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Japanese Studies Spotlight: Postwar Japan and the New Left: Resources from the University of Hawai'i Takazawa Collection

by Paula Curtis on 2023-01-20T09:52:14-05:00 | 0 Comments

The NCC is collaborating with institutions and scholars to release a monthly series on our blog entitled Japanese Studies Spotlight. These features showcase exciting online collections available to researchers and students in Japanese Studies, introducing the archive or project, describing their contents, and demonstrating how they can be usefully engaged in research or in the classroom. If you are interested in submitting something to the series, please contact Paula R. Curtis, NCC’s Digital Media Manager, at

Patricia Steinhoff, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

The Takazawa Collection of Japanese Social Movement Materials is an extensive archive of Japanese language materials housed in Hamilton Library on the main campus of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Every year, several Japan scholars from all over the world visit Hawai’i to use the collection’s unique resources. The collection contains many different types of items: books, serials, clipping sets, handbill sets, pamphlets, folders of loose materials as they were originally filed, court documents, audio-visual materials, manuscripts, letters, maps, photographs, posters, and artifacts. The collection’s website, designed to support use by non-native speakers of Japanese, is completely bilingual in Japanese and English.

Figure 1. Screencap of the Takazawa Collection homepage.

The bulk of the collection contains primary sources from the many New Left social movements of the 1960s through the 1980s and secondary sources on postwar social movements of the Japanese Left, though it also includes some prewar Japanese materials in its Aihara-Furuya sub-collection. These documents and artifacts comprise a running record of most of the major political and social conflicts in postwar Japan, both domestic and international. They include: conflicts over the American military presence in Japan; Japanese response to the Vietnam war; student movements; citizens’ movements and environmental movements; women’s movements; minority rights movements involving indigenous groups and groups traditionally discriminated against; movements concerning Korean and Chinese residents in Japan and foreign workers; peace movements; labor movements; anti-emperor movements; movements against airport construction and land appropriations; prison reform and anti-death penalty movements; the reversion of Okinawa and other Okinawan movements; movements related to Japanese policy in North and South Korea; and Japanese involvement in liberation movements in the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.

The secondary sources include a collection of books that were widely read by Japanese students during the 1960s and influenced New Left thought, a broad range of books published by and about postwar Japanese social movements, a comprehensive collection of literary and dramatic works inspired by or reflecting upon these social movements, and extensive collections of the news coverage and social commentary published about these movements in the Japanese press and large circulation periodicals. The collection constitutes a resource for research in modern Japanese literature and cultural studies as well as history, political science, and sociology.

While it contains over 2,200 published books, the majority of the collection is small serials, handbills, pamphlets, manuscripts, letters, and other ephemera. Its holdings overlap slightly and complement the Ōhara Research Institute for Social Research at Hōsei University and the Research Center for Cooperative Civil Societies at Rikkyō University. The image above (Figure 1) shows the home page of the Takazawa Collection website. Users can select English or Japanese on the left panel, and the main page is bilingual with links to various parts of the introductory materials.

Sources of the Collection

The collection was donated to the University of Hawai’i in 1993 by the late Takazawa Kōji (1947-2022), an editor, author, and freelance journalist who was a leading authority on the Japanese New Left. In the late 1960s he participated in the student organization of the Second Bund (第二次ブント, Dainiji Bunto), (1965–) and then became involved in producing the Red Army Faction’s publications after it was expelled from Bund in 1969. The first book was a definitive bibliography of Red Army documents with extended excerpts from important statements, Sekigun dokyumento (Sashō henshū Iinkai,1975). It was issued in the name of a Red Army committee that published a small journal called Sashō (Visa). In the 1980s he collaborated with others to publish major books about the New Left (Takazawa et al, 1981; Takazawa and Kurata, 1984; Takazawa et al, 1985) and wrote several books himself (1982; 1983; 1984). In the 1990s he collaborated with several members of the original Bund (1958-61) to edit the seven volume republication of most of the original Bund serials and documents as Bunto Kyōsanshugisha Dōmei no shisō (Hihyōsha, 1991-1999) and continued to write independently during the 1990s (1993, 1995, 1996, 1998). His last book, Destiny (『宿命』Shukumei), won the 1998 Kodansha Prize for Non-Fiction.

Figure 2. (right) Takazawa Kōji

Takazawa was initially introduced to me as a research informant when I began studying the Japanese New Left in the early 1980s. Whenever I was in Japan, I would go to his office in Shinjuku San-Chome, threading my way around bookcases, stacked piles of books and papers, and a photocopier to get to his desk. He lent me materials, introduced me to early Red Army Faction members to interview, and later arranged for my book to be published in Japanese (Steinhoff, 1991). Shortly after that, he told me that he wanted to donate his collection but did not trust that either an academic library in Japan or the National Diet Library would catalog and take proper care of it. I was Director of the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Hawai’i at the time, so I offered it as a home for the collection. After further discussions, arrangements were made for the initial donation. He said that if he was satisfied with how we handled it, more would follow.

