Exploring contemporary Okinawan culture, politics, and historical memory, this book argues that the long Japanese tradition of defining Okinawa as a subordinate and peripheral part of Japan means that all claims of Okinawan distinctiveness necessarily become part of the larger debate over contemporary identity. The contributors trace the renascence of the debate in the burst of cultural and political expression that has flowered in the past decade, with the rapid growth of local museums and memorials and the huge increase in popularity of distinctive Okinawan music and literature, as well as in political movements targeting both U.S. military bases and Japanese national policy on ecological, developmental, and equity grounds. A key strategy for claiming and shaping Okinawan identity is the mobilization of historical memory of the recent past, particularly of the violent subordination of Okinawan interests to those of the Japanese and American governments in war and occupation. Its intertwining themes of historical memory, nationality, ethnicity, and cultural conflict in contemporary society address central issues in anthropology, sociology, contemporary history, Asian Studies, international relations, cultural studies, and post-colonial studies.
Contributions by: Matt Allen, Linda Isako Angst, Asato Eiko, Gerald Figal, Aaron Gerow, Laura Hein, Michael Molasky, Steve Rabson, James E. Roberson, Mark Selden, and Julia Yonetani.