The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > News


Postwar student social movements and the future of East Asia

Interactive program with students of Waseda and the National Taiwan University

From July 26th to 30th, the National Taiwan University Department of History and the Waseda University Faculty of Political Science and Economics held a joint interactive program for students, featuring various events such as a field study, debate and campus tour. About 70 people participated, including Waseda undergraduate students and undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty members from NTU.

Debate at the International Conference Center

This program is intended to deepen mutual understanding and promote friendship between Japan and Taiwan through direct interaction among students. Representatives from NTU visit Waseda every summer, and Waseda students visit Taiwan in the winter. During the visit NTU in December 2013, numerous events were held including a lecture on Taiwanese history given by Professors Wan-Yao Chou and Cui-Lian Chen, as well as a guided tour of historical sites in Taipei and surrounding areas given by students.

Greeting at the airport

Lecture at the International Conference Center

Waseda University opened this summer’s program with a welcome party on the first day, followed by a field study of Tokyo on the second day. On the third day, lectures and a debate were held at the Masaru Ibuka Auditorium in Waseda's International Conference Center.

During the morning session, Junior Researcher Hsu-feng Chi of the Waseda University Organization for Asian Studies gave a lecture entitled “The Modern Japanese University as a Contact Zone.” In the afternoon, a lecture and debate were conducted under the theme of “Postwar Student Social Movements,” which is currently of the greatest interest to Taiwanese students. After an overview by Professor Naoyuki Umemori and introductory remarks by Professor Masahiro Wakabayashi, the two speakers took the podium. Associate Professor Takemasa Ando of Musashi University began with a general discussion regarding the appearance of new social movements in East Asia's new post-developmentalism era. He then addressed the gap between social movements and political regimes in postwar Japan; in other words, the historical trend of emphasizing lifestyle improvements rather than political demands. As an example, he analyzed the anti-nuclear power movements in Japan during the late 1980s.

Next, political scholar Chigaya Kinoshita discussed the rise of democratic movements in East Asia during the late 1980s, and the stagnation of social movements in Japan. Dr. Kinoshita postulated that the social movements in Japan since the Great East Japan Earthquake are one opportunity to close this gap. He also discussed how globalization is bringing East Asian countries closer together, undermining existing political, economic and social systems throughout the region. In view of such changes, he suggested the possibility of new social movements which share experience across national borders. During the ensuing debate, students exchanged frank opinions on problems in the representative systems of Japan and Taiwan, as well as differences in cultural movements and engagement of intellectuals in both countries. They also discussed results and issues related to Taiwan's Sunflower Student Movement.

A mixer held at Cafe125

Participants from the National Taiwan University Department of History