Late 1967 witnessed a conjunctural moment in Japan, in which a shift in activist tactics inaugurated a public debate ultimately addressing the legitimacy of force and state violence in support of strategic US objectives, and triggering mass politicization, inaugurating Japan's “1968” experience. At the very moment of this conjuncture, Matsuda Tetsuo, a participating student activist with connections to an activist publishing community, requested an essay from the avant-garde artist Akasegawa Genpei concerning the artist's recent notorious prosecution and conviction for the crime of “money imitation.” Akasegawa's response, “The Objet after Stalin,” not only proved prescient over the precise terms of the then unfolding set of “violent” confrontations but also provided an analysis of the power of aesthetic intervention. This analysis's fascinating parallels with Jacques Rancière's later theorizations point to a common origin in the politics of “1968” and indicate its global dimensions.

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