I took responsibility for cataloging the materials as a special manuscript collection within the Japanese library collection in a separate bilingual MSAccess database that I designed. Since I am not a trained librarian, I worked with the University of Hawai’i librarians and an archivist to ensure that we included all the fields that would be needed in case the library ever wanted to include the collection’s bibliographic records in the main library database.

In addition to Takazawa’s own extensive materials, the original donation included several sub-collections from other donors that had been given to him earlier. He arranged to have them included in the Takazawa Collection. The original donation has been fully cataloged and the website was created with support from the University of Hawai’i Japanese Studies Endowment and a two year Preservation and Access grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2007, with Takazawa’s strong approval, we accepted a complementary major donation from Shinoda Emiko, the widow of a participant in the original Bund. Shinoda had managed an office for her husband and two colleagues for several decades, and her donation, now called Shinoda-Matsumoto sub-collection,contains extensive materials on Japanese New Left labor activity during the 1960s to 1980s. Takazawa and Shinoda-san came to Hawai’i shortly after the donation arrived, and, along with several Japanese students, we conducted an initial appraisal of the materials, which are still being cataloged.

Over the years, we received several additional installments from Takazawa covering his subsequent research on the Yodogō group in North Korea. He continued to supply us with more research materials when he no longer needed them for his own use, and, when he moved into a nursing home in the fall of 2016, friends assisted with the consolidation of Takazawa’s remaining books and research materials into a storage locker for safekeeping. This would become the final donation of relevant materials in his possession.

Figure 3. (left) Standing left, Shinoda Emiko; right, Karōji Makiko. Seated in front, Patricia Steinhoff and Takazawa Kōji.

In June 2017, I spent several days with a Japanese friend, going through the storage locker, and sent everything that was relevant for the Takazawa Collection back to Honolulu. Coincidentally, the English translation of Destiny (translated by students who worked in the Takazawa Collection and edited by me) had just been published. Shinoda-san, her friend and business partner Karōji-san (the widow of another original Bund participant, and I visited Takazawa in his nursing home and gave him a copy of the book in person (Figure 3).

The web page below (Figure 4) shows all the categories of material in the collection, with the number of items of each type in the initial donation. When fully cataloged, the collection will be about twice the size of the original donation.

Figure 4. screencap of the contents page of the Takazawa Collection website


Visual Materials of the Takazawa Collection

The Takazawa Collection contains many visual materials that are only available for use onsite. For example, the clipping files include a set of scrapbooks labeled “Documents de L’Armee Rouge” [Documents of the Red Army], a very comprehensive file of all Japanese newspaper articles relating to the Red Army Faction.

The clipping seen to the right (Figure 5), buried in Volume 4 of Documents de L’Armee Rouge from Sankei Shimbun December 27, 1972, has a lead story with photo of the arrest of Red Army member Wakamiya Masanori, who ran a ramen shop in the Osaka day laborers’ slum Kamagasaki. The shop also served as a salon stocked with New Left literature where day laborers, students, and activists met together to eat, argue, and plan actions supporting the day laborers who were exploited by the yakuza and police.

Figure 5. (right) newspaper clipping from the Sankei Shimbun of Wakamiya's arrest

Wakamiya was arrested for having planted four crude explosives rigged to explode at a neighborhood police station a few months earlier. Only one of the bombs exploded and it did little damage. Wakamiya was first recruited into political activity through an Antiwar Youth Committee chapter in southwest Osaka (organized by Takazawa Kōji) and later became a member of the Red Army Faction.

While the clipping files and other visual materials may only be used within the collection, the website displays a small thumbnail photo of the cover of all the fully cataloged books, pamphlets, posters, and serials. Clicking on the thumbnail brings up a larger view of the same image. These range from professionally produced covers for published books and commercial magazines to hand-drawn covers of pamphlets and serials produced by young Japanese activists. Each of the serials feature one cover image from the issues contained within. These cover images have been used directly for research purposes, such as a study of symbolic imagery used by the New Left. These images are freely available for viewing on the website, but some may be covered by copyright and thus cannot be reproduced for publication.

Figure 6. screencap of the Books section of the Takazawa Collection website

The image above (Figure 6) shows the results of a first author search on the Author Initial N in English. Each entry includes the item ID at the top, a complete bibliographic citation in Japanese characters and in romanized Japanese, followed by the English annotation. The thumbnail image of the cover is shown at right. Clicking on the thumbnail photo will bring up an enlarged image. The alternating shadows make it easier to distinguish between entries.

