“I look up as I walk,
So that the tears won’t fall,
Remembering those spring days,
But I am all alone tonight.”
– “Ue o Muite Arukou,” lyrics by Rokusuke Ei, 1961
Signed on Sept. 8, 1951, the Security Treaty Between the United States and Japan – along with the San Francisco Peace Treaty of the same date – wholly disarmed Japan while allowing the United States an optimal military foothold in Asia. Encapsulating postwar relations between the two nations, the documents dismantled the Japanese war machine, leaving the United States in sole possession of Japan’s defenses.
Nearly ten years later, discussion turned to a new Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan – commonly known as Anpo – in 1959. The treaty granted the United States continued military presence in Japan. Early drafts of the new agreement were spearheaded by then Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi of the Liberal Democratic Party in Nov. 1959, and introduced to a National Diet suspiciously devoid of opposition. Kishi’s actions along with Anpo itself, inspired mass protests. Demonstrators were greeted with police resistance on the steps of the National Diet Building in Nagatachou, and approximately 500 people were injured.