After filing the dissertation in June, I was able to spend more time in western Tokyo to meet other people who actually participated in the Sunagawa Struggle. Part of my post-dissertation research included re-interviewing some people and talking with journalists who have been reporting on the Japanese government’s recent moves to reinterpret Article Nine of the constitution. Enomoto Tetsuya, the chief of the Tachikawa bureau of The Tokyo Shimbun, has been writing a lot about the connections between the Sunagawa Struggle (and the 1959 Supreme Court case it spawned) and present moment, where many in Japan are troubled by both the expansion of American bases in Okinawa and what is seen as a more aggressive willingness to send the Self-Defense Forces into wars abroad.
Mr. Enomoto and I have kept in touch since this summer. On November 6, he published a short article on my dissertation project and, in particular, my belief that the Sunagawa Struggle was of global significance because it was a movement that was able to humble the U.S. military at a historical moment (the 1950s) when bases throughout Japan and Okinawa were undergoing massive expansion projects
Shimada Seisaku was a member of the Tachikawa city council from the late 1960s until the early 1990s. He was and continues to be an important fixture among the anti-base community in western Tokyo. Here he is after speaking about the significance of the Sunagawa Struggle at a gathering hosted by a group called Koganei Peace Action (こがねいピースアクション). It was great to meet the person whose work featured prominently in Chapter Four of my dissertation!