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Hayao Miyazaki joins Okinawan anti-military base fund

47 Comments
By Scott Wilson, RocketNews24

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most outspoken proponents of anti-war policy in Japan. And Okinawa is home to a plethora of American military bases, and has been a hotbed of controversy for decades.

So Miyazaki and Okinawa have officially teamed up to protest the American military presence. The director announced on May 7 that he will officially join the “Henoko Fund,” a group of politicians and CEOs who are putting their money where their mouths are and donating hundreds of millions of yen to prevent the relocation of the Futenma Air Base.

If you’re new to the topic of American military bases in Okinawa, here’s the super quick rundown: Okinawa used to be known as the Ryukyu Kingdom, which existed as its own entity for hundreds of years. It was subsequently invaded by mainland Japan in 1609, begrudgingly annexed as part of Japan in 1872, and then completely devastated during World War II when it became a battlefield between Japanese and U.S. soldiers, resulting in one-third of the entire civilian population being killed.

The U.S. occupied Okinawa following the end of the war, leaving its influence all over the island. People drove on the right side of the road (instead of the left as in mainland Japan), dollars were used as the official currency, and military bases were set up all over as well. When Okinawa was returned to Japanese rule in 1972, the roads and money went back to normal, but the bases stayed behind. After hundreds of thousands of lives lost and generations of war, you can imagine that the Okinawan people were getting very tired of the whole military thing.

And that sentiment has continued up to today. Despite the fact that Okinawa makes up less than 1% of Japan, it is home to over 75% of all U.S. military bases in Japan. This makes the Okinawa people feel like they’re getting the brunt of U.S. bases dumped on them while the rest of Japan dodges the responsibility.

Though general protests against the U.S. bases are held often, one of the most controversial topics is the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. It is currently located in Ginowan City, but it was proposed to be moved to the coast of Henoko in northern Okinawa, away from the residential area. While the intentions behind the proposal may be sound, the Henoko coast is home to coral reef and critically endangered dugong. Many feel building a military base there would be a further insult to Okinawa, symbolically crushing beautiful parts of the island with more military installations.

And that brings us to the recently established Henoko Fund. Okinawan politicians, CEOs, organizations and individuals have teamed up to sponsor ads and demonstrations against the relocation of the airbase, marking the first time that the private sector has officially become involved in the protests, so far raising over 100 million yen ($834,064).

Up until now there have been seven other high-profile joint representatives sponsoring the Henoko Fund, but Miyazaki is by far the most well-known. Considering the anti-war messages in his films and the fact that he was quoted last year as saying “demilitarization in Okinawa is essential for peace in East Asia,” his ideals fit in perfectly with the rest of the group.

Other members of the Henoko Fund have said they’re very happy to have Miyazaki as a joint representative, and they hope that having him will help broaden their group’s appeal and further their cause, both inside and outside of Okinawa.

While only time will tell whether the Henoko Fund accomplishes its goals or not, we have to say that if a certain someone comes out of retirement again to produce a Studio Ghibli animated feature about Okinawa, it certainly couldn’t hurt their cause.

Source: The Ryukyu Shimpo

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Japanese Protesters Attack U.S. Military Aircraft with Kites -- American Soldier Suspected of Trespassing and Assaulting Okinawan Middle School Student After Curfew -- Cat-paw marshmallows strike again — and they’re as cute and popular as ever!

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47 Comments
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Activism! How refreshing.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

One misleading in this article. Ryukyu, now Okinawa, was pressured by both of China and Japan. And Ryukyu selected Japan. It's the true history. Could you correct it?

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Miyazaki remembers that miserable war, so he just hopes no more war anywhere in Japan.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@Yuya Koike

Correct what exactly? There isn't actually anything in the article that is misleading. It seems like you just claiming that the article is misleading because the author has decided not to delve into a controversial topic which you seem to want to talk about.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

First....

Hayao Miyazaki joins Okinawan anti-military base fund

Well what do you know...another naichiya.

Second:

One misleading in this article. Ryukyu, now Okinawa, was pressured by both of China and Japan. And Ryukyu selected Japan. It's the true history. Could you correct it?

Misleading? Not really just conveniently left out. (Probably with the excuse that it wouldn't fit into the "here’s the super quick rundown" because in reality there is no way to fit it all in and it is a biased article. Be nice to see (miracle request here) an unbiased one for a change.

Third:

There isn't actually anything in the article that is misleading. It seems like you just claiming that the article is misleading because the author has decided not to delve into a controversial topic which you seem to want to talk about.

