national

Chinese moves on Taiwan rattle remote Japanese island

35 Comments
By Mathias CENA

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2022 AFP

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.


35 Comments
Login to comment

But since 2016, the island has hosted a base for Japan's army, the Self-Defense Forces, which was established despite initial objections from residents.

Sounds like the locals "fear" the Japanese as much as the Chinese.

-8 ( +12 / -20 )

A beautiful place to visit. (Taiwan resident)

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Whoever is in charge of choosing the headline titles should be replaced. One... two, any increase of military presence is something to fear. Being so far away from the main island puts everybody on pins and needles.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Yonaguni is part of Okinawa prefecture, where resentment against military presence traditionally runs high. 

Apathy runs traditionally higher than resentment, now more than ever.

1 ( +14 / -13 )

He resents the fact that Japanese army families can influence policy by voting in local elections, and argues the base's economic impact makes it hard for residents to speak freely on the issue.

Resents the fact that the residents have taken the time and effort to change their residency to Yonaguni, which also means that they pay taxes, which directly come to the coffers of the town office.

Far too often, and far too many people, who purchase land, build homes, on the islands, in Yonaguni, Miyako, Ishigaki and the other outlying islands of the prefecture, DO NOT change their residency, and the people of those islands have huge problems with it.

This is another example of the NOT-omoteinashi, attitude that prevails with many Japanese throughout the country. They want the money, and appreciate the increase in people, but dont like it when they try to assimilate into their communities.

I would be willing to bet that most foreigners that have lived in Japan can appreciate the feeling. At least these folks get to vote!

They CAN speak freely, they CHOOSE not to!

-3 ( +14 / -17 )

Didn’t I read there are more military than local people there? That would make it a legitimate military target if Kishida carries out his promise to attack China when Taiwan reunifies with the mainland.

-16 ( +3 / -19 )

Historically, China has wavered between being friendly with other countries, and isolating itself away from the world. Today, China has chosen a different path, that of bully and aggressor. I would prefer they chose the path of friendship.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Didn’t I read there are more military than local people there?

> The base for maritime and air surveillance is home to 170 soldiers, who with their families make up 15 percent of Yonaguni's population of 1,700.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

So the underlying cause of any problems and concerns is Chinese aggression! If China wasn’t threatening to invade its neighbours there would be no need for the military base.

Without the influx of people and money no doubt “paradise” would have gently declined in to picturesque but desperate poverty.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Didn’t I read there are more military than local people there?

Not sure where you could have read that. There are 170 JSDF members on out of a total population of about 1700 on Yonaguni island. JSDF personnel are 10% of the total population

That would make it a legitimate military target if Kishida carries out his promise to attack China when Taiwan reunifies with the mainland.

I have not heard Mr. Kishida make any such promise but has advocated that Japan help Taiwan defend itself it is attacked by China. Mr. Kishida also has to worry about the possibility of China attacking Japanese territory in the Senkaku Islands.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

"Chinese moves on Taiwan rattle remote Japanese island"

The only party making moves in this dance of provocation is the U.S. and its captive 'allies' whose CONSTANT clearly threatening naval 'drills' and 'exercises' and intrusions into the Chinese EEZ are ignored but China does this once IN ITS OWN WATERS after an undeniable political provocation and treaty violation and somehow, and with a straight face, it's characterized as "Chinese aggression". Ah, the power of propagandistic LIES and simple minds...

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

The residents of Yonaguni must be easily rattled....

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

@William Bjornson, China considers the Ryukyus to be illegally occupied not by the US but by Japan. The People's Daily has said as much in their editorials. China still sees the Ryukyus as rightfully a tributary state of China and not a legitimate part of Japan. Their claims on the Ryukyu Islands are not confined to the Senkakus.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

If the world doesn't solve the Chinese Problem soon it may become too late.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

@Desert Tortoise Some say that it is the Taiwanese who have preserved Chinese culture and tradition and maintain it today.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@Desert Tortoise Citation needed. The tributary system died with the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1912.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Yonguni's economy thrived in prewar days and right after the war because of its geographical proximity to Taiwan. Can't diplomatic measures be taken specially between Taiwan and Yonaguni for more free trading?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Okinawa was definitely not Japan, there was a local Ryuku Kingdom which existed before 1879, the Japanese army murdered the locals and settling Japanese in those islands. Too bad the punishment of Japan after WW2 only made them give up the lands grabbed till 1894.We(Chinese) knew the Okinawa and their inhabitants very well, before the Manchurian empire they were our cousins, for you westerners should learn this part of Asiab history(For God sake) !

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

10% doesn’t include visiting military, so the number much higher. There is a military bases near me that sometimes swells by 10 times when there are military exercises

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Japan (Nippon), you must immediately build up your military defense force! Ignite that Japanese spirit and protect your land against the evil Chinese! Nippon for the win!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Yonaguni island, the name of "Yobaguni" that means the island next to China. And of course Taiwan the island including in part of China. Even Japanese language recognizedrecognize this, just for the political purpose of distortion refuse to recognize this fact!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Lands grabbed in 1894

It was 1609 not 1879 when the Japanese shimazu clan took over the Ryukyu kingdom and imposed head tax that many Yonaguni residents couldn't pay and were thrown from the cliffs

I've visited Yonaguni many times and have close friends.

