Okinawa zwischen Krieg und Frieden
Ein Besucher aus Vietnam:
"Okinawa bedeutet in Vietnam die Furcht selbst."
2019: Okinawa's G.I. Brides: Their Lives in America
Source: The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 17 | Issue 21 | Number 1 | Article ID 5322 | Nov 01, 2019
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus.
Okinawa's G.I. Brides: Their Lives in America
Etsuko Takushi Crissey
Translated by Steve Rabson. Excerpted from the book Okinawa's G.I. Brides: Their Lives in America (Honolulu:
University of Hawai'i Press, 2017) with an introduction by the author.
Okinawa Prefecture comprises more than one hundred islands with a population of about 1,400,000. The islands reach to the southernmost tip of Japan where the climate is subtropical. In 1945, after the end of the Pacific War, the U.S. placed Okinawa under military occupation and constructed an extensive network of bases there. The American military seized many privately-owned lands for this purpose, violating basic human rights and igniting widespread protests. Relations between the American military and local residents were strained, to say the least. Yet, even under these circumstances, large numbers of American soldiers and Okinawan women fell in love, married, and moved to the United States. Okinawa's G.I. Brides: Their Lives in America explores this little-studied aspect of postwar history during the U. S. occupation period involving multiple confrontations between the U.S. military and local residents before Okinawa reverted to Japanese administration in 1972. The book presents interviews of women who discuss their lives in the U.S., their opinions of America, and their feelings about Okinawa. The original Japanese version, Okinawa: umi wo watatta Beihei hanayome-tachi, was published by Kobunken in 2000. The English version based on it was completed in 2016 and published in 2017.
Readerships of the English and Japanese editions have been different so, naturally, reactions have differed as well. If one word could sum up readers' reaction to the Japanese edition, it would be "sympathy;" for readers of the English edition, it would be "surprise." Many readers of the Japanese edition felt sympathy because they knew women among their relatives or friends who had married American soldiers, and could picture what things were like during the U.S. occupation. Readers of the English edition were surprised because most of them had no idea so many Okinawan women had married American soldiers and lived in the United States. They might have heard of Okinawa, but knew nothing about its complex relationship with the United States. Many couldn't understand why people in Okinawa oppose the American bases. More than seventy years after the end of the Pacific War, the bases continue to pose enormous political and social problems in Okinawa. In the context of what is sometimes called "the Okinawa issue," I am hoping this study of American servicemen's wives can contribute to understanding one aspect of postwar history.