Misleading? Missing information would be more like it and the author seems to want to leave a specific impression on the reader without providing all, even in short version, facts that pertain to the overall history and current situation.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Not at all. The plight of the Okinawans is very clear

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Yubaru

But I don't see how the 19th century history of Okinawa has any relevance to the base issue at all. Unless, of course, someone wants to claim that Japan is a dictatorship where nobody is allowed to complain or protest about improving their quality of life and natural environment. There are real Japanese people in Okinawa today who have genuine concerns. Whether their ancestors in the Ryuku Kingdom voluntarily joined Japan or not is just a historic irrelevancy which small right wing minds seem to have latched onto.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

But I don't see how the 19th century history of Okinawa has any relevance to the base issue at all.

Ahh but there is a kernel of information that is necessary to know to understand where it all started as Yuya Koike stated, Okinawa in effect choose Japan vs China.

There are real Japanese people in Okinawa today who have genuine concerns. Whether their ancestors in the Ryuku Kingdom voluntarily joined Japan or not is just a historic irrelevancy which small right wing minds seem to have latched onto.

Real Japanese vs what? All the people, (foreigners not included here sorry) on Okinawa are Japanese. Seems to me that too many people like to make some assumptions that Okinawan's are not Japanese, they are.

As Japanese they have a responsibility to play their part in the defense of the country, it really is that simple.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

@Yubaru "As Japanese they have a responsibility to play their part in the defence of the country"

When Japanese people join SDF, they have a responsibility. Living on soil under U.S. occupation de facto have nothing to do with playing part in the defence of the country.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

There is a reason that most of the Bases are in Okinawa. It has nothing to do with mainland Japan not desiring to host the Americans, it is simply geography. The Ryukyu Island Chain sits in a very strategic possession, that same location that made them such a great trading nation in the past. That is why the Americans desire to be there.

What I am not sure of is why that is still relevant in today's age of supersonic aircraft and forward deployed Carrier Battle Groups. I understand the Marines logic as a Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) needs to be co located as the air wing is a critical transport resource for deployments.

What I also don't understand is why the Futema couldn't be simply relocated to Kadena. The inter-service rivalry that I believe is preventing that is asinine. An even better choice IMHO would be Guam as it is American territory and not such a great distance from Okinawa. But wait, Guam is America so they would have to pay for their own bases.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

after bearing so much sufferings of wars and occupation the Okinawans still can not choose freely what is right for them.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Steppenwolf323 "The Ryukyu Island Chain sits in a very strategic posession"

Perhaps, it took place many years ago. Now China and Russia have both strategic bombers and submarines armed by cruise missiles. News report that Russian strategic bombers having cruise missiles onboard, armed by nuclear warheads constantly fly over Japan mainland, doing routine patrol flights. God knows how many nuclear-powered and quiet diesel-powered submarines move everyday nearby Ryukyu Island Chain. During possible war, the island will turn into a very vulnerable place. It can be attacked from all possible directions. Can you realize that all civilians will be victims together with personnel of U.S. bases?

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

When did Okinawa choose Japan over China? From what I know there was absolutely no point in history when Okinawans were able to freely choose between China and Japan, but maybe Yuya Koike or Yubaru can help us a bit with providing some facts about their strange interpretation of Okinawan history?

The usual view of historians is that Okinawa after being a Chinese tributary was first unofficially colonialized by the Satsuma in 1609 and then officially "annexed" by the Meiji government in the 1870ies. While there was a small group of Okinawans who favored an association with Japan there was absolutely no choice by Okinawans on the matter.

Actually China never tried to subjugate Okinawa and it was during the Chinese protectorate era that the foundation stone of the great Okinawan culture we appreciate so much nowadays was laid. It is not by chance that the period when Okinawa was an independent kingdom is called the "golden age" in Okinawan history as Ryukyuan culture flourished as an intermediary between the two big Asian nations.

History beside it's very good news for Okinawa that a high profile public person like Miyazaki speaks out for the Okinawan cause. The media in the rest of Japan largely ignores or downplays the Okinawan topic and there are very few Japanese who really know what is going on in Okinawa.

I believe the more Japanese outside of Okinawa learn about the unjust situation the harder it will get for Abe and his cronies to push through their inhumane and anti-democratic policies.

Kudos Miyazaki San!

3 ( +8 / -5 )

"

Miyazaki remembers that miserable war, so he just hopes no more war anywhere in Japan."

Why does "anti-war" have to also mean "anti-military base"? Could those military bases have prevented wars?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

When Japanese people join SDF, they have a responsibility. Living on soil under U.S. occupation de facto have nothing to do with playing part in the defence of the country.

You dont get it really and they are not under US Occupation, anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant of the reality or chooses to keep their head in the sand.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Miyazaki remembers that miserable war, so he just hopes no more war anywhere in Japan.

