Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 5¾ x 9
978-1-5381-1557-2 • Hardback • March 2018 • $76.00 • (£58.00)
978-1-4422-1563-4 • Paperback • March 2018 • $31.00 • (£23.99)
978-1-5381-1556-5 • eBook • March 2018 • $29.50 • (£22.99)
Gavan McCormack is emeritus professor at the Australian National University.
Satoko Oka Norimatsu is an editor of the Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.
Preface to the Second Edition
Notes on Names
Chapter 1: Ryukyu/Okinawa: From Disposal to Resistance
Chapter 2: War, Memory, and Commemoration
Chapter 3: Japan’s American Embrace and the “Partnership” for Peace and Prosperity
Chapter 4: Okinawa: Separation and Reversion
Chapter 5: Henoko: The Unwanted Base
Chapter 6: The Hatoyama Revolt
Chapter 7: Post–Cold War: Elections and Democracy
Chapter 8: Environment: The “Nonassessment”
Chapter 9: “Deepening” the Alliance: The Kan Agenda
Chapter 10: “Deepening” the Alliance: Washington Agendas
Chapter 11: Senkaku/Diaoyu: Okinawa as Militarized Outpost or as Bridge of Nations?
Chapter 12: Turning History Around: History as Lived Experience
Chapter 13: Prospect
Chapter 14: The All-Okinawa Movement since 2013
Index About the Authors
In recent years, the main source of friction in the US–Japanese defense relationship has been local opposition to the basing of U.S. marines on the Japanese island of Okinawa. . . . McCormack and Norimatsu lay bare the resentment’s deeper historical roots. . . . The larger frame for McCormack and Norimatsu’s analysis is their sharply worded indictment of the US–Japanese relationship, which they believe is constructed not so much to defend Japan as to serve a US forward deployment strategy aimed at Southeast Asia and China.
— Andrew J. Nathan, Columbia University; Foreign Affairs
The U.S. bases in Okinawa continue to be an irritant in bilateral relations. This book shifts our focus from Tokyo and Washington to the perceptions and grievances of Okinawans and why they oppose the US presence. The authors help readers understand a grassroots democratic movement challenging the garrison island status quo.
— Japan Times
Resistant Islands draws a wide picture around the efforts by the people of the Okinawa island chain, Japan's southernmost prefecture, to throw off the enormous US military presence lodged on their limited land area since the horrific battles of early 1945, when a quarter of the Okinawan population died as drafted civilian pawns in the defense.
Deeply informed and rich in insight, this study brings to light the conquest of the peaceful and prosperous territory of Okinawa, its brutal integration into the nation-state/imperial system of East Asia, and after the murderous slaughter of World War II its conversion to a U.S. military base under the administration of America’s Japanese client state. And finally the courageous resistance of a proud people determined to regain what has been lost in centuries of oppression and to lead the way to an Asian community of justice and hope. It is a tale of horror and inspiration, with lessons of large and enduring significance.
— Noam Chomsky, Laureate Professor, University of Arizona
You may pick up this book because you think you ought to read an "Okinawan-centered" view of modern Japanese history, but you will find yourself riveted and wanting to recommend it to friends with no particular ties to Japan or Okinawa. The peculiar and noxious US-Japan dance designed to defer, preferably forever, respect for sovereignty, constitutionality, and democracy, in Japan as a whole and in Okinawa especially, makes for sober reading for citizens of the United States and the world. The outlines may be familiar to those who’ve had US interests reign paramount in their own societies, but the painstakingly researched details will find all readers catching their breath. The whole is written with the graceful clarity of principled commitment. The penultimate chapter, devoted to transmitting the voices of Okinawan activists spanning several generations, an enactment of such principle, is a gift to all readers.
— Norma Field, University of Chicago
Resistant Islands is a tour de force—not only a stunning introduction to the resilience and vision of the people of Okinawa but also a devastating critique of official Tokyo’s obsequiousness to dictates emanating from Washington.
— John Dower, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Okinawa problem is a key pivot of modern Japan. It condenses the internal tensions between East Asia and the West, between war and peace; within it the most basic contradictions of the contemporary world are concentrated. This book possesses keen and spirited insight, revealing that these deep contradictions belong to Okinawa and to human kind.
— Sun Ge, Chinese Academy of Social Science, Beijing
Why, despite the end of the Cold War and the end of Liberal Democratic Party predominant party rule, does Okinawa still host 75 percent of US military installations in a prefecture making up no more than 0.6 percent of the land mass of the Japanese archipelago? Placing the base issue in the historical context of Japan's incorporation of the Ryukyu Islands into the Japanese state in the 1870s and the 'smoke and mirrors' reversion of Okinawa from US control to formal Japanese sovereignty in 1972, Gavan McCormack and Satoko Oka Norimatsu offer a trenchant analysis of the fate of the islands as a military outpost of the American eagle. With chapters on the current battle over the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko in the face of local resistance, along with a penetrating analysis of the alliance under Prime Ministers Hatoyama and Kan, this book should be read by everyone interested in understanding the true nature of the US-Japan alliance from the perspective of the inhabitants of Okinawa.
— Glenn D. Hook, University of Sheffield
Essential reading for all those interested in Pacific politics, even if they do not share the authors' passionate sympathy for the underdog. Apart from the book's readability, its historical depth and accuracy explains why the possibility that the Okinawan public might opt for Chinese rather than Japanese sovereignty—which is already agitating Japan's right-wing—will play a crucial role in the coming US-Chinese Cold War. The Japanese government is caught between a rock and a hard place. The hard place is Okinawa, but the rock, the deep military alliance with the United States, is of the Japanese governmental elite's own choosing.
— Ronald Dore, Grizzana, Italy
Resistant Islandsoffers unique perspectives on the island’s tragic history and current plight.
— Asian Studies Review
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary US-Japan relations. It draws on public statements and 'confidential' communications by officials of both governments . . . They reveal, in graphic detail and colorful language, the unrelieved condescension of US officials and the shameless subservience of their Japanese counterparts in this decidedly '[un]equal partnership.' The messages include 'secret accords' to maintain extraterritorial status for U.S. forces in Japan and to perpetuate the disproportionate US military presence in Okinawa with the option to introduce nuclear weapons even after its reversion to Japanese administration in 1972. . . .The most moving portions of this book are the personal statements by individuals who have resisted US and Japanese oppression through their public protests, their writings, and their policies as elected officials.
— The Journal of Japanese Studies
Frankly speaking, there are things here that I myself [as Prime Minister of Japan, 2009-2010] was unaware of, including the documents published by Wikileaks. I am impressed at what a thorough job the authors have done.
— Hatoyama Yukio, Former Prime Minister of Japan
At last the indispensable book has appeared. These two non-Okinawan authors have a sensitivity to Okinawa greater than that of many Okinawans. They dig deeply to give us an extremely persuasive account of the problems facing Okinawa, For scholars who would seek the truth about Okinawa. For scholars who would seek the truth about Okinawa, this is a must-have book.
— Ota Masahide, Former Governor of Okinawa
• Winner, A Japan Times Outstanding Book of the Year 2012