Gender on the Rock: Gender, identity, and militarism in Okinawa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

This chapter discusses sexuality, gender and identity in Okinawa today. It critically investigates the relationship between gender formations and island places with focus on the processes of local cultural shift and resilience. It examines the gendered elements of memories, identities and future images of Okinawans. The aim is also to rethink myths and stereotypes about ‘southern’ islanders as exotic and childlike ‘savages’. The gendered impact of the occupation – with large US military bases – is deep, influencing young Okinawans’ views on sexuality, masculinity and family. Many young women are looking for foreign (American) boyfriends and husbands. Okinawan women want to break free from traditional gender and family roles and make their own decisions about their future life. The Okinawan chanpuru, indicating the hybridity of elements from two or more cultures (e.g. American and Japanese), is a key to understanding how Okinawans negotiate their gender identities. Okinawa is a ‘forgotten colony in a postcolonial world’, says Richard Falk, but it is also a forgotten site of resistance to US-steered neoliberal military-industrial development. Islands, like Okinawa, are liminal spaces, ‘good to think with’, for example in the quest for a better understanding of the connection between space, place and gender identity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender and Island Communities
EditorsFirouz Gaini, Helene Pristed Nielsen
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter4
Pages64-81
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-26370-5
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-20841-7
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameGender in a Global/Local World

Keywords

  • Masculinity
  • Okinawa
  • Militarism
  • Identity
  • Gender

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