the memory of experiences of struggles in 1960. We can say that they have looked back upon the memory of “the year 1960”as their “nostalgy”. However, present youths have just conventional image on such memory and it is difficult for them to share sympathy. I think it is causing so-called “generation gap”. Moreover, it may be the reason why they were extinguished from communication among generations because they were labeled as “baby boom generation” or “Zenkyoto generation” through media.
Under such circumstances, I think it is important for the present youth to have contemporaneousness same as generation youth inputting the background and values of “the year 1968”. They can imagine and “understand” the things at that time although they may not be able to “remember”. I think it is necessary for them to practice converting their paradigm gradually having sympathy for their framework of “study” “young” and “students”.
CHO Sojin / 2020 Raccoon, Graduate School of Global Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies,
Translated by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by Sabina Koirala