East Asia’s political scene has become increasingly vibrant in recent years. As youth continue to face various social and economic growing pains in their respective societies, an unprecedented uptick in active political engagement has occurred across the region. In this first part of our three-part series on political engagement, we examine some of the recent happenings in the region by looking at how and why there tends to be negative connotations attached to the idea of student activism.
In this latest episode of The Youth Element, join us as we investigate how a prominent group of students in Japan called SEALDs (Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy) tried to reinvigorate the idea of political participation amongst the younger demographic. We’ll not only examine the group's brief success in shaking up the status quo and dispelling the image of the apolitical generation, but also the idea behind this so-called “political allergy” towards politics and civic engagement.
- Alexandra Harney, Japan's Silver Democracy: The Costs of Letting the Elderly Rule Politics, Foreign Affairs, July 18, 2013.
- David H. Slater, Robin O’Day, Satsuki Uno, Love Kindstrand, and Chiharu Takano, SEALDs: Research Note on Contemporary Youth Politics in Japan, The Asia Pacific Journal, September 14, 2015.
- Daisuke Kikuchi, SEALDs to Disband but Founder says Political Activism Just Beginning, The Japan Times, August 14, 2016.
- Justin Jesty, Tokyo 1960: Days of Rage and Grief, MIT Visualizing Cultures, 2012.
- Linda Seig, Lower Voting Age Leaves Many Wondering 'Where's Japan's Bernie?', Reuters, June 30, 2016.
- Mainichi Japan, Group with Former SEALDs Members Launches, to Focus on Public Political Participation, March 18, 2017.
- Mike Sunda, Nation’s Youth are Attempting to Establish a New Political Norm, The Japan Times, September 26, 2015.
- Naomi Gringold, The Student Group in Japan That's Made it Cool to Protest, PRI’s The World, May 27, 2016.
- Reiji Yoshida and Tomohiro Osaki, Young Voters Hope to Reform Japan’s ‘Silver Democracy’, The Japan Times, July 8, 2016.
- Linda Sieg and Teppei Kasai, Japan Student Group Injects New Exuberance into Anti-War Protests, Reuters, August 27, 2015.
- Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs), Homepage.
Audio and Video Resources
- Brookings Institution, Is Japan a Silver Democracy? Demographics, Politics, and Policy Choices for the 21st Century, Audio Lecture, December 3, 2014.
- Nippon News Net, Japanese Teenage Activists Protest Against Revising Pacifist Article 9, Video, June 22, 2015.
- The Japan Times, Interview with Aki Okuda, one of the founding members of SEALDs, Video, August 14, 2016.