Although the bibliographies on the website are organized by item type because of the cataloging process, there is also an index searchable by Japanese name, non-Japanese name, publisher, keyword, and organization, which captures items regardless of type. As a convenience to non-native speakers of Japanese, the index lists are presented in Japanese characters, romanization, and English, and search results are ordered based on the alphabetical or character order that was used in the search. The index search results can also be used to check the Kenkyūsha romanized spellings of Japanese words for use in English publications, and as a bilingual glossary of key terms. The screen shot above is a keyword search on the English letter B, which displays the English version of the keywords in alphabetical order but also shows the Japanese and romanization.

Figure 7. screencap of a keyword search of Takazawa Collection materials

The screen shot above (Figure 7) is a keyword search on the English letter B, which displays the English version of the keywords in alphabetical order but also shows the Japanese and romanization.

One unusual feature of the Takazawa collection is its extensive selection of Japanese translations of foreign works. The prewar ones are in the collection because one of the subcollections was donated by the family of a prewar Japanese translator of some major foreign authors (and also contains his correspondence with the philosopher Gyorgy Lukacs). Such postwar translations of foreign books would normally be thrown out by librarians, but Takazawa recognized their value as books read by Japanese active in social movements, and so they have been preserved. During the 1960s, Japanese translations of western New Left theorists appeared within a year of their initial publication in a western language (see Steinhoff 2016 for research use of these Japanese translations of western New Left theory in the collection).

Using and Visiting The Takazawa Collection

Anyone may apply to visit the Takazawa Collection for academic research purposes at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa in Honolulu, Hawaii. The collection is housed in a locked area on the fourth floor of Hamilton Library on the main Manoa campus of the University of Hawai’i in Honolulu. When the application to use the collection is approved, the librarian will make arrangements for the user to enter the collection area during hours when the library is open, and a staff member of the Takazawa Collection is available to assist you. There is a reading area adjacent to the collection, as well as a copying machine just outside the collection area where staff members can make copies of materials for the machine’s fee of 25 cents per page. As a more economical alternative, there is also a camera stand in the collection for users who bring their own camera to take photos of items for their personal use. If you wish to use the collection for an extended period of time, the Center for Japanese Studies may be able to help arrange for temporary housing at modest cost at the East-West Center adjacent to the campus. Although the collection materials do not circulate, the Japanese librarian can also arrange for photocopies of specific items to be sent via Inter-library Loan for the standard page cost. We hope that many scholars of modern Japan, social movements, and their many global and disciplinary intersections will use the website and visit the Takazawa Collection to make use of its invaluable research materials.


Sashō Henshū Iinkai, ed. Sekigun Dokyumento [Sekigun Documents]. Tokyo: Shinsensha, 1975.
Steinhoff, Patricia G. Nihon Sekigunha: Sono Shakaigakuteki Monogatari (Japan Red Army Factions: A Sociological Tale). Tokyo: Kawade Shobō Shinsha, 1991.
Steinhoff, Patricia G. "Transnational Ties of the Japanese Armed Left: Shared Revolutionary Ideas and Direct Personal Contacts." Chap. 7 In Revolutionary Violence and the New Left: Transnational Perspectives, edited by Alberto Martin Alvarez and Eduardo Rey Tristan, 163-81. New York and London: Routledge, 2016.
Takazawa, Kōji. Heishitachi No Yami [the Soldiers' Darkness]. Tokyo: Marujusha, 1982.
———. Onnatachi No Pyongyang: "Yodogo" Gurupu No Tsumatachi [the Women's Pyongyang: Wives of the Yodogo Group]. Tokyo: San'ichi Shobō, 1995.
———. Rekishi Toshite No Shinsayoku [the New Left as History]. Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1996.
———, ed. Zenkyoto Graffiti. Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1984.
Takazawa, Kōji. Destiny: The Secret Operations of the Yodogō Exiles [English Translation of Shukumei: Yodogō Bōmeishatachi No Himitsu Kosaku]. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2017.
———. Frēmu Appu [Frame-up]. Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1983.
———. Kanbojia, Ima [Cambodia, Now]. Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1993.
———. Shukumei: 'Yodogō' Bōmeishatachi No Himitsu Kosaku [Destiny: The Secret Activities of the Yodogō Exiles]. Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1998.
Takazawa, Kōji, and Kazunari Kurata, eds. Shinsayoku Riron Zenshi, 1957-1975 [Complete History of New Left Theory, 1957-1975]. Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1984.
Takazawa, Kōji, Shiro Sanaga, and Yoichi Matsumura, eds. Sengō Kakumei Undō Jiten [Dictionary of the Postwar Revolutionary Movement]. Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1985.
Takazawa, Kōji, Masayuki Takagi, and Kazunari Kurata. Shinsayoku Nijūnenshi [a Twenty Year History of the New Left]. Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1981.

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