Studying Okinawa

I moved from Tokyo to Okinawa in early February. I never really studied the history of Okinawa before, nor did I think about integrating it into my dissertation until my advisor suggested it — not because I did not think it was useful but rather because it sounded too complicated.

Complicated it is, but I am very glad that I have given it a shot. A huge amount of primary sources were lost owing to the magnitude of the Battle of Okinawa and the US occupation afterwards. But because of their unique historical experiences, each single municipal unit in Okinawa tries to index all the available newspaper articles, publishes them, collects personal accounts, and welcomes outside researchers. Okinawan senior citizens often write memoirs as well. I cannot deny, however, that there is a bit of vacuum in these oral histories and documentations for the early 1920s, but it is not impossible to do prewar history in Okinawa unlike many people’s expectations.

Category(s): Research, Travel

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