We all should hope for no more war in Japan or anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. This ain't Disneyland. The reality is that today's world is a very dangerous place.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@Yubaru "they are not under US Occupation"

You should tell it to people of Okinawa.

"anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant"

No, anyone who thinks that Okinawa is not occupied de facto by U.S. forces is really blind or ignorant.

Wc626 "This ain't Disneyland. The reality is that today's world is a very dangerous place".

Yes, you are right. World is not a Disneyland and is a very dangerous place to live. For example, when U.S. Government suddenly declares some independent state or nation as "non-democratic", starting massive airstrikes next day, killing innocent people, women, children. And country becomes a sort of chaotic black hole, or camp for religious fanatics and international terrorists. When U.S. Goverment has fed barbaric tribes by money, ammo, weaponry in the name of Freedom, Democracy, to fight Assad. And the next day those barbarians united, called themselves ISIS, raised black flag and began to cut throats of innocent hostages.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@Yubaru "they are not under US Occupation" You should tell it to people of Okinawa. No, anyone who thinks that Okinawa is not occupied de facto by U.S. forces is really blind or ignorant

Yamanashi....I live here, and have lived here for over 3 decades, the US has ZERO control over my life, or the lives of the JAPANESE people living in Japan.

Oh let's extend your misplaced logic a step further, by insinuating the US is an occupation force, de facto or otherwise, you are also insinuating that ALL of Japan is under US occupation, you HAVE to extend the logic, if you don't you really are choosing to be ignorant.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Steppenwolf323,

What you write is so spot on it deserves repeating:

What I also don't understand is why the Futema couldn't be simply relocated to Kadena. The inter-service rivalry that I believe is preventing that is asinine. An even better choice IMHO would be Guam as it is American territory and not such a great distance from Okinawa. But wait, Guam is America so they would have to pay for their own bases.

If the USA insist on dramatising being the "World Police," they can do it on their own dime. Not sponging on Japan or any other "host" country.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

I really think the US and Japan should just give up on Henoko once and for all and simply say that they are staying permanently in Futenma -- all complaints about that can be relayed to the Governor and now people like Miyazaki who are funding what is essentially anti-government movements that go agains the security of the nation. Until the bases go to Henoko, they are not going anywhere. PERIOD. Okinawans can complain about hosting a 'burden' of the US bases in Japan all they like. I just hope they stop and realize that in any invasion or conventional war attack they would host 100% of the 'burden' of initial attacks as China or NK or whatever took advantage of the geographical positions. Without the bases there to scramble quickly and effectively defend the islands (the Okinawans would be SCREAMING for a hasty defense then and for US forces to hurry up and defend them!), they would be occupied China in no time.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

I am glad well known Japanese people get involved in such issues because it encourages your average "Tanaka San" to also think and hopefully vote. We need more well known people like him and Murakami to speak out.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

With no US bases in Okinawa, there would be nothing to attack.

With the speed and range that troops and arms can move these days "strategic position" is more or less meaningless.

What is there to defend?

The majestic plains of goya crops, stretching as far as the eye can see?

Mineral riches such as Aguni Sea Salt?

Stockpiles of Orion beer?

Let's get real here. Most of the US bases are in Okinawa because nowhere else in Japan would have them at any price and they are in Japan because the US has Japan by the short and curlies, forcing them to honour a 1945 agreement that Japan builds and supports bases for the US military.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Hayao Miyazaki is not some nobody, he has a reputation to keep that can be ruined by such actions.

My respects to Hayao Miyazaki, he's standing up to what he believes, that's against the American occupation of Okinawa, its freedom of expression the laws governing the western democracy. You are doing nothing wrong by voicing your opinion by means of protest.

I have always respected Hayao Miyazaki for his brilliant animation, his actions in this news only makes me respect him even more, his actions shows that his not spineless, its quite admirable if I do say so.

The youngsters of today have no right to say his doing right or wrong, your generation was not around in the war. it was Hayao Miyazaki generation

1 ( +5 / -4 )

A great article. Hurray for Mr.Hayao Miyazaki!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

With no US bases in Okinawa, there would be nothing to attack.

Really? How little you know about the region and the politics. Okinawa us not known the the "Keystone" of the Pacific for no reason. Please google the word"keystone" to further understand what it means.

Okinawa sits in the most direct path to the Pacific ocean for China, and if you can not understand the implications of what that means then you have no reason to be commenting here at all.

There are other reasons, natural resources, as well that you evidently have no idea about either.

You have blinders on and only regurgitate what you read or hear in the local media. Your comments are laughable in their ignorance.

