Barricade

Barricade

Kazuo KITAI

Publisher: Harper's Books

The year 1968 proved the turning point in the history of the [Japanese] student movement. Prior to this year, leadership was held by radical political parties like the Zengakuren. There were constant political struggles among the membership. Then after 1968 a party of ordinary students took over, the Zenkyoto, or All Student Union, and gained the ascendancy throughout Japan. They demanded that the authorities democratize the universities. Many students went on out on strikes and built barricades. They shut themselves up in their universities. Those were the days when radical student protests against the Vietnam War were being held all over the world. I manned the barricade at Nihon University’s Art Department for four months and took pictures there. I didn’t subscribe to any political creed. I was just a photographer. Living with the protesters inside the barricade, I took pictures of their everyday life. One week passed, then another, and then another… Over time the space within the barricade became the students’ home. There were desks, chairs, clothes hanging on lines, graffiti-covered walls, hung-up umbrellas, clothes hanger, tubes of toothpaste, hair brushes, telephones, supplies of stones to throw at the police, piled-up two-by-fours for use as weapons, agitation brochures, shoes, gloves, and household objects scattered on the ground.

Keywords: Protest Documentary

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