This week, we start off some coverage of the period of American rule over the Ryukyus, and the entwined histories of USCAR – the US Civil Administration for the Ryukyu Islands — and the GRI, the Government of the Ryukyu Islands. How did this arrangement work? What were the issues between them? And why did so many Okinawans come to despise American rule?

Sources

The CIA Reading Room has a bunch of declassified documents on USCAR and the Ryukyus. Here’s one of them.

Aldous, Christopher. “Achieving Reversion: Protest and Authority in Okinawa, 1952-70.” Modern Asian Studies 37, no. 2 (2003)

Inoue, Masamichi. Okinawa and the US Military: Identity Making in the Age of Globalization

Kerr, George. Okinawa: The History of an Island People

Images

US military stockades on Okinawa after the battle. The need to house a large number of troops for a potential invasion of Japan led to the earliest American base infrastructure; those bases, in turn, were so valuable the Americans decided to keep the area under their control.

The USCAR HQ building in Naha, 1950.

Okinawa island. Land in red is in use today by the US military for bases. This is less than the amount of land used by USCAR; there has been substantial base consolidation since.

Yaejima street in Koza, a town outside the major American base at Kadena, c. 1955.

A meeting of a pro-reversion association in 1954.

The front cover of the special passports needed for Okinawans to travel to Japan under USCAR rule.