Moderator: Please leave your arrogance and ill manners off the discussion board.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Yubaru, disagree with me if you will, discuss the issue if you will, but please do not insult.

Insult? Hardly, your posts are insulting in their ignorance, you attempt to state "facts"that are not, you make comments based upon half-truths and hearsay, you post comments without thought and expect people to accept them as "truth"

You choose not to face reality and post comments purely on emotion.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan lost war and must pay tribute to war damages as per agreements. Japan shall be forever grateful to the USA, not saying slave, but truly grateful. Now 3 rd economic power in the world for a mere 125 millions inhabitants. Japanese don't even realize the luck they have. (I am French and it is no longer going that way since leading wars is a very very heavy burden)
-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Yubaru "I live here, and have lived here for over 3 decades the US have ZERO control or the lives of the JAPANESE people"

And Bertie and Yuri are Okinawans and you know, they keep saying about completely different things. Guess, whom should I believe more ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I love Ghibli. I plan on raising my children on his earlier movies when teaching them what real animation is.

But, even if the US military isn't there, the Japanese military will occupy these bases according to what Abe wants. I still completely believe that it's a waste to protest the move of the bases and you should just focus on Abe and Tokyo and protest the constitution change.

Also, SECEDE! SECEDE! SECEDE!

If you take Tokyo's money, you are giving in to their rule.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Honestly we need to ask ourselves, is the American occupation of Okinawa and the Military base, in the best interest for the Okinawa/Japan or Americans?

Has the Military base and the presence of American done the region more good or bad?

I remember an article about a US helicopter that come crushing down during a drill, I think it killed a farmer or was it that it landed near a local school. The point is the public outcry to stop such drills was ignored.

What about the alcohol issues and the US military personnel in the region and the indecency to the woman and children in the region?

Many articles are highlighted by Yahoo news. Many of which the main stream news don't cover. Once more, has the Military base and the presence of American done the region more good or bad?

Again is the Military base, in the best interest for the Okinawa/Japan or just a way for American to keep an eye in the region? Even today we hear dispute about America wanting a base in some region to keep taps on Russia.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Strategist,

Good question.

Economically, Okinawa was the poorest prefecture in Japan in 1945 and it still is, in spite of its being a such a wonderful site for tourism. The US bases only provide about 4% of Okinawa's income, so, financially, there is no advantage.

There are those who say that the US bases provide a deterrent and that if there were no bases here, China and/or Russia would have invaded and occupied Okinawa long ago. There is no way to prove this one way or the other. It's just a matter of opinion.

But why Mr Miyazaki is a member of the "Henoko Fund" and is so strongly against the building of this massive base has, I am sure, much to do with his love of nature and disgust at the way human beings are destroying the natural environment as much as his anti-war stance.

The proposed base will destroy an area of great natural beauty. Much damage has already been done to the coral reefs and the Okinawan Dugong will undoubtedly become extinct as a result. The sand is being stripped from the beaches of Amami Oshima to make concrete for the Henoko base.

To answer your question about whether Henoko is in Okinawa/Japan's interest, I don't think it is.

According to the polls, Okinawans don't want it and it would cost Japan an astronomical amount of money.

It is in Washington's interest, however.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think in the end MCAS Futenma will remain open. Less traffic but the new base can only support limited fixed wing aircraft operation. If MCAS Futenma is returned it will be 50 years from now. The Americans have a long record of lying to the people of Okinawa. The people of Okinawa do not want this base. Hey what ever happened to local rule? The government of Japan is treating Okinawa like second class nationals. The Americans demand and the government of Japan follows their orders.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And Bertie and Yuri are Okinawans and you know, they keep saying about completely different things. Guess, whom should I believe more ?

Bertie is not Okinawan, and Yuri lives in Oklahoma, you choose. Bertie just regurgitates left^wing media clippings without considering the full picture, and like I said, Yuri lives in Oklahoma.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A person doesn't have to be anti-war to be in favor of moving the USA off Okinawa. Build an island.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The fund collecting people may mean well but any movement that want to collect donation. I stay away.

US tried to move a base to Giam bit was refused. Ditto with Hawaii/

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Your source for this article is a bias government newspaper. How many Okinawas have you interviewed? I've lived here for over 8 years and can tell you I live very welcomed everyday. Maybe only a hand full of comments about being here. The fact is that the US Military provides a lot of money here that they can't live with out. I military was locked down over an incident in 2007, after a few weeks many local businesses shut down and others were begging for the base to reopen. Futenma will never move.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Toshiko-san,

That's right, Guam refused to have them and so did Hawaii.

