Specific issues discussed include the Japanese movement to correct history; identity and transationalization in German textbooks; the Vietnam War in high school American History; the teaching of Japan's colonization of Korea in Japanese and Korean schools; Holocaust education for youth in the New Germany; and how American and Japanese educators teach the Pacific War.
The first half of the book examines Okinawa as part of the global, regional and national structures which impose constraints as well as offer opportunities to Okinawa. Leading specialists examine in detail topics such as Okinawa as a frontier region, Okinawa's Free Trade Zones and response to globalization, and Okinawa as part of the Japanese 'construction state', being particularly concerned with how Okinawa can chart its own course. The second half focuses on questions of identity and subjectivity, examining the multitude of vibrant cultural practices that breathe life into the meaning of being Okinawan and inform their social and political responses to structural constraints.
The originality of this book can be found in its elucidation of how the structural constraints of Okinawa's precarious position in the world, the region and as part of Japan impact on subjectivity. For many Okinawans, in the past as now, acceptance and rationalization of their dependency has made them collaborators in their own subordination. At the same time, however, they have demonstrated a capacity to give voice to a separate identity, inscribing cultural practices marking them as different from mainland Japanese.
With ever more fragmented organizations, identities and strategies, Tanji explores how the unity of the Okinawan community of protest has come to rest increasingly on the politics of myth and the imagination.
Drawing on original interview material with Okinawan protestors and in-depth analysis of protest history, Myth, Protest and Struggle in Okinawa will appeal to scholars of Japanese history and politics, and those working on social movements and protest.
Adopting a people-centered view of Japan’s post Cold War history and the US-Japan relationship, the authors focus on the fifteen-year Okinawan struggle to secure the return of Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, situated in the middle of a bustling residential area, from US to Okinawan control. They also highlight the Okinawan resistance to the US and Japanese governments’ plan to build a substitute new base at Henoko, on the environmentally sensitive northeastern shore of Okinawa. Forty years after Okinawa's belated "return" to Japan from direct US rule, its people reject the ongoing military role assigned their islands, under which they are required to continue to attach priority to US strategy.
In a persistent and deepening resistance without precedent in Japan's modern history, a peripheral and oppressed region stands up against the central government and its global superpower ally. One recent prime minister who tried to meet key Okinawan demands was brought down by bureaucratic and political pressure from Tokyo and Washington. His successors struggle in vain to find a formula that will allow them to meet US demands but also assuage Okinawan anger. Okinawa becomes a beacon of citizen democracy as its struggles raise key issues about popular sovereignty, democracy and human rights, and the future of Japan and the Asia-Pacific.
Using this event as a point of reference, Inoue explores how Okinawans began to regard themselves less as a group of uniformly poor and oppressed people and more as a confident, diverse, middle-class citizenry embracing the ideals of democracy, human rights, and women's equality. As this identity of resistance has grown, however, the Japanese government has simultaneously worked to subvert it, pressuring Okinawans to support a continued U.S. presence. Inoue traces these developments as well, revealing the ways in which Tokyo has assisted the United States in implementing a system of governance that continues to expand through the full participation and cooperation of residents.
Inoue deftly connects local social concerns with the larger political processes of the Japanese nation and the global strategies of the United States. He critically engages social-movement literature along with postmodern/structural/colonial discourses and popular currents and themes in Okinawan and Japanese studies. Rich in historical and ethnographical detail, this volume is a nuanced portrait of the impact of Japanese colonialism, World War II, and U.S. military bases on the formation of contemporary Okinawan identity.