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    Year 1964, Japanese Youth Rebellion.

    Revisiting portraits of rebellious Japanese Youth from the 1964 LIFE Magazine by Michael Rougier.
    Year 1964, Japanese Youth Rebellion.

    In 1964, LIFE Photographer Michael Rougier and correspondent Robert Morse spent time in Japan documenting the youth of that era and the revolt the generation was facing. During this time, the LIFE pair documented incredibly intimate moments and the shocking realities of the Japanese youth and their downward spiral.

    The photos from Rougier depict teens living recklessly in a world that was being controlled by the older generations. From their generational divide, the teens began losing respect for their elders. The teens felt that the war at the tome was unnecessary, and blamed the older generations for the political state of their country. Respect plays a very important role within Japanese culture, the loss of respect meant that the youth were no longer living within the social structure and started revolting by taking on the phenomenons of the Western world. The introduction of rock and roll, opioids and the formations of motorcycle gangs were the outlet for the teenagers to express their distaste for the world they lived in.

    Rougier discovered that the youth of Japan were desperately unhappy and lost. They spoke freely about their frustrations and many of the teens ran away from home to create societies and rules of their own. Rougiers snapped photos intimate moments of the teens high on sleeping pills in jazz bars, at all night parties on Japanese beaches, drunkenly dancing to the popular band “Tokyo Beatles” or moments between couples and motorcycle gangs. Rougier was able to carefully portray the essence of dissatisfaction but also the community and dedication that these teens created for their wild rebellion.