Nobody wants US bases near them!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Bertie-san: There is Camp Pendleton Base in Orange County CA. It is isolated from residential area and tourist area. Disneyland, LA Angels field, Soldiers there do not make problems. Base was there before Disneyland was built or Anaheim Angels was created by Gene Autry.Iwakuni people might not like accepting marines but Calif bases will not refuese < I think.

Watch out US Movie and entertainment companies have eyes to create their movie studio in Okinawa as they are not paranoia about China.

Japan will pay several million dollars again for this year. That is main reason USA is not getting out from bases in Japan. Omoiyari Fund.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Dean R English: Don't take it personal, it's not that you as an individual is not welcome, it's an occupying foreign military thats not welcome. Let me put it like this, how many foreign militaries are welcome in America? Zero, and if they were allowed, do you think all Americans would welcom them? Probably not!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Before visiting Okinawa, I used to think like most westerners, especially Americans, do- that the bases are a necessary evil several reasons and the economy of Okinawa depends on its love-hate relationship with the bases.

However, after visiting the main island of Okinawa, I must say their vast size and central location was very noticeable and detracted for the the appeal of Okinawa as a tropical destination- military vehicles on the road and in the sky just don't equate a peaceful, tropical paradise for me. I can sympathize with Okinawan's who object to the burden of hosting a US military base.

If the bases were relocated outside of Okinawa, I think the immediate negative economic it would have on businesses that depend on the bases would be more than compensated for by the long term construction and tourism income that would be generated as the island's economy shifted even more towards travel and tourism. Yes, I'm sure tourism already makes up a decent percentage of their economy, but imagine how much more development could happen if all the land the bases occupy were available for development and the military vehicles were no longer an eyesore to Okinawa's beautiful tropical scenery. I can see the wealthy lining up to invest in real estate/vacation homes already.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I admire Hayao for both his Anime and Anti-war stance. Have met him a few times, my wife introduced us.

As for Okinawa my last company had our backup and testing data center there and I agree with the above poster. Did a few projects there. Many businesses would love to move there.

I also think Guam would be better to host those bases, most of which are training bases only and not full forward bases which are needed to defend Japan or S.Korea(which also hosts a lot of US Forces bases.

Okinawa was useful after WWII as many military craft lacked the range to be further away, but now they are faster and most have inflight refueling capabilities.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Okinawa in effect choose Japan vs China.

Okinawa has never had a choice. Neither Japan nor the US can afford to give them one

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The fact is that the US Military provides a lot of money here

I guess you have no idea where is the a lot of money for US military come from. The bases have been financial burden for Tokyo and environmental and social burden for Okinawa.

that they can't live with out.

They are happy to live without noise of air crafts, pollution, anti social behaviours and horrific crimes of US servicemen. That world will not ended without the bases. Neighbour Philippines have shut down the US Subic and Clark air bases before. Life goes on and the Sun still rise from the east.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Nathaw,

Agreed, the US military provides 4% of Okinawan income. Most of the rest is for tourism. As CannondaleCommuter says, without the bases, Okinawa would boom. Its real estate is far too valuable to serve as unwilling host to US military bases.

I agree with Miyakawa-san. They should all leave.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I had error on my number USA receive from Japan. The agreement was more than $2 billion a year Japan will pay USA to let USA bases stay in Japan so that in case China attacks Japan, US military bases will be used to protect Japan from China (Last Year renewed agreement)

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi and other Japan Inc have been in China to cooperate with China's new industrialization Programs. China export USA many products. Bot just cheap but excellent consumer products.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The first step to stability in the region is what PM Abe is trying to achieve, Japan's own military defence service, once established, they can replace the US army.

And please don't give me that (what if Japan goes on a rampage) it won't happen, why? The UN wqs formed for that very reason. Ask yourself, what is stopping China, N Korea, and Russia? The veto by the UN and threat of baring international trade.

We do not need the US in order for Japan to be safe.

Is there a us base in China, Russia, N.Korea? UK, no. The US base is in the best interest of the US, that's why the US refuses PM Abe request for Japan's own Army.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

lol @yubaru I think he is a weeaboo rather than some one from Japan. Yamanashi also hosted a lot of US marines a long time ago, and guess what, Yamanashi people protested and they are gone. Its funny how he says, Okinawans, as Japanese, must do their part for the defense of Japan yet failed to realized, they've been doing far more than their fair share. See battle of Okinawa, or the fact that 75% of US bases are there. If you're trying to argue the responsibility case, you should instead be arguing, why aren't other prefectures picking up more responsibilities, especially since there are prefectures much closer to north korea, russia, and north east china than okinawa. and probably much bigger with more space than a dense okinawa island.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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