This conversation with Wendy Matsumura is released along a short report about current movements of protest against the US army’s ubiquitous presence in Okinawa, published in The Funambulist blog. Wendy takes us through the chronology of domination that Ryukyuans (cf. lexicon in the report), then Okinawans had to experience since the 17th century and the various forms of resistance that were opposed to it. From the Satsuma Clan’s claim on the Ryukyu Kingdom, to the Japanese annexation of it, to the US army’s occupation, and finally the current situation of a US imperialism negotiated with the successive Japanese governments and their varying degree of nationalism, we try to cover a period of time to understand how the present resistance of Okinawans is rooted in centuries of similar movements.
Wendy Matsumura is Assistant Professor of Japanese History at University of California in San Diego. She is the author of The Limits of Okinawa: Japanese Capitalism, Living Labor, and Theorizations of Community (Duke University Press 2015).