Based on J. Gaines’ discussion of “political mimesis,” this paper examines
how Japanese television documentaries in the 60s handled the provocative
power communicated by images of struggles arising from protest movements.
Gaines’ theory is often mentioned as an independent documentary methodology
that encourages viewers to take political action. In contrast, this paper focuses
on TV documentaries’ specific treatment of provocative political mimesis
among the various broadcasting circumstances. In this media environment, this
type of biased approach was not easily allowed due to the existence of ethical
regulations such as the “equal time” rule. Consequently, this prompted filmmakers
of the time to create alternative methods for representing political images
in their works. Through this argument, this paper aims to illustrate a historical
change to the 60s documentary media environment under the emergence of
television culture and a new way for documentaries to address political issues.
This paper mostly addresses two themes. The first theme is related to a
dispute concerning NHK documentaries that displayed protests over the Treaty
of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan
（known as the ANPO protests） in 1960. Foreshadowing Gaines’ argument, the
disputers indeed confronted the provocation of these images to manage its
impact within the broadcasting media environment. The second theme is
related to the audio-visual methodologies that were used in a few TV documentaries
with respect to such protest issues around that time. Introducing R. Williams’
view of the history of media, which reveals a socio-technological shift in
communication, this analysis investigates how far the documentary producers
and their approaches inclined toward a broadcasting-style concept and method ology.
The results of this analysis show that almost all of the TV documentaries
that addressed protest issues were commonly produced in accordance with
broadcasting circumstances that put more weight on information distribution
than political agitation. However, these documentaries did not dispel political
mimesis from their representation at all. They used it alternatively together
with dexterous methodologies aimed at spontaneously fostering an understanding
of social issues and political awareness inside the minds of the viewers.