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Rethinking Resistance in Everyday Okinawa: Diaspora, Transformation and Minor Literature

Tanji, M (2012) Rethinking Resistance in Everyday Okinawa: Diaspora, Transformation and Minor Literature. Asian Studies Review, 36 (1). pp. 105-117.

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The Okinawan people's resistance has come full circle since the uprising of 1995, in which 85,000 residents protested against the rape of a local schoolgirl by three United States soldiers, giving rise to a “third wave” of the postwar “Okinawan struggle” (Tanji, 2006; Arasaki, 2005). The first and second waves of protest refer to a series of mass protests against the forceful land seizure by the US military's “bulldozers and bayonets” for military base construction in the mid-1950s; and subsequently the all-island campaign for reversion to Japan, which eventuated in 1972. The “third wave” of Okinawan protests are generally about demanding safety and human rights for Okinawan people, still neglected under the continuing excessively heavy US military presence. This third wave of protest continues, most prominently against the Japanese government's plan to relocate the Futenma US Marine Corps Air Station, which requires land reclamation from the pristine ocean off Henoko, a seaside hamlet in northeastern Okinawa Main Island. But the spectrum of resistance extends – as it always has – beyond the explicit US military presence. In September 2007, 110,000 Okinawans demonstrated their anger at the central government's history textbook censorship, which eliminated descriptions of the Japanese state and military's responsibility for Okinawan civilian suicides and killings during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, known as the bloodiest World War II battlefield in the Pacific. The 2007 textbook revisions united residents in their anger at the continuing history of Japanese colonialism and discrimination (Tanji, 2010), expressed most audaciously today in the still-operating US Air Station in Futenma and Japan's persistence with its relocation to Henoko (Norimatsu, 2011).

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Copyright: 2012 Asian Studies Association of Australia
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