Night and Fog in Japan , Nihon no Yoru to Kiri? is a 1960 Japanese film directed by Nagisa Oshima. It is an intensely political film both in subject matter Zengakuren opposition in 1950 and 1960 to the AMPO Treaty and in thematic concerns such as political memory and the interpersonal dynamics of social movements.
In 1948 the Zengakuren was formed, mobilizing Japanese students against the 1st AMPO treaty with the United States. This is the time period detailed in flashbacks, during which Nozawa, Nakayama, Misako, Takao, and Takumi were active. At the time, the Zengakuren was dominated by the Japanese Communist Party, represented in the film by the dogmatic leadership of Nakayama. Although resistance to the treaty failed in 1950, a new generation of student activists in 1960 challenged its renewal with massive street demonstrations, which once again ended in failure. This is Misakos generation, and the demonstrations covered by Nozawa. The Zengakuren of this period tried to assert its independence from the Japanese Communist Party, and subsequently fractured into several organizations that continued to retain the name. Night and Fog in Japan, with extensive political dialogue peppered with Marxist rhetoric, tries to make sense of political defeat and the reconciliation of these two generations. Although the marriage of Nozawa and Reiko seems to suggest the possibility of reconciliation, Nakayama looms large as the imposition of forced forgetting and the denial of reflection in favor of Party orthodoxy. Director Nagisa Oshima clearly was critical of Stalinism and the failure of political reflection. This pessimistic assessment pervades the film Oshima had been involved in, and sympathized with, student movements himself, especially in the portrayal of personal motivations in political movements.For its time, Night and Fog in Japan was amazingly daring, formally and politically. Oshima received the funding and creative latitude as part of Shochikus strategy of promoting films by several young directors they called the ShochikuOfuna New Wave. Three days after it was released, the film was abruptly pulled by the studio in the wake of Japanese Socialist Party politician Inejiro Asanumas assassination by far right student Otoya Yamaguchi. In a blistering statement, Oshima pro