From Okinawa to Asia: Making the local struggle transnational
The anti-United States base campaign in Okinawa, or the so-called ‘Okinawa struggle’ (沖縄闘争 in Japanese), tends to be considered that it is a social struggle, unique to Okinawa’s local historical experience and geopolitical position. However, in recent years, there is a growing number of scholarships on the Okinawa struggle from international/transnational perspectives, particularly within East Asia.
They provide us with the implications of this distinctively local struggle in a broader political and social context and compel us to reconsider the spatial scope to be employed in the analysis. A Korean historian Baik Youngseo, for example, calls Okinawa one of the ‘core sites’ (핵심현장 in Korean, 核心現場 in Japanese) of East Asia: a place that enables us to see the contradiction of history of the region along with Korea and Taiwan. Yet, those intellectual works were preceded by civil society and Okinawan activists who crossed the local and national boundaries.
In this presentation, Dr Shin Takahashi will introduce a case of Okinawa-Korea People’s Solidarity, a local Okinawan group that has been leading the internationalisation of their activism since the late 1990s. The history of their grassroots activism shows us the need to take into account multi-scale perspectives to understand the local civil society in the region today.
Shin Takahashi is a historian of modern and contemporary Japan and lecturer in Japanese at School of Languages and Cultures, Victoria University of Wellington.