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The dynamic trajectory of the post-reversion ‘Okinawa Struggle’: Constitution, environment and gender

Tanji, M (2003) The dynamic trajectory of the post-reversion ‘Okinawa Struggle’: Constitution, environment and gender. In: Hook, Glenn and Siddle, Richard, (eds.) Japan and Okinawa: Structure and subjectivity. Routledge, London, pp. 167-187.

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Okinawa is often described as an exceptional region of Japan in that it has a strong tradition of residents’ participation, in the form of mass protest, in deciding their political fate. Johnson, for instance, comments that ‘Okinawa ¡s the only Japanese community whose residents have fought for the democracy they enjoy’ (2000: 52). Since the beginning of direct US military rule after the Second World War, the Okinawan people have engaged in numerous protests against the oppression, injustice and humiliation imposed on them by the domineering presence of the US military on Okinawa Island. In the late 1960s, mainland Japanese anti-base activists employed the term ‘Okinawa Struggle’ (Okinawa tõsõ)’ to indicate solidarity with their Okinawan counterparts. In this context the term ‘Okinawa Struggle’ represented one specific component of Japanese popular opposition against the renewal of the Japan-US Mutual Security Treaty in 1970, especially among the radical New Left, the host of leftist and student organizations loosely united by the aim of socialist revolution based on individual action (Takazawa 1996: 10; Ikeda 1997: 98). In Okinawa, however, local activists have used this term somewhat differently. Professor of Okinawan history and anti-war landowner Arasaki Monteru defines the expression ‘Okinawa Struggle’ as the lineage of ‘people’s movements’ (minshù undõ) against the marginalization of Okinawans’ interests and voices, from the end of the Second World War to the present (Arasaki 1997: 166-80).

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Routledge
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