Is the '1960s' a useful concept for understanding postwar Japanese history and, if so, what kinds of changes resulted and how might we chronologize the period? This article proposes the idea of a 'long environmental sixties' in Japan stretching from around 1959 to 1973. The article argues that this period marked important milestones in environmental protest, public opinion, and legislation. By the early 1970s Japan had addressed many of its most pressing industrial pollution problems, in the process placating protest, compensating victims, and establishing an environmental leviathan staffed by hundreds of bureaucrats nationwide. Japan's sixties were a moment of social upheaval, transformation, and new aspirations but, as this article shows, the country's long environmental sixties bequeathed a complex legacy, combining new forms of civic engagement with administrative programs and corporate initiatives to carefully manage the human-environment nexus.