Identity Making in the Age of Globalization
In 1995, an Okinawan schoolgirl was brutally raped by several U.S. servicemen. The incident triggered a chain of protests by women's groups, teachers' associations, labor unions, reformist political parties, and various grassroots organizations across Okinawa prefecture. Reaction to the crime culminated in a rally attended by some 85,000 people, including business leaders and conservative politicians who had seldom raised their voices against the U.S. military presence.
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.
"The thoroughness of Inoue's scholarship is incontestable... Recommended." — CHOICE
"A candid, introspective book... For those verse those versed in anthropology and interested in Okinawa, this is an excellent read." — Arnold G. Fisch Jr., Army History
"An important addition to the existing studies of the contemporary popular struggle of Okinawa." — Miyume Tanji, The International History Review
"Inoue has provided an inspired and activist ethnographic account of how Okinawa took on the pervasive state interests of both Japan and the United States" — David Obermiller, The Journal of Asian Studies
"Through extended fieldwork in a strategic location-the 'developmental twilight zone' of Henoko-and attention to a spectrum of local groups and individuals (both pro-base and anti-base), Masamichi S. Inoue has produced the most nuanced analysis of new articulations of Okinawan identity that I have yet read. Of equal importance, he places the Okinawa case within the emerging anthropology of military zones and base." — William Kelly, professor of anthropology, Yale University
"Having read widely on the issue of military bases in Okinawa, I know of no other study that so fully and insightfully explores the conflict between Okinawans, mainly middle-class individuals with secure employment and those whose livelihoods depend on jobs from projects funded by the central government. The author writes from an acutely intimate perspective." — Steve Rabson, Professor Emeritus of East Asian Studies, Brown University