Islands Of Discontent

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Exploring contemporary Okinawan culture, politics, and historical memory, this book argues that the long Japanese tradition of defining Okinawa as a subordinate and peripheral part of Japan means that all claims of Okinawan distinctiveness necessarily become part of the larger debate over contemporary identity. The contributors trace the renascence of the debate in the burst of cultural and political expression that has flowered in the past decade, with the rapid growth of local museums and memorials and the huge increase in popularity of distinctive Okinawan music and literature, as well as in political movements targeting both U.S. military bases and Japanese national policy on ecological, developmental, and equity grounds. A key strategy for claiming and shaping Okinawan identity is the mobilization of historical memory of the recent past, particularly of the violent subordination of Okinawan interests to those of the Japanese and American governments in war and occupation. Its intertwining themes of historical memory, nationality, ethnicity, and cultural conflict in contemporary society address central issues in anthropology, sociology, contemporary history, Asian Studies, international relations, cultural studies, and post-colonial studies.

Contributions by: Matt Allen, Linda Isako Angst, Asato Eiko, Gerald Figal, Aaron Gerow, Laura Hein, Michael Molasky, Steve Rabson, James E. Roberson, Mark Selden, and Julia Yonetani.

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Editorial Reviews

The Ryukyuanist
The contributors [are] a veritable Who's Who of Okinawan Studies. . . . [The] broad range of subjects, but also the way in which they are successfully interconnected in this one volume, will command a broad readership. . . . Simply put, there is something for everyone here.
Contemporary Sociology
Interdisciplinary in approach but coherent in focus, Islands of Discontent provides a rich collection of ideas and materials to scholars with interests in Okinawa and Japan, as well as an insightful case for sociologists with interests in war, occupation, race, ethnicity, and postcoloniality elsewhere.
Journal of Asian Studies
[A] fine collection of essays.
Chalmers Johnson
Okinawa's brutal history has produced a unique new culture, an Asian example of what Luis Buñuel called Los Olvidados (The Forgotten Ones). This brilliant collection by Hein and Selden tries to ensure that Okinawans will not be forgotten much longer.
Pacific Affairs, Volume 77, No. 4 - Winter 2004/2005 - Keisuke Enokido
This book is a collection of essays that explores the importance of the remembrance and (re) interpretation of historical experiences for Japanese national minorities. Specifically, it deals with the people of Okinawa and their struggle to challenge their marginalized status with Japanese society and reassert their history and culture. The value of this book is its multidimensional approach to Okinawa's cultural/identity politics, and its attention to the diversity of ways in which local politics and culture have in fact emerged. As a whole, this book is successful in systematically presenting the diversity and complexity of the cultural and political movement in Okinawa at the turn of the twenty-first century, especially in the face of national majorities' disinterest toward and inability to recognize the distinctive history of Okinawans and the negative role of the United States military bases on these islands. This book provides a very useful platform for examining the complex tension between the various identities being promoted in contemporary Okinawa.
Journal Of Asian Studies
[A] fine collection of essays.
Tessa Morris-Suzuki
Rich in scope and coherent in its intellectual agenda, Islands of Discontent is essential reading for anyone interested in the present and future of Okinawa, and of Japan as a whole.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742518667
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2003
  • Series: Asia/Pacific/Perspectives Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 330
  • Product dimensions: 0.69 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Hein is associate professor of history at Northwestern University. Mark Selden is professor of sociology and history at Binghamton University and professorial associate in the East Asia Program at Cornell University.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction: Culture, Power and Identity in Contemporary Okinawa
Part I: Making Sense of the Past
Chapter 2: Wolves at the Back Door: Remembering the Kumejima Massacres
Chapter 3: Waging Peace on Okinawa
Chapter 4: Memories of Okinawa: Life and Times in the Greater 'saka Diaspora
Chapter 5: The Rape of a Schoolgirl, Discourses of Power and Women's Lives in Okinawa
Part II: Contemporary Culture, Identity, Resistance
Chapter 6: Medoruma Shun: The Writer as Public Intellectual in Okinawa Today
Chapter 7: Uchinā Pop: Place and Identity in Contemporary Okinawan Popular Music
Chapter 8: Okinawan Identity and Resistance to Militarization and Maldevelopment
Chapter 9: Future Assets, But At What Price? The Okinawa Initiative Debate
Chapter 10: From the National Gaze to Multiple Gazes: Representations of Okinawa in Recent Japanese Cinema

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