Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Tag: Okinawa

Episode 305 – The American Interlude, Part 2

This week, we’ll cover the end of USCAR and the legacies of 27 years of foreign rule over Okinawa Prefecture.

Sources

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

Higa, Mikio. “The Reversion Theme in Current Okinawan Politics.” Asian Survey 7, No 3 (March, 1967).

Images

The B-yen note. Introduced to try and stabilize the Okinawan economy, it instead helped keep Okinawa economically dependent on the USA.

Yara Chobyo’s career as a politician was defined by his successful opposition to USCAR.

The site of the 1968 Kadena B-52 crash.

Wreckage of the Koza riot. Note the bombed out car.

More Koza riot wreckage.

The 1972 reversion ceremony. Note the familiar faces in the background.

Episode 304 – The American Outpost, Part 1

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.

 

 

 

Episode 34 – Japan and Okinawa, Part 2

This week we’ll finish up our two-parter on Japanese-Okinawan relations with a look at Okinawa during the Imperial Period. We’ll be focusing heavily on the bloody Battle of Okinawa, and then wrap things up by looking at the relationship between the islands and the Japanese mainland today.

This week’s episode is rather more graphic and violent than usual — I could not in good conscience whitewash the battle, but I do feel I should warn those of you who might be offended by such things to pass on this one.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan.

Fields, Norma. In the Realm of a Dying Emperor.

Pyle, Kenneth. The Making of Modern Japan.

Images(Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

The commanders of the Japanese 32nd Army, which would be annhilated during the Battle of Okinawa. Every man in this photograph would die fighting the United States.

The commanders of the Japanese 32nd Army, which would be annhilated during the Battle of Okinawa. Every man in this photograph would die fighting the United States.

A US Marine patrol passes a dead Japanese soldier during the battle.

A US Marine patrol passes a dead Japanese soldier during the battle.

American troops on Okinawa listening to the radio reports on May 8th announcing Germany's surrender. Okinawa would not fall until 55 days after Hitler's regime collapsed.

American troops on Okinawa listening to the radio reports on May 8th announcing Germany’s surrender. Okinawa would not fall until 55 days after Hitler’s regime collapsed.

Civilian POWs on Okinawa. Before capture, Okinawans were led to expect brutal treatment at the hands of the Allies.

Civilian POWs on Okinawa. Before capture, Okinawans were led to expect brutal treatment at the hands of the Allies.

The New Mexico-class battleship USS Idaho bombarding Okinawa during the battle.

The New Mexico-class battleship USS Idaho bombarding Okinawa during the battle.

Futenma Air Station, one of the American bases on Okinawa. Futenma is one of the largest and most controversial base sites owing to its proximity to centers of civilian population.

Futenma Air Station, one of the American bases on Okinawa. Futenma is one of the largest and most controversial base sites owing to its proximity to centers of civilian population.

The Cornerstone of Peace Memorial on Okinawa. Listed on the monuments are the names of every verifiable death during the Battle of Okinawa.

The Cornerstone of Peace Memorial on Okinawa. Listed on the monuments are the names of every verifiable death during the Battle of Okinawa.

Episode 33 – Japan and Okinawa, Part 1

This week, we’ll begin a two-part series on the relationship between Japan and what is now her southernmost province: Okinawa. We’ll cover the founding of the Kingdom of the Ryukyus, its relationship with Japan, and finally its incorporation into the burgeoning Japanese Empire.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Sansom, George. A History of Japan, Vol 2 and Vol 3.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

A map showing the location of the Ryukyu Islands relative to China and Japan.

A map showing the location of the Ryukyu Islands relative to China and Japan.

Okinawa divided into the three kingdoms which once ruled it. Chuzan (in the middle) would eventually come to dominate the other two under the leadership of King Sho Hashi.

Okinawa divided into the three kingdoms which once ruled it. Chuzan (in the middle) would eventually come to dominate the other two under the leadership of King Sho Hashi.

The flag of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

The flag of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

Shuri Castle in Naha, capitol of the Kingdom of the Ryukyus (as well as modern Okinawa Prefecture).

Shuri Castle in Naha, capitol of the Kingdom of the Ryukyus (as well as modern Okinawa Prefecture).

King Sho Shin, Grandson of Sho Hashi and third king of the Ryukyus.

King Sho Shin, Grandson of Sho Hashi and third king of the Ryukyus.

King Sho Tai, the final King of the Ryukyus. In 1879 he was brought to Tokyo and made a Marquis in Japan's new peerage system (based on that of Great Britain).

King Sho Tai, the final King of the Ryukyus. In 1879 he was brought to Tokyo and made a Marquis in Japan’s new peerage system (based on that of Great Britain).

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