For many Tokyoites, Shinjuku is inextricably linked with the 1960s and ’70s and with jazz. “There used to be jazz kissa (cafes) everywhere,” says Dug cafe owner and jazz photographer Hozumi Nakadaira. During these decades, the district came to be known as a Mecca for young people and a jazz and avant-garde art haven.

In the immediate postwar period, Shinjuku was an area of black market dealings and multiple red-light districts. Then, in the 1960s, a new generation of young student activists took to its streets to protest against the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons, American involvement in postwar Japan and Japan’s complicity in the capitalist world order.

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