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Okinawa Identity

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Hanna Wrenn

on 6 November 2012

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Transcript of Okinawa Identity

Okinawa Identity Hanna Wrenn Okinawan Identity Today on the Islands The "Other" Okinawans Okinawans in America Okinawans in Brazil A Minority within a Minority
Amerasians in Okinawa Political Language Music and Song Ethnicity Ryukyu Kingdom Okinawa-Japan
Relations Today The Battle of Okinawa History 1429 -1879
Shuri Castle and capital built with Chinese hierarchical court as model
Chinese tributary
maritime and trade - rise and fall
1609: Mainland invasion and occupation
"dual subordination"
1879: formal annexation March 26 - June 23 1945
130,000-140,000 civilian deaths - 1/4 population, more than Japanese and American soldiers combined
Villages, communities and agrarian foundation destroyed
1952 Treaty: Okinawa fall in direct control of US (vs UN)
Resurrection of the Ryukyu spirit under US rule
Movement for reversion Ethnicity has the goal of setting ethnic boundaries
through differences in speech action and cultural elements Language oppression
Language death and revival
development of Uchinaa-Yamato Guchi and Okinawan approximation of Japanese pitch accent
Use of Uchinaa guchi in radio, television and speech competitions Kina Shoukichi and the Champloose US Occupation:
pro Japan reversion
Late 1960s - 1970s Reformists
- pacifism (anti-US military bases)
- Okinawan Identity (local autonomy)
- economic recession and increased unemployment (78)
1978 - 1990 Conservatives
- pro US military
-pro Self-Defense Force
-pro national government
-1984: increase of infrastructure, tourism and development
-destruction of nature (development vs environment)
1990 - present Reformists
- criticism of US military & Japanese use of Okinawa as shield
-want economic improvement
-deregulation to increase international trade Issei Identity Labeling 1429 present 1879 1951
Ryukyu Kingdom Japan U.S. Japan Strategic Location expendable Different
perspectives Post war Japan
Contain Communism Development of brothels
and cafes Development of Amerasian School of Okinawa (ASO) Amerasian children from illegitimate relations Application of post-war stereotypes onto modern day Amerasian children
> bullying
>lack of success US military in Okinawa Nazuke: collective actions of labeling by others
Nanori: self-ascription of identity Rich history and culture later becomes a source of pride for Okinawans Textbooks Social Distance Military Economy local issues continued military presence post reunification
2012 Japan-US agreement to slowly move military on Okinawa to Guam According to a survey conducted in May, while mainland discrimination still remains, Okinawans are the least discriminated against among minority groups. since 1982's domestic controversy over the Ministry of Education's censorship, a larger portion has been dedicated to the Battle of Okinawan in many minor textbooks Post reunification growth
continues to be poorest prefecture in Japan
loose property laws
Mainland businessmen often take advantage of naive locals Japanese government inaction/indifference to local issues in Okinawa
Girl raped by US military
Environmental concerns •87.5% Okinawans felt it was “reckless battle which sacrificed countless Okinawan lives” •“willing self sacrifice of national subjects to the state”. suspicions of treachery •Compulsory group suicide. Kill for shelter.
Confiscate food. Avoid combat – many soldiers survive. more positive image of Americans than Japanese since they did not meet up to stories and often gave natives food and medical aid Japanese use Okinawa as bargaining chip to gain own independence in 1952 subjugated people who were being liberated musician, poltician
70's 80's "folk rock"
local and international activist
White Ship of Peace Tour 1998 several waves of popularity of Okinawan music, bringing it to mainstream audiences throughout Japan Use of both Uchinaguchi and Uchina-Yamatoguchi Form of expression: war, Americans military presence, oppression, daily life, environmental concerns, identity language preservation and learning "Okinawa Boom" spread and popularity of culture, music and cuisine How well do I know the sea of this island I was born on?
The coral reef that becomes polluted, the decreasing fish,
I don't know what to do.
But I know more than anyone, covered by the sand,
rocked by the waves, this sea that slowly changes.
It cannot be shown on TV, it cannot be heard on the radio
The important things should be right here
That is the Islander's [Okinawan's] Treasure.
~Begin Shimanchu nu Takara That day, lashed by the iron rain
My father died
In the summer sunshine

I dreamed of being held in the arms
Of the father I did not know
In the summer sunshine

