Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Moral panic, Japan: 'Teenage Wasteland' from LIFE magazine, 1964

Amazing set of photos shot by LIFE photographer Michael Rougier in 1964, to accompany an article by Robert Morse on Japanese youth in revolt. In the notes he sent along to accompany Rougier's film, Morse wrote:

A large segment of Japanese young people are, deep down, desperately unhappy and lost. And they talk freely about their frustrations. Many have lost respect for their elders, always a keystone of Japanese life, and in some cases denounce the older people for “for having gotten us into a senseless war.”

The article from Time-Life (no date, but contemporary) on this piece, includes the following observation:

this “lost generation” was not even remotely monolithic. While they might, to varying degrees, have shared a genuinely nihilistic outlook toward their own and their country’s future, the runaways, rock and roll fanatics (the “monkey-dance, Beatles set,” Morse calls them), pill-poppers, “motorcycle kids” — all of these groups, along with innumerable other subsets of Japan’s youth-driven subculture, attest to the breadth and depth of teen disaffection found, virtually anywhere one looked, in 1964 Tokyo.

Michael Rougier—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images 

 Caption reads: A fan (right) and a "Tokyo Beatle," 1964

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