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Two New Books on Okinawa's Incorporation into Modern Japan

 
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lordameth
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:28 am    Post subject: Two New Books on Okinawa's Incorporation into Modern Japan Reply with quote
I just found out about two new books (scheduled to be released this month, April 2014) which address Okinawa's incorporation or assimilation into Modern Japan.

*The first is Heritage Politics: Shuri Castle and Okinawa's Incorporation into Modern Japan, 1879-2000 by Tze May Loo, whose article in the Asia-Pacific Journal "Shuri Castle's Other History: Architecture and Empire in Okinawa" I found quite fascinating. In the article, Prof. Loo talks about the pre-war transformation of Shuri Castle into a Shinto Shrine, and adoption as a National Treasure, raising questions about how Okinawan history/culture is appropriated or used for Japanese national ends. Is the incorporation of Ryukyu Kingdom sites as National Treasures, Important Cultural Properties, etc. a colonialist appropriation, which either erases Okinawan distinctiveness / past independence and naturalizes Okinawa's incorporation into Japan, or glorifies its conquest, by celebrating its history and culture as part of the greatness of the Japanese nation? Or is it quite the opposite, a culturally respectful move to acknowledge and not ignore the greatness of Ryukyuan history and culture?

*The other book coming out this month is The Boundaries of 'the Japanese' (volume 1): Okinawa 1818-1972 --- Inclusion and Exclusion by Eiji Oguma.

I am less familiar with Oguma's work, and so am not sure what to expect as to his approach, or thematic focus, but the summary on Amazon reads:
Quote:
The dynamics of inclusion and exclusion have operated for centuries in the island chain that constitutes Japan's southernmost prefecture, Okinawa - otherwise known as the Ryukyu Islands. Are the people of Okinawa 'Japanese' or not 'Japanese'? Answers to this puzzling question are explored in this richly-detailed volume, written by one of Japan's foremost public intellectuals, historical sociologist Eiji Oguma. Here, Oguma addresses issues of Okinawan sovereignty and its people's changing historical, cultural, and linguistic identity, over more than 150 years until its 1972 reversion to Japanese control, following its administration by the US from the end of the Pacific War.


Sadly, both books are in the US$70-90+ range, so I don't expect I'll be getting a copy of either any time soon. But, I do hope that my university library picks up copies so I can get a look at them...
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks for the notice. I put in a request for both volumes at the local JF library, but time will tell if they decide to order either (or both).
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