Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




In the 1960's the United States of America witnessed a great and violent rebellion among its college students. Although the majority of the adult population of the United States was amazed and somewhat stunned at the new, active interest students were taking in current social problems they nevertheless tended to ignore the peaceful protests and demonstrations of the students in the early 1960's. The 1964 Free Speech .Movement at the University of California in Berkeley shocked the populace out of their complacent attitudes toward the protests of the students and, for the first time, made the adult population take notice of the students' complaints and outcries.

Since that time, numerous articles and books have been published analyzing the general unrest of the young people today. Basically, two approaches were employed by scholars : the student protest approach and the generational conflict approach. The generational conflict was the earliest approach employed. This approach seeks to explain student unrest in terms of a political and cultural discontinuity which springs from the different historical and societal experiences between young people and their elders. Rather than examining specific demonstrations and protests, the generational conflict approach sees student unrest as an antagonism which stems from the opposition of young people to the values and established institutions of their elders. This approach poses broad questions and ideas which deal with the processes of change in an advanced society and the impact of this change on youth. conversely, the student protest approach attempts to examine immediate as well as cultural, social, and political causes of student activism. Not only does this approach allow for an examination of the total student movement but also the issues which ignite the movement .

Generally speaking, I employ the student protest approach in this paper as it best suits my purpose: a descriptive and analytic work aimed at understanding the causes of student unrest and not primarily a psychological or sociological analysis of student movements. It is my intention to seek the causes of student movement s in two modern nations, Japan and the United States. Both of these countries are technological advanced nations undergoing tremendous social and cultural changes.

I am not unaware of the problems that are often encountered in cross-cultural comparisons. It is easy to assume that there are meaningful similarities in cross cultural comparisons because we think there are similarities. The basic question seems to be this: are there, indeed, any experiences similar enough to say that the basic causes of student unrest in the United States and Japan are the same? I would hypothesize that there are. It is my thesis that student unrest and the causes of student unrest in highly advanced countries are similar. While students may be dissatisfied with the political and social structures of their countries for different reasons, they are all dissatisfied with the same structures within their societies. Therefore, I intend to demonstrate in this paper, my thesis that student unrest and the causes of student unrest in modern countries are similar.

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