~Moriyama Ryouko Satoukibi Batake The Deigos bloom profusely, calling the wind, the storm is here
Over and over the sadness crosses the island like the waves
In the forests of sugarcane we meet
Under the sugarcane we say goodbye for a long time

Oh island song, ride the wind with the birds and cross the sea
Oh island song, ride the wind, taking my tears with you

~The Boom Shima Uta -Japanese govt authorities in brazil
-Brazilians of yamatoonchu descent
-Brazilians of other ethnic backgrounds
-Self-ascribed identity Kenjin 1908: emigration due to poverty and overpopulation – 325/781 Okinawan
Hard life on plantations – tension and problems
Japanese officials differentiate and blame Okinawans (“Chinese”)
1926: Kyuyo (Okinawan Sun) Association – fight to subsidize Okinawans emigrants
Eradication of ‘primitive’ practices and new culture shaped in Brazilian context
Fourteen Points of Mutual Agreement (1926)
Try to become Japanese and Brazilian
Revolution of 1930 increased Brazilian nationalism Kyuyo Asoociation Fourteen Points of Mutual Agreement (1926)

We should not go out wearing Okinawan-style Japanese clothes.
We should not carry children on our backs.
We should not expose our bodies to others, especially to foreigners.
We should do our best not to go about barefoot.
We should eliminate the habit of drinking, singing, and raising a ruckus when a baby is born.
As far as possible, we should adopt Brazilian-style lodgings and give up the practice of sitting on matting with our legs crossed.
As much as possible, we should speak either in normal dialect [Japanese] or in Portuguese. We should refrain from using Okinawan dialect especially in front of Japanese from other prefectures.
We should dedicate ourselves to interacting with Brazilians and other foreigners.
When burying the dead, Brazilian memorial customs should be followed and all the appropriate paperwork taken care of.
We should give up the habit of blindly trusting the words of others. We must take great care with regards to this because it is this habit that has led us to foment strikes and run away from the agricultural lands where we were contracted to work.
We must work for the public good.
We must dedicate ourselves to patience and remain in one place.
We must not be led astray by the small temptations that confront us.
When meeting new migrants, people living in cities should refrain from boastful words. The vast majority of city dwellers do not really know what plantation life is like, their boastful language thrusts deeply into the minds of the newly arrived migrants visions of endless work and paltry remuneration on the plantations and results in the continuous stream of runaways. Colonia-jin Uchina-Burajiru jin - Post World War 2 - many decide to become permanent residents and increased unity
- Colonia (settlers) jin (people): term used by mainland descendants gives more permanent feel rather than temporary workers
-Okinawans attempt to assimilate with Japanese
-"nihonjin" in katakana used to describe Japanese immigrants and Brazilian descendants
- Greater division of Japanese in Japan and Japanese in Brazil than Okiawans and mainland Japanese in Brazil
- Discriminatory terms still used behind backs but become less acceptable in public -1970s: Brazilian Uchinanchu identity
-Movement in to cities, fill diferrent niches:
Okinawans: fruit and vegetable vending, seamstressing, construction.
Mainland Japanese: laundry business and grocery owners.
Resurgence of discrimination from urban residential and social ‘communites’
-Use of song, dance and music to construct sense of communal solidarity
-Create hybrid culture drawing on elements of traditional Okinawan culture and Brazilian
-Highlight Okinawan values of ichareibachodei (brotherhood), yuimaaru (cooperativeness), respect for elders and gentleness
-New economic stability and success (more Okinawan politicians elected than Japanese)
-Draw similarities between Okinawan and Brazilian cultures favoring Okinawans over mainland immigrants Nisei Kibei Nisei Shin Issei discrimination by Japanese
desire to become Japanese
desire children to learn Japanese English dominant
females speak Japanese more
loss of linguistic and cultural ties Asian American
little to no Japanese/Okinawan
increased interest in learning about own language and culture as stigma dies out in 21st century born in Hawaii, return to Okinawa for schooling (20s, 30s), return to Hawaii
live through poverty and hunger
strong identity and pride of culture
familiar with Okinawan customs and mentality
speak Okinawan dialect and Japanese fluently
can speak Japanese better than Japanese nisei
discrimination from Okinawan nisei
start Okinawan community in Hawaii arrive in US in 1960s and 1970s
similar to Kibei, fluent in Japanese
exposed to English and speak to some degree
Pride in being Okinawan
conflict with elder issei - mentality gap
not encounter harsh persecution and discrimination as issei
want children to learn Japanese to be proud of heritage Sansei+ 1972
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