Its a beautiful small island

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

elephant200 (Today 03:41 pm JST),

The etymology of the name of the island called "Yonaguni" is not very clear. The islanders call their island by the name of Dunan". Ishigaki islanders call it "Yuno" or "(Yunaun ) Yunoon" and so some people assume "Dunan" may have derived from "Yuno" or "Yunoon". But this explanation doesn't go much beyond folk etymology. There are many place names in Okinawa that start with "Yone" or "Yona", such as "Yonaha", "Yonabaru" or "Yonagusuku". The relevant island's name may be somehow related with these place names. But how it is must be explained convincingly, phonologically.

Now, you have brought up an unheard-of new theory, theorizing the island is called so because it's located near China or Taiwan. I think your theorizing is based on the Chinese characters given to it. Note, however, the Chinese characters are meant to represent only the sounds, not the meaning, here.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The same place can have many names for different people. I won't feel surprised if you tell me the Japanese meaning was different. But in Kanji writing, Yonaguni was written: 與那国岛。That was the meaning the island close to China.

Yonaguni island iwas facing at Taiwan.

Well anyway, the inhabitants can sees Chinese warships occasionally now. Sorry for disturbance but we have very important task to do.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

elephant200

The same place can have many names for different people. I won't feel surprised if you tell me the Japanese meaning was different. But in Kanji writing, Yonaguni was written: 與那国岛。That was the meaning the island close to China

I can't make out what you are trying to say.

Maybe, you are misunderstanding me. Scrutinizing the meaning of "Yonaguni" is not the point at issue. I said the etymology of “Yonaguni" is very unclear or unknowable at present although some people say the word "Donan" may have something to do with the Ishigaki dialect's "Yuno" or " Yunoon". The catch is how "Yuno" or "Yunoon" has changed to "Dunan" in the course of time.

 You insist "Yonaguni" means "close to China" because it's written in Chinese characters as "与那国". Does "与那国" really mean closeness to China, as you say? Aren't these characters mere phonetic representations for the sound [yonaguni], whose meaning is not very clear at present at least?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

We stand with you Taiwan, against any and all Chinese aggression!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Desert Tortoise Citation needed. The tributary system died with the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1912.

Temporarily. The CCP is very much trying to restore the former status of China as the Middle Kingdom to which all the countries around her pay tribute and from which the surrounding countries take their orders. Pay attention, that is the CCPs long term overarching goal. Chinese control of the Ryukyus as a tributary state is part of that long term goal and their propaganda is making their case for invading.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Desert Tortoise Some say that it is the Taiwanese who have preserved Chinese culture and tradition and maintain it today.

I tend to agree. Hong Kong too as they maintained a unique Cantonese culture and arts scene even as the CCP was trying to force them to use Mandarin and New Pinyon and actively suppressed Cantonese art. This was ongoing even before the 2019 crack down. But my point is that since 1949 mainland China under the CCP have lost that culture entirely. Today Chinese tourists are disparaged for their bad manners and arrogance. Hong Kong residents called mainlander Chinese "locusts" who come there and strip the shelves of stores bare, taking the goods back to China to resell, to the point where Hong Kong officials had to impose limits on what mainland visitors could purchase. Taiwan and mainland China are maybe even more different that UK and US. I doubt it is possible to reunify them any longer. But I am also pretty confident that if the west can deter China from invading Taiwan that the ROC government will outlast the CCP.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

 Chinese control of the Ryukyus as a tributary state is part of that long term goal and their propaganda is making their case for invading.

China never "controlled" the Ryukyu's. The Ryukyu Emperors paid tribute as a vassal state, yes, but they were never controlled. It was more of a cultural exchange than anything else. China did NOTHING to assist or prevent the Satsuma-clan from taking control of the Ryukyu Islands. In fact, even when Satsuma annexed the Ryukyu's, the Ryukyu Emperors continued to pay tribute to the Chinese.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yonaguni has/had its own separate language and written language not Chinese characters or Japanese or like the other yaeyama languages and dialects.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If Taiwan should fall, then you can expect these islands to be next on China’s menu, like dominoes. Taiwan is like a keystone or linchpin.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In the Yonaguni dialect, the figures 'four' (4) and ‘eight’ (8) is "duuchi" (Cf. Japanese: "yottsu"/“yattsu”; Okinawan: "yuuchi"/“yaachi”; Miyako: "yuutsu"/”yaatsu”). "Yama"(=mountain) in other dialects is pronounced "dama" in the Yonaguni dialect.

It seems safe to say then the y-sound in word-initial position in proto-Japanese changed to the d-sound in the Yonaguni dialect. Thus, it may be surmised that “Dunan” is derived from a proto-form very close to the Ishigaki dialect’s “Yunan” or “Yunoon”.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Of course, I am trying to nip a claim like elephant200's in the bud -- the claim that "Yonaguni" (or "Donan" in the local vernacular) is part of Taiwan because the Chinese characters given it, 與那国, can mean "close to China".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It may sound strange that the y-sound in proto-Japanese changed to the d-sound in the Yonaguni dialect. But the sound change from y to d can be thought of as follows:

yunagun dyunagun dunagun dunaun dunan  (Yonagumi dialect)

Cf.

yunagun yunagun yunaun yuno:n (yunoon)  (Ishigaki dialect)

yunagun yunagun yunaun yunan  (Ishigaki dialect)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The suffix ”gun" or "kun" in the original yunagun is usually attached to place names and may be the same as that in Ahagun 阿波根, Hiyagun 比屋根, Myaagun 宮国, and Tidukun 手登根 . The remaining stem "yuna" may be the same as that in Yunabaru 与那原, Yunagusuku 与那城, Yunamini 与那嶺, and Yunapa 与那覇. The stem "yuna" may also be related with "Yona" in "Yonago" in Shimane Prefecture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites