politics

Okinawa marks 72nd anniversary of fierce WWII ground battle

96 Comments

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

© KYODO

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

96 Comments
Login to comment

The Battle of Okinawa began in the spring of 1945, when U.S. forces landed on the main island of Okinawa and other islands in the area. Some 94,000 civilians, or about a quarter of the residents of the prefecture, died in the three-month battle between Japanese and U.S. troops. Overall, more than 200,000 lives were lost, including those of Americans.

THIS is what today is about here in Okinawa. Bugs the hell out of me that politicians have to take the stage and turn Memorial Day, into their opportunity to push their own agendas.

Doesn't help either by constantly ripping the scabs off of old wounds by regurgitating incidents that sadly occurred. I wish the writers of these articles would show some respect, with regards to that as well.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Only the first and last paragraph have anything to do with the battle anniversary. The majority of it is about the political BS like Yubaru said

7 ( +8 / -1 )

As a former US Army officer who was stationed on Okinawa in the early seventies, including beyond reversion to Japanese control, I sympathize profoundly with the Okinawan people. It is reprehensible that they are forced to bear the overwhelming burden that they carry for all Japanese. They suffer simultaneously from the massive US military presence and from the Japanese government's refusal to provide meaningful relief from the burden. On the other hand, one has to feel alarm at the prospect of removal of a large part of the US contingent and the change that would wreak on the Okinawan economy.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

YubaruToday  04:24 pm JST THIS is what today is about here in Okinawa. Bugs the hell out of me that politicians have to take the stage and turn Memorial Day, into their opportunity to push their own agendas.

Doesn't help either by constantly ripping the scabs off of old wounds by regurgitating incidents that sadly occurred. I wish the writers of these articles would show some respect, with regards to that as well.

China still talks about the history of Nanking and invasion of China. Still, Japan has not offered official government apology. In comparison, Germany has paid billions and advanced to moving beyond of WWII and Japan has not. There is still a problem.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Today is the day that every Mainland Japanese should sincerely reflect on what they have done and what they continue to do to the island and people of Okinawa.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Some 94,000 civilians, or about a quarter of the residents of the prefecture, died in the three-month battle between Japanese and U.S. troops. Overall, more than 200,000 lives were lost, including those of Americans.

It is natural that they feel difficult to have U.S. bases there and it is also natural that they hate Japan. It's like having U.S. bases in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is impossible.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

independence please sir.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

On the other hand, one has to feel alarm at the prospect of removal of a large part of the US contingent and the change that would wreak on the Okinawan economy.

Possibly but that argument has been used by colonialists for a long, long time. A "they couldn't survive without us" mantra.

Regarding the war and its effects on Okinawa, I remember coming across a memorial for an entire village that committed suicide when US forces were approaching one of the islands. Utterly tragic.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It is natural that they feel difficult to have U.S. bases there and it is also natural that they hate Japan. It's like having U.S. bases in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is impossible.

There are. Iwakuni in Hiroshima, Sasebo in Nagasaki.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Okinawa has no say in Japanese politics. Actually the Okinawa was an independence kingdom before 1879, it was a terribly wrong decision for US to occupy there for 27 years and return it back to Japan! Imperial Japan using Okinawa as an obstacle to delay the allies advance and the local people were all expensedables!Too bad the local Okinawans has no idea of their ancient cultures which were geinocide by Japan and they have no balls to seek their independence!

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

BeerDelivery

Iwakuni and Sasebo were not affected by A-bombs. I have an idea. Let Okinawa go independent and build a new united states of Okinawa, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I'm pretty sure the A-bombs had a profound effect on all of Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

BeerDeliveryGuy

I meant to say Iwakuni and Sasebo were not attacked by A-bombs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Given that America genocidally slaughtered over a quarter of the island's entire civilian population it is understandable that the people of Okinawa want to kick the U.S. military out.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Okinawa on Friday marked 72 years since the end of a fierce World War II ground battle that killed a quarter of its civilian population, with resentment running deep over the continuing burden islanders bear in hosting the bulk of U.S. military bases in Japan.

Their hatred and resentment should be directed at their own right-wing, imperialistic and militaristic government of the time who bombed Pearl Harbour without any provocation and attempted to take over all the nations of the Pacific, including Australia. Suck it up Okinawa and the rest of Japan. You only have yourselves to blame. If you start a fight in the playground you have to be prepared to take on the big boys, and cope with the scars you are left with.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

. Suck it up Okinawa and the rest of Japan. You only have yourselves to blame. If you start a fight in the playground you have to be prepared to take on the big boys, and cope with the scars you are left with.

Victim blaming, again?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I'm not at all surprised Onaga took the memorial ceremony at the site of some horrible battles and death to self-aggrandise and push his personal agenda again. What a horrid human being.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Disillusioned

The attack on Pearl Harbor was knowingly and deliberately provoked. Get real.

Only **** Americans believe that brainwash.

As a homework exercise, how about you go off and find out how and why.

And, FYI, as you won't find it any populist American history books, Pearl Harbor was only one of two set pieces, find out what the other one was before repeating the "unprovoked" mantra.

Then read up on how early the US's Asian-Pacific imperial ambitions were openly stated and arose.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@ Toasted Heretic

You flew over everything I said about the injustice under which the Okinawans are forced to live with the huge US military presence on the island to twist the meaning of my last statement. That was a challenge to the Japanese government to do something about the economy, not a justification for retention of the overwhelming US military presence in that small corner of the nation while most of the rest of the country hosts none of the American presence. Compared to Okinawa, the other US bases are infinitesimal, and that is grossly unfair to the Okinawans.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I absolutely agree. It would be perfectly possible to create a healthy economy without the extensive US military presence.

A reasonable Self-Defense Force presence, with a more family orientated occupation, i.e. Japanese military personnel with Japanese families even, at the most, some UN Peace Keeping diplomatic exercise would alleviate the problems hugely (and I know of the problems with some UN forces).

Turn the basis into research/educational facilities (a large university campus), develop tourism further, invest in some very specific light industries, and focus on sustainable development. It would all add up to a very happy society. Oh, and return the stolen land back to its rightful owners.

Of course, some parties would not be making the same killing but few Okinawans are. Most are paying an unfair price for the continued occupation.

Tokyo is dumping on the Okinawans, in a way it would not on "real" Japanese. Historically, it has had a very chauvinistic attitude towards them.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Iwakuni is not in Hiroshima.  Sasebo is not in   Nagasaki.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You flew over everything I said about the injustice under which the Okinawans are forced to live with the huge US military presence on the island to twist the meaning of my last statement.

Not at all. I read and agreed with most of your statement. I just likened the economy bit to the old colonial mindset excuse that's been trotted out by various occupiers around the globe. Not directed at you, personally & apologies if it came across that way.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ha ha! It's interesting how people can twist history to support their own misbeliefs.

Toasted Heritic - How is my previous comment victim blaming? Are you trying to tell me that Japan was the victim in WW2?

And, just for the other doubters of the circumstances of Pearl Harbour. Yes, the US was pushing around in the South Pacific, but had not used any military force against Japan. Therefor, the attack by Japan was unprovoked.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I've been to Okinawa 3 times and I always think it's the paradise of Japan even the American military presence there still getting large part of the territory. Japan policies should create more jobs to Okinawan and makes the island(s) be more touristic resort and more Japanese to visit there. A place I consider Hawaiian Islands of Japan to see all those tropical foods there. ( and can be much more if Japan govt. support Okinawan agriculture growth) All that tragedy happened in WW2, R.I.P. for the civic victims in their land and some other Okinawan civics who most populated died in other islands like as Guam and Saipan, atrocities that occurred from both sides.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Are you trying to tell me that Japan was the victim in WW2?

Indeed it was. The use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The firebombing of Tokyo. The internment of Americans of Japanese descent in camps.

But that's the US war machine for you. It perfected its cruelties in Vietnam using chemical weapons. Always used the East to try out new ways to maim and destroy.

As for Pearl Harbour, the US intelligence services were aware a whole 3 days beforehand that an attack on the base was imminent.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Japan started the war and the US finished it. Every square meter of this country's territories should have been turned into a sheet of glass by way of atomic bombing.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Okinawa is not part of Japan.

Proof?

Tokyo's prostituting sacred Ryukyuan land for those massive Amerikano military bases to rape sacred Ryukyuan soil.

This is worst than the Comfort Women tragedy and Nanjing Massacre combined.

Why?

Despite the sovereign Ryukyuan peoples repeated protest to demand that Japan end the Amerikano occupation of Okinawa , Abe and the Japanese colonizers still insists on making new US air and naval bases in the last sanctuary of the endangered dugong in Nago city.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/09/new-military-base-could-seal-fate-okinawa-dugong

Why such total disregard for the voices of the Ryukyuan people?

Simply because Okinawa is not part of Japan therefore Nippon could care less of what happens outside of Japan.

In effect Okinawa is the Crimea of Asia.

Let's help end this by 2020.

Okinawa is not part of Japan!

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

May justice, glorious and sovereignty return back to Okinawa, soon.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

A story that should be in the "National News" section gets placed in "Politics." This shows how disgusting of a creep Comrade Onaga. He consistently puts important events for honoring people on the backburner for his political agenda because the popularity continues to disappear and he needs to find a way to keep it relevant.

I'm hoping (and am positive that) he will be a one term governor.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, the US was pushing around in the South Pacific, but had not used any military force against Japan. Therefor, the attack by Japan was unprovoked.

America initiated military action against Japan before Pearl Harbor. In April 1941, The U.S. President signed an Executive Order permitting U.S. military personnel to form the clandestine "American Volunteer Group" (AVG) to attack Japanese interests throughout Asia.  Three combat groups were to be equipped with American aircraft and staffed by aviators and technicians to be recruited from the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

This action was significant because it was direct American military action against Japan.

The first "American Volunteer Group" group assembled and arrived in Burma in November 1941 for training. However, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor before the clandestine AVG were able to strike. After Pearl Harbor, the AVG no longer had to be a "covert" operation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Volunteer_Group

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Give me a break. Japan lost the war 72 years ago and the U.S.A. helped to rebuild and reunite the country (Japan) into the economic powerhouse that it is today. If the events of WW2 never happened Okinawa would be a little tropical island in the pacific growing tropical fruit and sugar with little economic power or help from the Japanese government. The U.S.A. is not the problem, Japan inc. is the problem dealing with Okinawa.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@Disillusioned

Are you trying to tell me that Japan was the victim in WW2?

It was, and still is, the victim of America's imperial ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region. It was lined up to be crushed right after their dealing with the Kingdom of Hawaii and The Philippines. Japan knew it. The world knew. The American published their manifesto in exactly the same way Hitler did with their "Manifest Destiny".

War goes through various stages before the first bullet is fired. Diplomatic, economic, and then military. The USA was at the start of the third stage, all entirely unprovoked from Japan. It broke treaties, seized assets, invoked racist and discriminatory limitations on to Japanese people and successive and deliberately slapped the faces of the Japanese at a diplomatic level attempting to provoke them.

They it play two military gambits, the amassing of old ships in Pearl Harbor and deliberately sending a war ship into Japanese waters in the China Sea. Japan accept the invitation of the first as a way of attempting to buy time as everything America had done up until then was designed to strangle its military and destroy its economy.

And, as utorsa points out, it was already fighting proxy wars through the Chinese. Funding, training, arming and advising Nationalists troups, sending 10,000s of men to fight against Japan.

Over 30,000 American GIs joined the fight against the Japanese army, and the Japanese knew it, and knew their government was behind it.

Did you?

During the war there was a full scale US command structure in the Chinese war-time capital of Chungking, including a “US Office of War Information”, aka propaganda wing.

Had the US not supported Chiang Kai-shek, the result for Japan and the Chinese people would have been very different.

Therefor, the attack by Japan was unprovoked.

Sure ... keep repeating the Pearl Harbor mantra.

What's more interesting ... and a key to understand the American propaganda war against Japan, is reading Professor *Hong Zhang's works, such as ***'**America Perceived: The Making of Chinese Images of the United States', in which she re-counts,

"“Chinese newspapers had been reporting rape cases committed by the GIs for over a year” and speaks of “countless brutal acts of violating Chinese lives and properties”.

In short, exactly the crimes Japan was accused of.

The US was providing loans and arms, bombers etc.

Why do Americans know about all this and more? Simple ... In the United States there is not a 50-year rule for the opening of archives. For instance, most of the files of the “Military Advisory and Assistance Groups” (MAAG) are still closed.

I could go on but I think I've made the point. Oh, yes, "Remember Pearl Harbor". It's so much easiest, isn't it? It's so much more simple and convenient.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I fail to see how Japan was a victim in WWII. That is like saying a rapist that is shot by the person he raped is the victim. The logic that Japan was the victim because it was heavily bombed leads to the conclusion that Germany was also a victim.

If the bombing of Pearl Harbor occurred before the clandestine groups ever took action, then the U.S. did not initiate military action before Pearl Harbor.

If the US had not supported Chiang Kai-shek, the Japanese military would have raped, murdered, and pillaged even more.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Hawaii was annexed by the US in 1898. The Philippines was also annexed in 1898, but the Philippine-American War ended in 1902. See any issues with your timeline of Japan being next on the list? I'm sure the US was just waiting for 40 plus years to make it's move.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Back on topic please. The subject is Okinawa.

Acknowledging that Okinawa's base-hosting burden is heavy, Abe added, "I'm determined to produce definite results to allay the burden."

Shinzo Abe is merely implementing what Washington told him to do. The US. will return about half the area of the Northern Training Area, a.k.a. Jungle Warfare Center, on condition that 6 landing and take-off facilities for Ospreys in the remaining half; the U.S. will return Futenma on condition that its replacement is built at Henoko; the U.S. will return some bases south of Kadena on condition that the new base at Henoko is completed.

The UK returned the sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997 without any strings attached after a 99-year "lease" or occupation. Will the U.S. follow suit and return all these bases in Okinawa unconditionally? Judging from what they are doing, it's apparent they are maneuvering to keep the bases forever, whereby there will be no end in sight for the U.S. occupation of Okinawa. 

Shinzo Abe is committing serious treason against the nation and Okinawa by fully cooperating with the U.S. for keeping its footprint on Okinawa indefinitely.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Iwakuni is not in Hiroshima. Sasebo is not in  Nagasaki.

Sasebo is the second most populous city in Nagasaki. Iwakuni city is in Yamaguchi prefecture, but the USMCAS Iwakuni straddles the border into Hiroshima.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Are you trying to tell me that Japan was the victim in WW2?

Indeed it was. The use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The firebombing of Tokyo. The internment of Americans of Japanese descent in camps.

But that's the US war machine for you. It perfected its cruelties in Vietnam using chemical weapons. Always used the East to try out new ways to maim and destroy.

As for Pearl Harbour, the US intelligence services were aware a whole 3 days beforehand that an attack on the base was imminent.

Only loons wearing tinfoil hats believe that revisionist nonsense.

The US victory over Japan was a victory of good or evil. Period.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

For those of you pushing the Japan as the victim angle, I have a question: Did Japan do anything reprehensible?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The US. will return about half the area of the Northern Training Area, a.k.a. Jungle Warfare Center,

Thank you for proving that you still have your head in the sand. The NTA land was returned over 6 months ago. Guess you are still in copy-paste mode.

Gets tiring reading the same regurgitated material.

None of what you wrote has anything to do with Memorial day in Okinawa either.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yubaru,

I know about 4,000 ha of the 7,500 ha Northern training Area (Jungle Warfare Center) was returned in December 2016. That makes Okinawa's base-hosting burden from 74% to about 70%.

A moot question is why the central government didn't ask for a total return of the land because the marines' training there (Jungle Warfare Center) has nothing to do with Japan's defense and security. You know the U.S. military cannot use bases in Japan for other purposes than the defense and security of Japan and its vicinity (Article 6 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty). On the basis of it, why doesn't it make more efforts to reduce Okinawa's base-hosting burden on its own initiative rather than just waiting for what Washington dictates to it?

How do you respond?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Swift_Justice

See any issues with your timeline of Japan being next on the list?

You need to study up on the history of American involvement in the Far East, in China, Indo-Chine, the policy of "Manifest Destiny", and put it in context of the current swing to the encirclement of China and the domination of Pacific-Asian region and so on; and specifically its history of threats and aggression towards Japan, unequal treaties, governmental racial discrimination both internationally and within the US, and so on.

Japan, historically, did not threaten the USA. It did not sail over to San Francisco and threaten to blow the hell out of it unless the USA opened up and did business with it, its way. It did not militarily enforce economic strategy design to break the US economy and social, or militarily enforce strategy to hamper and obstruct its economic growth (as the US also did upon China and - putting aside the absolute domination and genocides of Hawaii and the Philippines - as the US also did upon Indo-Chine/Indonesia).

When the Japanese point out that Japan was vastly victimized by the USA, which is a fact, it relates primarily to political and economical strategies, strategies part of its leaders considered to be their "Manifest Destiny" and in the USA's interests to dominate Pacific-Asia politically and militarily. An ambition, most Asians did not welcome.

Japan, as the first Asian and only superpower able to hold its own against the White super-powers, stood in the way of America's ambition. Japan rose first and uniquely quickly to become an industrial super-power who would have lead the Pacific-Asian region.

And, arguably, done a far better job, a far more compassionate and sympathetic job of it, then the White super-powers (the European super-power but then including the USA).

The USA did not want this and so set out to destroy Japan. To victimize Japan, To set Japan back for as long as possible so it could assert its domination over the region.

What right did it have? It was a racist nation, it was not even Asian, it was not part of the geographic block, what was it doing on the Asian side of the Pacific, why did it not accept merely to trade honestly and equally without its threats and exercise of violent domination? (Witness; China, Indo-China, Korean Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, its prostitution of Thailand and so on ... it's century and a half of genocide in the region ... for what?).

And then we come to the finally machinications prior to WWII where the USA signed off on Japan's death warrant by seizing its assets and breaking its trade agreements. The USA politically, economically and diplomatically forced the war to start for reasons that are well studied and accepted now. Japan was appealing for peace before the beginning of the war and at the end of the war, it was the USA's blunt refusal, insults and breaking of agreement that forced its hands and caused the Pacific War for its own political and economic interests.

However, despite that, and despite the hopeless situation and vast lack of resources (which it knew perfectly well), Japan was largely successful in its aims of leading or provoking other Asian nations to become more independent of the White super powers and to economic co-prosperity.

Which remains a threat to the USA which is why the USA is still in Asia causing a threat to peace in the region.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The big problem with the American view of the history is that it only starts at 'the Pearl Habor mass brainwashing', which was and has been since deliberately manufactured to obscure everything that went before, everything that was going on at the higher end of politics and the unethical nature of their own government's actions and intentions.

Issues and events too boring and complex for the average individual to want to invest themselves in understanding.

Example, who among them knows how much military power was in China, what they were doing, what the Silver Purchase Act of 1934 was for (there's not even a Wikipedia page about it), what the unequal treaties were, how many military documents are still sealed, the degree of racism at the League of Nations and the implications it had.

I doubt few even know Japan was America's ally in WWI, and looked up to it greatly, and ask why that changed?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

All readers back on topic please. From here on, posts that do not focus on Okinawa will be removed.

Seems the Co-Prosperity Sphere is alive and well. It seems to have missed Okinawa though.

It's telling how the IJA's responsibility in the deaths of civilians was left out of the speeches. I wonder how pleasant Japan would be if the US had never made it to Okinawa.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It is rather difficult for me to understand why Okinawa people protest against the relocation of the military airport to a safer area. The agreement was made between the Japanese government and a foreign country which Okinawa or any prefecture wouldn't have a say in.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Long story short....

Because of the people leasing land to the US military for millions of dollars....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is rather difficult for me to understand why Okinawa people protest against the relocation of the military airport to a safer area. The agreement was made between the Japanese government and a foreign country which Okinawa or any prefecture wouldn't have a say in.

You and a hell of a lot of other people that actually THINK about what it takes to solve a problem, vs leaving the problem be, for over 20 years now.

Because of the people leasing land to the US military for millions of dollars....

Huh? THe people of Futenma want the base gone, the new expansion at Schwab will not have any people leasing the land so....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Have you talked to the landowners who lease land to the US?

of course they can't say they want the bases to stay, so they use whatever tactics they can to delay the transfer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nao,

Okinawa is demanding USMC Air Station Futenma be closed and returned immediately and unconditionally. But the U.S. is demanding for its replacement be built at a different site in Okinawa. Henoko is less populated than Futenma’s current site and so less hazardous. Indeed, this is one of the reasons why the central government says Henoko is the only alternative for Futenma to be relocated there.

But note that, if that were the reason, Kadena must also be relocated somewhere else; and so must Yokota and Atsugi air stations in Metropolitan Tokyo because the latter two are planted in the middle of far more densely populated residential areas. Kadena has a record of far more serious accidents and so more hazardous than Futenma.

Okinawa is demanding for a fundamental, not makeshift, reduction of base-hosting burden, but the Henoko relocation runs counter to this wish of Okinawa's. We all know the Henoko relocation is being maneuvered not for strategic reasons but purely for political reasons.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Swift_Justice

Seems the Co-Prosperity Sphere is alive and well. It seems to have missed Okinawa though.

In comparison so similarly remote islands, the standard of living is quite high, but who knows what it might have been if they have not been flattened by American genocidal bombing, turned into an army camp and saddled with Japan's burden of America's imperial ambitions within the region.

In the past, the Ryukyuans were wealthy through trade not conquest and good relationships and cultural exchange with China.

The annexing of Okinawa by the Meiji government was again entirely America's responsibility, due to Commodore Perry intrusions in 1853, that leading directly to the demise of Ryukyun culture and language and independence. It's relative poverty in the modern age is directly connected to the 200,000 people who then chose or were forced to leave between 1920 and 1940.

Therefore, it's suffered 160 years of despolation at the hands of US imperial ambitions.

It's about time they got out, backed off and left it alone.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Swift_Justice

I'm sure the US was just waiting for 40 plus years to make it's move.

It was not.

Firstly, look at a map and date the US's encroachment on Japan's sphere of influence.

From 1857; Jarvis, Kingman, Howland and Baker, Midway, Hawaii, Samoa, Philippine and then ... it was already knocking on Japan's door. Formosa and then Okinawa were the next stepping stones.

But look at the map. China came first and it was a vulnerable China that it was focusing its attention on during those years, not being well enough established in Asia, and supported in the US, to take Japan on directly. Much of its attention on selling military capacity to China.

So, what was the USA doing over on the Asian side of the Pacific and working its way up to Japan via Okinawa?

Okinawans were victims in a war of ambition that was not theirs caught between two super-powers. They are still, and still paying the price.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

YubaruToday 05:27 am JST

It is rather difficult for me to understand why Okinawa people protest against the relocation of the military airport to a safer area. The agreement was made between the Japanese government and a foreign country which Okinawa or any prefecture wouldn't have a say in.

You and a hell of a lot of other people that actually THINK about what it takes to solve a problem, vs leaving the problem be, for over 20 years now.

What do you think of the recent S Korean population claiming "2015 comfort women deal" between Japan and S Korea should be trashed because they feels like it? Okinawa people is demanding exactly the same thing.

Because of the people leasing land to the US military for millions of dollars....

Huh? THe people of Futenma want the base gone, the new expansion at Schwab will not have any people leasing the land so....

I wonder what people who lives near the military airport is actually thinking. Do they all join you and claim dissatisfaction with the relocation offer? No one is willing to accept the offer?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@voiceofokinawa

I've never heard Atsugi and Yokota were more dangerous than Futenma.  Still, relocation to Henoko must be better than keeping the airport so close to a residential area.  Especially if the relocation is actually the extension of Camp Schwab and not about creating a new base.

Relocation to Henoko doesn't look like a mere political action, but a reasonable strategic decision to me. What took place in Okinawa is an unspeakable tragedy, but I see a strategic meaning in its location in that Okinawa greatly contributes to the security of Japan as well as other Asian countries. 

The fact is no Japanese citizens have a right to overwrite a bilateral agreement made between the government and a foreign country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nao,

Have you ever seen the aerial photographs of the Yokota air base? And USMC Air Station Futenma? You cannot tell the difference between them; the all three are surrounded by densely populated residential areas.

Do you also know the fact that on April 4, 1964, an F-8 Crusader jet fighter that had come from Kadena Air Base crashed into the midtown of Machida, causing fatal and serious damage in the town? On September 27, 1977, a Marine F-4 Phantom II reconnaissance jet fighter that had taken off from Atsugi Air Base crashed into a densely-populated residential area in Yokohama City.

So now you know Yokota and Atsugi are equally as dangerous as Futenma, Nay, they are more dangerous than the Futenma air station where, fortunately enough, no such serious accidents have ever occurred.

Governments make grave mistakes too often; they are not infallible at all. If you think otherwise, then you  must really be a very naive person.You suggest the Henoko relocation was agreed on between the two governments whereby Okinawa can't have any say about it. 

The U.S. marines are stationed on Okinawa not necessarily for the defense of Japan and yet they occupy so large areas of Okinawa's land, sea and air spaces, all provided by the Tokyo government for free use. Under such circumstances, what's the meaning of constructing a new facility at Henoko for them?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@voiceofokinawa

OK, Yokota, Atsugi, Futenma are all dangerous.  The government is offering extra support for Okinawa to prevent tragedies through Henoko then. 

It will be unreasonable to claim the agreement between Japan and the US over Henoko as a grave mistake, however.  Okinawa people may argue otherwise, but it would only impress me with their unlawfulness. Japan should have a vibrant opposing party against LDP, but Okinawa's argument against Henoko is as powerless as that of DP. 

The U.S. marines are stationed on Okinawa not necessarily for the defense of Japan and yet they occupy so large areas of Okinawa's land, sea and air spaces, all provided by the Tokyo government for free use.

It is not the Tokyo government, but a Japanese government.  Are you not a Japanese?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The best way to improve the security of Japan is to remove the US presence and refuse to be part of the aggressive US policy of the encirclement of China.

China is not aggressing and encircling the USA, the USA is aggressing and encircling China is not.

Okinawan was always a gateway between the two.

And let us also not forget the Okinawans who refuse to take American money as the land grab and occupation was not legal and the did not agree to give away their land forever.

Some parties are attempting to create a bogeyman out of China. Look at the idiotic reactions to words like Communism and Socialism in the US. They are utterly clueless about what it means and what effects they have had on workers. Look at how China acts in its worldwide expansion verus how America acts in its worldwide expansion for the evidence of which party is the controlling aggressor.

Why should Okinawa worry? Okinawa would only ever be in any fireline that might arise because of the American presence. Not because of anything Okinawans are or have done.

Certainly, without Washington-Tokyo domination, Okinawa would swing towards China and, probably more to the Left, aka its original more communal form of society, but that would be its democratic right to negotiate.

The US is not in anywhere in Japan for any Japanese interests. Its military is an uncomfortable reminder of its historical arrogance, discrimination, and beligerence.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I can't recall any group of people other than Okinawa who is willing to accept Chinese governance over them at this time and period.

It is not about the inequality of the US military presence, but about Chinese governance vs Japanese/US governance, communist culture vs free culture, it seems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nao,

You admitted Yokota, Atsugi and Futenma are all dangerous. Then why is it that only Futenma must be subject to relocation at all? What I want to point out here is that the central government's explanation as to why Futenma must be relocated to Henoko because it is located in densely populated residential area is nothing but shenanigans. If the central government's argument holds, then in the same vein Yokota and Atsugi must also be relocated somewhere else. 

The Henoko relocation is a grave mistake on several counts. First of all, Futenma sits on private land which the U.S. military expropriated in sheer violation of Article 46 of the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land. In other words, Futenma squats on private land plots illegally. Therefore, the U.S. cannot demand its replacement be built at Henoko in exchange for its return. The central government must not sanction such dubious demand and dealings in the first place, but if it did it would mean the government itself was committing treason against the nation.

You must know that the Henoko relocation is tantamount to selling Okinawa’s sovereignty to the U.S. once for all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Then why is it that only Futenma must be subject to relocation at all?

Probably because the OPG is the only entity complaining about the bases.

You must know that the Henoko relocation is tantamount to selling Okinawa’s sovereignty to the U.S. once for all.

An absolutely laughable statement.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Okinawa's sovereignty lies with Japan, the nation it is a part of and no one else.

Your arguments are always so cringe worthy and your inability to ever listen to reason if it doesn't agree with your beliefs is just childish.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

CrucialS,

Probably because the OPG is the only entity complaining about the bases.

Iwakuni City in Yamaguchi Prefecture granted the expansion of a Marine base there and even accepted the government's plan (or rather the U.S. government's plan) to relocate Atsugi-based 59 fighter jets to the Marine base there in return for lavish aid money.

If Okinawa is unique among all prefectures to oppose such governmental blunders, it should be lauded highly rather than be lambasted.

Okinawa's sovereignty lies with Japan, the nation it is a part of and no one else.

U.S. bases are like concessions in 19th-century China where residing foreigners enjoyed extraterritorial rights to their heart's content. Building a new base for the U.S. is like selling sovereignty over parts of Okinawa or Okinawa itself, making Okinawa or parts of it extraterritorial concessions. The central government's colluding with the U.S. to realize the Henoko relocation scheme is thus an act of high treason. This must be prevented by all means.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The US victory over Japan was a victory of good or evil. Period.

And the occupation of Okinawa by imperialist American forces is "evil" if we're going down that absolutism route.

But eventually, the evil empire will crumble and Okinawa will be free. A brave people. A "good" people.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What is it all really about though. On one hand, China is not going to invade either Okinawa or Japan.

On the other hand, if China did attack, the US would pull out and avoid a conflict that they could not win. China is not another Taliban.

So what is the Okinawa occupation all about? A conveniently placed, safe 'stop off' half way between the US and wherever in the Middle East they are wrecking at present, with a convenient 'mock Asian jungle' training ground attached? A role play to financially benefit the great, greedy military-industrial complex that sucks hard at America's teat.

Why should the Okinawans have to suffer to benefit them?

Wouldn't it be cheaper to build their own 'mock Asian jungle' somewhere else in USA territories?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Despite vehement local opposition, the construction work has started already. To see dump-trucks dump the load of stones into the white beaches and into the sea is like having one's fingers and limbs cut off one by one. It's not too late to stop this havoc, though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

utorsa:

Given that America genocidally slaughtered over a quarter of the island's entire civilian population it is understandable that the people of Okinawa want to kick the U.S. military out.

"Genocide" you say? I suggest you consult a dictionary before you use that word again.

America initiated military action against Japan before Pearl Harbor. 

As for the AVG, a.k.a. the "Flying Tigers", yes they did arrive in the Chinese theater of operations before the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, they arrived (1) three years after the start of the Imperial Japanese Army's "annihilation campaign" in north China which, by the way, was approved by Emperor Showa (Hirohito). (2) That was followed by another such campaign in 1940 against the Chinese called the "Three Alls": "kill all, burn all, loot all".

Have you opened your dictionary yet?

One major difference between the AVG and the IJN's attack on Pearl Harbor was this: the former was in a country occupied by an aggressor, Japan, the latter directly against the territory of a sovereign nation. The purpose of the Pearl Harbor attack was to cripple the US Pacific fleet so it could not intervene against the IJS's planned seizure of SE Asian resources.

I heard your arguments nearly 40 years ago in Japan. They were rubbish then and they are rubbish now.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Bill,

your history is 40 years out of date too.

The Flying Tigers reference is a bit of a distraction for the real deal, the extent of the US's involvement fighting a proxy war against Japan hand in hand and via the Nationalists. For example, the building and training of the Nationalist's Air Force by the US and Curtiss-Wright, the provision of 100s of bombers, vast loans and military equipment, specialists and advisors, the building of arms and munitions factories.

It does seem to be covered in US history books especially the school ones, hence the degree of early indoctrination of Americans, and much of the official records about it still remain closed.

In the case of Okinawa, I think 150,000 out of a population of 500,000 would clearly constitute a genocide. Adding on to which the nigh total destruction of all cultural assets and infrastructure and it might be possible to argue it was an ethnic cleansing, defined as "a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas".

Ryukyuans (Okinawans) were of a separate ethnic group from the Japanese.

The purpose of the Pearl Harbor attack was a response to the American seizure of Japanese assets and the breaking of trade agreements that would have crippled Japan both domestically (economically) and overseas.

The set up was merely a stepping stone to the planned US domination of the region (see Stillwell, 1936).

China was "a country occupied by an aggressor (Japan)", the region was divided and occupied by numerous imperial forces, of which the USA was one.

To put it bluntly, there would not have been a major conflict in China has the US not been fueling and stoking the fires ... just as we see them do today and have seen them do many times since WWII.

Which, by the way, was all approved by the Presidents of the USA. (What on earth has the Hirohito comment got to do with anything?).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Sorry, that should have read,

"China was not a country occupied by an aggressor (Japan)".

The region was torn, divided and occupied by numerous imperial forces, of which the USA was one. It would be hard to describe it as an operating "country".

BTW, look into Homer Lea and the 1,000s of Chinese military personnel trained up in the USA long before Chennault went, the extent of US naval vessels, and the 30,000 GIs fighting the Japanese from 1938. Do you think the Japanese did not notice them and that the Nationalist Army was being trained, armed and led by Americans?

And ask why most of the American living in the international zones of Shanghai and Beijing were removed weeks before Pearl Harbors.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

First, thank you for your comments, Hammerhead. I hope they were widely read.

In the case of Okinawa, I think 150,000 out of a population of 500,000 would clearly constitute a genocide.

First of all, it is important to agree on terminology. I would agree with the following definition of genocide: "Acts committed with INTENT (emphasis mine) to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group". (UN Genocide Convention, 1948)

While the death toll among Okinawans was huge, it was not an act of genocide. 

(It seems that some people would make a case for Okinawan independence based on victimhood rather than on the will of the Okinawan people as expressed in a plebiscite.)

The purpose of the Pearl Harbor attack was a response to the American seizure of Japanese assets and the breaking of trade agreements that would have crippled Japan both domestically (economically) and overseas.

I think you are referring to this sequence of Roosevelt Administration actions:

(1) 1939: US termination of 1911 commercial treaty with Japan;

(2) July 1940: US Export Control Act (embargo on essential defense materials and later aviation fuel and scrap metals)

(3) (effective) October 1940: embargo on scrap steel and iron excepting Britain and the Western Hemisphere;

(4) July 1941: Japanese assets frozen in response to IJA occupation of French Indo-China

(5) late July 1941: embargo on export to Japan of all grades of oil.

(source: Robert Higgs, Independent Institute: "How U.S. Economic Warfare Provoked Japan's Attack on Pearl Harbor")

These actions would indeed severely hamper Japan's ongoing military campaign in China.

The purpose of the Pearl Harbor attack was a response ...

"response"?

The purpose of the Pearl Harbor attack was not a prod to reopen trade negotiations or punish the Roosevelt Administration for putting the Empire of Japan in an "untenable position" as Foreign Minister Toyoda wrote at the end of July 1941. It was to gain time to secure Japanese conquests against counterattack.

Some will argue that Japan had a right to build an empire. Hadn't western nations done just that? If one accepts this reasoning then isn't one therefore recognizing the right of any nation to empire? Unless, of course, one believes that one sort of empire is more beneficial and compassionate towards the conquered than another. Rubbish whether it's Japanese, American, British and whomever.

What on earth has the Hirohito comment got to do with anything?

You mean "Emperor Hirohito", don't you? The point of mentioning him in my posting is that, ostensibly, the Government's, IJA's and IJN's actions were in accordance with his will. Necessary fiction if the military and industrialists were to enjoy the glory and wealth accrued by empire building. That's the whole point of empires, isn't it?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Readers, please keep the discussion focused on Okinawa.

150,000 out of 500,000 is one in every three people.

If I was to quibble with you in court over the use of the word "intent", I would have to agree with your the Americans had no "intent" to carry out the genocide of Okinawans and the final act of destruction of Ryukyuan culture on the basis that the Americans did not even take into the slightest consideration the Okinawan people. An independent people separate from "the Japanese".

Rubbing them out, women, children and non-combatants all, in a "typhoon of steel" kind of makes the more recent "collateral damage" in the Middle East look modest by comparison. I would call it a contemptible callousness born out a racist imperial tradition that had warmed up by wiping the Native Americans out, carrying out a brutal genocide on Philippines and had been devilling in China before finally taking on Japan.

It is as if they did not even recognize the Okinawans and their culture's existence sufficiently enough to even have the intent to wipe them out. Except, perhaps for the 500 year old Shuri castle which they most definitely wanted to destroy. Not a thought to the cultural value of it.

Add to your reading list Stilwell's papers (the planning of an inevitable war with Japan from at least 1936). and ask the government to open the records of the Military Assistance Advisory Group. Stilwell was, of course, commander in the late stages of the Battle of Okinawa.

I am going to use two words which will seem to be merely lazily offensive but they are not meant to be. I am using them with particular accuracy.

I would describe the popular understanding of the Pacific War in the US, and all those subjected by its propaganda, as 'moronic ignorance', "Pearl Harbor" occupying the same place as an unquestionable religious myth in its mind, including the belief ... the blindness ... of thinking the war only started when the first Japanese bullet was fired.

Pressumably you are not that stupid and know that war moves through various stages before the first bullet is fired?

A big part of that "moronic ignorance" is the ignorance of the role, and the extent of it, that the US was playing in China during the first half of the century and its causal role in the conflict that happened.

The Okinawan were, and still are, treated as sub-humans by the USA, treated in a way that it would never dare treat Americans.

Their continued subjugation and suffering is a shame on all Americans.

In short, never mind Okinawa but the entire Far East would have had a far easier time and be in a far better circumstances today, in the USA had just butted out and kept to its own side of the Pacific. But then, ensure it did not and ensuring American dominance and profit, is what it was all about. The value of the Okinawans in that world view was approximately ZERO. Hence their expendability.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

150,000 Okinawans ... and Stilwell walks free. How and why?

Sticking around and impinging on a people you have carried out such a genocide of increasing their humiliation and even breeding a dependency within them, is beyond insensitivity or callous.

It is evil.

For what exactly? What is it really for?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bill Murphy, excellent post.

Hammerhead, student lib marxism 101. You pass!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

From what very little I know about Marxism, human rights or humanism was never its strong point but I appreciate to an American it's just a "boogey word" and a cheap insult.

Let's keep the discussion focused on the American genocide of the Okinawans, the wilful slaughter of women and children, and it's continued, unwelcomed occupation of the island.

What was it really all for?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Question, and statements, still stands.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In the pre-war days the Japanese were often accused of copying everything Western. I heard that accusation even in the 1960's when I traveled in the U.S.  I think there's some truth in such accusations. But that is the merit and  advantage of the Japanese culture and the Japanese people. You may call it the Japanese people's magnanimity and generosity toward different cultures; with which Japan has adopted foreign cultures very skillfully, eventually integrating them into their own.   

Empire building was the fashion of the times before 1945 and Japan tried hard to emulate Western powers to build an own, calling itself the Great Empire of Japan. Japan's forceful annexation of Ryukyu Kingdom (1872), secession of Taiwan (1895), amalgamation of Korea (1910), creation of puppet state Manchukuo (1932) and finally full-scale invasion of China (1937) . must all be understood in this context.

The controversy on this thread between Hammerhead and Bill Murphy as to who started the war between Japan and the U.S. puts one in a chicken and egg situation. But at least one thing seems clear now. Pearl Harbor was not the cause of the war and so it's wrong to say Okinawa's current status as a U.S. military colony is the end result of Pearl Harbor. To say it is the result of the bilateral agreement called the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty is a chicanery even more.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@voiceofokinawa

Whatever you say, Japan declared and lost a war against the US and the Allies. 

You say Okinawa was not a apart of Japan, but what language did people of Okinawa speak originally then?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Nao

The Ryukyuan languages.

You seem stuck as a school book level of understanding of the nature of international conflict.

The US war against Japan started in the 1980s and, funnily enough, with Commodore Perry violently forcing his way into the King's castle on Okinawa.

Perry was, of course, not acting on behalf of the American people but American industry and businessmen (in particularly the oil industry which, at the time, was whale based and want to empty the seas around Japan).

You can't be Japanese if you are not aware of this most basic history.

Perry had earlier proposed to to President Franklin Pierce to seize the Ryukyuan Islands as an American “protectorate” ... so you can see this was a long sought and planned strategy.

The purpose was "“the occupation of the principal ports of those islands for the accommodation of our ships of war” which is exactly what we have to day, updated for technology, ie including aircraft.

What happened immediately after?

A drunken spree of mayhem by Perry's sailors in Naha, starting with robberies, forcible entries into house, rape and violence that can be specifically dated, as it is on record.

Therefore, they clearly started as they intended to carry on (“a most gross outrage on a female”).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You can't be Japanese if you are not aware of this most basic history.

Oh! Really?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You can't be Japanese if you are not aware of this most basic history.

I can write in Japanese a whole lot better than in English, thank you. 

Is the Ryukyuan language a different language from Japanese and not one of many dialects existing in Japan? 

For examples, TV programs using Tsugaru dialect offer subtitles for standard Japanese speakers, but Tsugaru dialect is still a variation of Japanese. Located at the furthest south of Japan, the Ryukyuan dialect may require translations just like Tsugaru dialect, but I doubt it is an independent language of its own.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Ryukyuan languages are not mutually intelligible with each other never mind mutually intelligible with Japanese, therefore they are considered separate languages. That means, neither party can understand each others language unlike, say, Scandinavia where Danes can understand Swedes and Swedes can understand Norwegians. They are more different.

Perry forced Ryukyuan officials under threat of bombardment to sign a convention imposing a system of extraterritoriality which placed foreign residents under the jurisdiction of their respective nations’ consular courts, exempting them from Japanese/Ryukyuan law.

It was the same approach applied by United States to the nations of Latin America throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the island nations as they crossed the Pacific, and postwar U.S. military policies toward Japan where the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) exempts Americans and their bases from key provisions of Japanese law, especially in Okinawa.

Perry's approach to the castle and its sovereign, was to line up his artillery and marines at the gate and demand an audience.

The King at that time was 10 years old. Perry refused to speak to his representative officials.

Perry then forced Ryukyuan officials to sign what he called the “Lew Chew Compact" and ordered a company of marines deployed to Ameku Temple until they agreed to sign the entire document.

Of course, it's an entirely one way document.

The US celebrates these “friendship" and “friendship treaties” to this day.

http://www.baxleystamps.com/litho/lew_chew_compact.shtml

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Ameku Temple was completely destroyed in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

what language did people of Okinawa speak originally then?

There were (are) several indigenous Ryukyuan languages. They are related to the Japanese language, but are not mutually intelligible with either Japanese or each other. They do have a common root, in much the same way that English, French and German have a common root; that doesn't make them the same language. The Ryukyus had little contact with Japan for centuries (unlike the constant coming and goings in Europe) and travel between the far-flung islands was difficult, allowing increasing linguistic divergence.

The Japanese government took over the Ryukyu Kingdom towards the end of the 19th century and began to suppress the use of native languages (typical colonial behaviour) so that these languages declined almost to the point of extinction, and they became strongly influenced by Japanese. During WW2 it was illegal to use Ryukyuan; today the official policy is to promote preservation of the native languages, though the influence of Japanese is now so strong that most Okinawan children are monoglot in (more or less) standard Japanese.

Still, stand around in the Okinawan countryside listening to the older locals chatter amongst themselves, and no matter how good your Japanese is, you will probably not understand a word that is being said.

Located at the furthest south of Japan, the Ryukyuan dialect may require translations just like Tsugaru dialect, but I doubt it is an independent language of its own.

Doubt all you like. Tsugaru-ben is a Japanese dialect, maybe as incomprehensible to a Tokyoite as my Lancashire dialect is to a Londoner, but Japanese all the same. Ryukuan is not a dialect, it is several separate languages.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Cleo, do you know if Uchinaaguchi borrowed hiragana characters? I vaguely remember reading somewhere that they used it in the Chuzan kingdom but can't remember if that's accurate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm also in 'vaguely remember' mode here.... I think in the past the Ryukyuan languages were written much more like modern Japanese, with kanji and hiragana (both borrowed from Japan), at a time when Japan was struggling to use classical Chinese to write Japanese with, and basically only women used hiragana.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'd have to put 2 + 2 together and assume Japan's annexation of Ryukyu Kingdom (1872), was at least partly a security response to the US's intervention but I've never read up about the causes. I do know, however, that Japan felt it necessary to legitimize it's borders in the light of western international law it was now being subjected to (and which under it formalized its annexation of the Senkakus).

For their part, the Okinawans wanted it to be clearly know that they were signing the Lew Chew Compact under compulsion which, under law, would have nullified it. Their demands for conditions were not met.

Ironically enough, Perry's initial contact with Okinawa was not only the first moment of contact between the United States and Okinawa, but also the first time that U.S. military forces committed crimes against the Okinawan people.

Shortly after docking, an American sailor 'Board' broke into the house of an Okinawan woman and raped her. Upon hearing the woman's screams, several villagers gave pursuit, and he either fell into the port or was drowned. Perry demanded a staged “judicial trial” for the Ryukyuans who had pursued him leading to his death and presented the young girl who was raped with a few yards of cloth as compensation for the assault.

Nothing like starting as you mean to go on ...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yup, found the reference ...

"U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry signed a treaty with Lew Chew (Ryukyu Kingdom) on July 11, 1854. Other European powers followed with similar trade agreements, which led to increased unease from Lew Chew’s northern neighbor, Japan. In late 1874, Japan started to more closely incorporate the Lew Chew islands into the Meiji Empire. In 1875 Japan posted a military garrison in Lew Chew. The Japanese Government annexed Lew Chew in 1879, abolished the Lew Chew monarchy, and made it the southern frontier of the Japanese islands."

Thank you America.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Just because travel was difficult among little islands, various dialects developed into a unique set of languages?? 

Japan had governed Taiwan from the late 19th century, but they speak Chinese today. Why not Okinawa as well?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just because travel was difficult among little islands, various dialects developed into a unique set of languages??

Basically yes, that's the way it works. Thick jungles and mountain ranges do the same thing in other parts of the world.

Japan had governed Taiwan from the late 19th century, but they speak Chinese today. 

Lots of older Taiwanese do speak Japanese; it was taught compulsorily in schools from the late 19th century to 1945. Emigrants from mainland China after that time spoke Mandarin, and that is now the official national language and the only official medium of instruction in schools. So of course everyone who went to school in the past 70 years or so speaks Mandarin. There are/were umpteen indigenous Formosan languages which after decades of being suppressed in favour of first Japanese and then Chinese are now to all intents and purposes extinct or at least endangered. This is politics, not linguistics.

Why not Okinawa as well?

Not sure I understand the question. Since the war, Taiwan has been subject to Chinese influence, and the people speak Chinese; Okinawa in the same period has been subject to Japanese influence, and the people speak Japanese. In both places, older people retain some of the former languages. Why not what Okinawa as well?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Nao,

Another factor you might look into in order to understand why Okinawa, and indeed the Senkakus and so on, are not Chinese is the Chinese bans on large ships - the Haijin - from the 14 to 18th Centuries. Both required dangerous, deep water crossings to get to that would not have been safe if the kind of ships they had.

The military dictatorship of the Kuomintang (the Chinese Nationalist kicked out by Maoists) made Mandarin the official language and the primary language of instruction in schools over the native Taiwanese languages. The earlier Chinese spoken was Min Nan of the Fujian region where most of the earlier migrants came from.

Okinawa had good trading relationships with old China and, in essence, paid tax to be left alone (tributes) but was not subject to China. It remained an independent state.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@cleo

Taiwan was already largely populated by Chinese by the time Japan started governing the country. Taiwan's majority population regained the ability to use Chinese as soon as Japan left the country. Okinawa can't/couldn't regain their "original language" because of what reasons? Even if Japan let go of Okinawa, their original languages or more likely dialects would not have returned. 

@Hammerhead

Whether Mandarin or other variety of Chinese dialects, I'm sure it was Chinese nonetheless.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Taiwan's majority population regained the ability to use Chinese as soon as Japan left the country.

The Japanese administration was replaced by a Chinese administration that mandated the use of Mandarin and only Mandarin as the official language. Taiwan's majority population did not 'regain the ability to use Chinese', they had Mandarin thrust upon them, much as they had previously had Japanese thrust upon them. The 'original language(s)' are unlikely ever to recover; Taiwanese Hokkien, a dialect of Chinese that differs somewhat from mainland Hokkien and has some unintelligibility issues with Mandarin, is still widespread, but even its use is dropping among the young in favour of Mandarin.

Okinawa can't/couldn't regain their "original language" because of what reasons?

There is little incentive for Okinawa to 'retain their original language(s)' except in a secondary capacity. Japan has not and is not likely to leave, and Okinawans are, now, Japanese. With everything else kids struggle with in their crowded school curriculum, why would they want to devote time to learning a language they see as outdated and unnecessary, when they've got kokugo tests and English conversation tests to cope with?

(Note I'm talking about language, not dialect; Okinawans rightly revel in their local dialect as other peoples do, and use it as a tourist attraction. We've all seen the 'Mensore' signs at the airports, and the 'Uminchu' T-shirts.)

Even if Japan let go of Okinawa, their original languages or more likely dialects would not have returned.

There are no 'what if's in history. Japan did not let go of Okinawa and is unlikely ever to, so your scenario is mere conjecture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nao  (June 29 06:41 pm JST),

Whatever you say, Japan declared and lost a war against the US and the Allies.

Because Japan lost the war to the U.S.,  is it OK for the victorious U.S. to use Okinawa for whatever purpose it  considers suit? But the occupation of Japan must have ended concomitantly with the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, into which regime Okinawa was incorporated in 1972. Bases in Okinawa has remained intact and so the pseudo-occupation of Okinawa continued, contrary to our expectation and wish.

Do you think this state of affairs must go on forever because of Japan’s defeat in the war?

You say Okinawa was not a part of Japan, but what language did people of Okinawa speak originally then?

Sure enough, until 1872 Okinawa was not a part of Japan nor of any other country; it was an independent kingdom, albeit tributary to both China and the Satsuma Clan or the Tokugawa shogunate behind it.

Okinawa, a.k.a. Ryukyu Kingdom, signed trade agreements (friendship treaties) with the U.S. (1854), France (1855) and the Netherlands (1859). These facts clearly show the three countries recognized then Ryukyu Kingdom as an independent sovereignty.

When asked during a Dietary session if Japan's forceful annexation of the kingdom was legal or not, Foreign Affairs officials charged with international treaties replied, "It's very difficult to answer the question at present (Ryukyu Shimpo: 7/12/2014)." 

Linguistically speaking, it's an established theory that Ryukyuan languages (Okinawa, Miyako, ishigaki,Yonaguni, Amami)and Japanese dialects are all members of the same language family.  In other  words, they derive from the same parent language called proto-Japanese.

But linguistic proximity doesn't guarantee two linguistic groups constitute one nation. Look at Switzerland where German, French, Italian and Romansh are natively spoken and yet the four regions speaking different languages constitute one nation. On the other hand, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Rumanian are derived from the proto-language called Romance and yet the four linguistic regions are separate nations.

Just one last word:

In 1972, Okinawa's decades-old struggles and wish to return to Japan was fulfilled and so Okinawa is definitely a part of Japan now. Although the reversion was not in line with what Okinawan  people wished (the substantial reduction of bases and base-hosting burden), the majority of the populace are satisfied with the return of Okinawa to Japan (The Ryukyu Shimpo: 5/9/2017).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Addendum,

The Abe government's forging ahead of the construction of a new base at Henoko is certainly alienating the najority of Okinawans' self-identity as Japanese because the Henoko relocation means nothing but selling sovereignty over Okinawa or part of it to a foreign power. How can one describe this situation except by saying "high treason"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Abe government's forging ahead of the construction of a new base at Henoko is certainly alienating the najority of Okinawans' self-identity as Japanese because the Henoko relocation means nothing but selling sovereignty over Okinawa or part of it to a foreign power. How can one describe this situation except by saying "high treason"?

The sad reality is in these times Okinawa will be occupied by China without an American base or Japanese SDF for its geopolitical location.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nao,

The sad reality is in these times Okinawa will be occupied by China without an American base or Japanese SDF for its geopolitical location.

There's no denying that Okinawa is literally and physically being occupied by U.S. forces. But that Okinawa will be invaded and occupied by China unless Futenma is relocated to Henoko is nothing but a fancy based completely on your imagination. You must prove that, unless the function of USMC Air Station Futenma were relocated to Henoko, Okinawa would become an easy target of Chinese forces' invasion and occupation.

When discussing your case, you must take into account the fact that the most active core elements of Okinawa-deployed marines are to be relocated to Guam; that they are training skills for jungle warfare at Northern Training Area (a.k.a. Jungle Warfare Center) and their wing units are training night-time refueling skills for Ospreys to fly to .and aid Southeast Asian allies in case jungle wars occur there..

You must also take into consideration that primary responsibility for defending Japan's outlying islands rests with the JSDF and not with the U.S. marines.

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