East Asia in Action| Contentious Performance and/as Public Address: Notes on Social Movement Rhetorics in Post-Fukushima Japan

Satoru Aonuma


This article discusses the reemergence of plebian social movements in contemporary Japanese society. After a period of hibernation, demonstrations and rallies have again become part of Japanese political life. From a participatory critical-rhetorical perspective, the article addresses issues concerning the practice of such critical public communication by taking a close look at verbal and extraverbal dimensions of the following social movement rhetorics: the rhetoric against nuclear power, the rhetoric against the government’s proposal for constitutional revision and hawkish defense policy, and the rhetoric against racist and hate rallies. The article concludes that this reemergence of street politics signifies the rebirth of Japanese public address that deserves serious scholarly attention in the field of international rhetorical and communication studies.


butterfly effect, Japan, participatory critical rhetoric, protest, social movement

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