1969 Photo Contest, News, 1st prize

Toshio Aoi

The Asahi Shimbun

21 September, 1969

Two students are burnt by a petrol bomb during fights with the riot police on the campus of Kyoto University. They caught fire when the police tried to burn down a barricade, which had been built by protesting students. The president of Kyoto University had called the riot police to his campus to evict students from the clock tower and other major buildings, which had been occupied. Two thousand policemen marched into the campus at 6 am, and had cleared all buildings by noon, except the clock tower, where eight students kept the police at bay for more than 24 hours. In the 1960s, Japan witnessed extensive and often violent student protests. An important focus of these protests was the United States-Japan Joint Security Treaty, which was signed in 1960 and renewed in 1970, and in its wake the Vietnam War. At the same time, the student activists sought educational and administrative reforms. They organized petitions, strikes, and mass street demonstrations, and occupied university buildings and other strategic locations. These massive disputes often had a paralyzing effect on teaching and research for months at an end. At the end of the decade, the demonstrations often escalated into heavy violence, as many university administrators resorted more readily to calling in the riot police.

About the photographer

Toshio Aoi

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