The emergence and forms of social movement activity in Japan roughly paralleled those in Western Europe and the United States, as described by Tilly, McAdam, and new social movement theorists, but Japan took longer to recover from periods of repression in the 1930s and 1970s. The chapter notes strong similarities between the Japanese New Left protest cycle of the late 1960s to early 1970s and its European and American counterparts, but then explores why the ramifications of the repression that ended the cycle in Japan were more severe and long-lasting. The study points to structural features of the post-war Japanese employment system, the closing of mobilization channels for protest in Japanese higher education, and state policies that, combined with negative media coverage, criminalized and stigmatized protest activities. After a long period of abeyance during which the environmental movement plus an invisible civil society of New Left veterans operating in the shadows kept the skills and memories of protest alive, a new generation began to engage in protest in the 1990s. Since the 2011 triple disaster of the Tohoku earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident, both old and new social movements have expanded and innovated.