Naha, Okinawa, Ryukyu - Ryukyuans and friends are outraged over recent comments by Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
Suga recently stated his belief that "the people of Okinawa are coming to an understanding" regarding the construction of the new military base at Henoko, Okinawa. This is despite Okinawan's decades-long resistance to the base.
In February 2019 the people of Okinawa Prefecture voted overwhelmingly against the base, with over 70% of the population voting 'no' and another 9% voting undecided. A petition calling for a stop to the construction started by Peace For Okinawa Coalition President Rob Kajiwara has garnered over 212,000 signatures on it.
Ryukyu independence activist and YouTuber Yuzo Takayama likened Suga's comments to "a stalker who is constantly rejected, but still tries to reinterpret the rejections in a manner favorable to himself."
6/3/2020 0 Comments
STATEMENT REGARDING U.S. PERPETUATED INJUSTICES;
RACISM, OPPRESSION, MILITARISM, and IMPERIALISM
June 3, 2020 For immediate release
The Peace For Okinawa Coalition stands with the American people in their struggle against United States racism, injustice, militarism, and imperialism.
We acknowledge the long history of United States oppression and racism against Native Americans, African Americans, and others.
We acknowledge that U.S. perpetuated injustices; racism, oppression, militarism, environmental degradation, and imperialism, remain deeply embedded to this day.
We grieve over the senseless murder of George Floyd, as well as the numerous others who have been wrongfully murdered by the United States.
We acknowledge that the public demonstrations that began on May 25, 2020 after the murder of Mr. Floyd are a result of generations of ongoing systemic injustice and oppression within the United States.
We acknowledge that throughout these demonstrations United States police and military forces have violently attacked peaceful, law-abiding civilians, including some who were not part of any protest or demonstration. We acknowledge that these attacks have also been targeted against children, elderly, and members of the press. We acknowledge that these attacks have left some civilians seriously and/or permanently injured, including the murder of David McAtee. We acknowledge that United States police and military forces have instigated violence against civilians, and condemn their abuse of power.
We acknowledge that throughout these protests U.S. police and military forces have committed numerous serious human rights violations against civilians, and we call for the United Nations and other international organizations to hold the United States accountable.
In addition to territorial occupation of other nations, we acknowledge the United States has a long history of oppression, militarism, and imperialism against Ryukyu, a de jure independent country under illegal occupation by both the U.S. and Japan. We remain resolute in our opposition to all U.S. and Japanese soldiers and police stationed in Ryukyu against the will of the Ryukyuan people.
5/29/2020 0 Comments
A new English-language article was released today by the Asahi Shimbun about Japan's failed attempt to protect Okinawans from U.S. military crimes.
"Instead of doing the right thing and restore Ryukyu's independence, Japan created a 'safety patrol team' in Okinawa in an attempt to protect Okinawans from U.S. military crimes," tweeted Peace For Okinawa Coalition president Robert Kajiwara. "The attempt has failed, and military crimes are still high."
Click below for the original article by the Asahi Shimbun.
5/28/2020 0 Comments
The Peace For Okinawa Coalition has officially endorsed Brian Evans for U.S. Congress 2020, Hawaii District 2. "Evans is the only candidate so far to support Hawaiian and Ryukyuan rights," said Robert Kajiwara, president of the Peace For Okinawa Coalition.
Evans previously tweeted his support for Kajiwara's petition to save Okinawa from the construction of another military base, stating "I support this. The people of Okinawa deserve their freedom, culture, and respect."
The petition has been promoted by a number of celebrities, including Dr. Brian May of the rock band Queen, and has over 212,000 signatures on it. Nevertheless, the U.S. and Japan continue to push ahead with the construction in spite of strong opposition from Okinawans.
Evans has also called for the protection of Hawaii's Mauna Kea from the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope construction project, as well as the closure of Pohakuloa Training Area and remunerations for Hawaiians. For more on Brian Evans, please check him out on his website BrianEvansForHawaii.com and Twitter account.
President of the Peace For Okinawa Coalition, Robert Kajiwara, has been named "2020 Humanitarian of the Year" by Warlock Asylum International News! Click the link below to see the article:
Historian and President of the Peace For Okinawa Coalition, Robert Kajiwara, Ph.D. A.B.D., recently gave an interview about Ryukyu history and China-Ryukyu relations on the Silk and Steel Podcast. Listen to the podcast for free at the link below!
11/21/2019 0 Comments
A written document has been found that proves the U.S. and Japan had a secret agreement to store nuclear weapons in Okinawa without the knowledge or consent of the Okinawan people. The document then stated the U.S. would lie about the agreement if asked.
On February 23, 2019 in Naha City, Okinawa, a symposium was held in which four young leaders of Okinawa shared their thoughts on the present issues Okinawans are facing. Among the hot issues of the day are the continuing heavy U.S. military presence on tiny Okinawa Island.
The symposium was held just one day before the historic referendum in which the people of Okinawa voted overwhelmingly against the construction of the military base at Henoko – a bay that contains a rare coral reef that is home to hundreds of rare and endangered species, including the Okinawa dugong.
Among today's young Okinawan leaders is Yuzo Takayama, a YouTuber who often discusses Ryukyu issues in fun and relevant ways. His channel, うちなーありんくりんTV, can be translated into English as “Okinawa, This and That.” Takayama is also a music teacher and musician, who specializes in a genre called Ryukyu rock, which is a hybrid of traditional Ryukyuan music with American-style rock.
Takayama lives in Nago City, which is right next to Henoko. He has been a vocal critic of Japan and the United States' handling of the Henoko military base which has had numerous design flaws, such as the “mayonnaise-like” foundation which the base is being built on. Takayama, like many Okinawans, believes that neither Japan nor the U.S. has any respect for the will of the Okinawan people.
Takayama, also like many Okinawans, favors a return of Okinawa's independence.
Okinawa was an independent nation known as Ryukyu or Lewchew up until Japan invaded and annexed Lewchew in 1879. The annexation helped spark the Ryukyu diaspora, where thousands of Ryukyuans fled into exile overseas.
“I want my future children to grow up knowing their Ryukyu identity,” said Lima Tokumori Kinjo. A Peruvian Okinawan, Kinjo served current Governor of Okinawa Denny Tamaki in an unofficial capacity as he ran for election largely on a platform of stopping the base at Henoko. She helped drum up community support for Tamaki, particularly among Okinawan millennials. Kinjo has since gotten an official position in the Okinawa Prefecture Government. Though she prefers to stay mostly behind the scenes, Kinjo's willingness to serve the Okinawan people, along with her ability to network and strategize, have made her one of the most influential Okinawans of the day.
During the twentieth century many Okinawans migrated to Peru and other South American countries where they established thriving Okinawan communities.
The long history of discrimination by both Japan and the United States against Ryukyuans is encouraging support for a return of Ryukyu's independence.
“We are in the gap between two countries – Japan and the United States. Neither one respects us,” said Shinako Oyakawa, co-director of the Association for the Comprehensive Studies for Independence of the Lewchewan peoples (ACSILs). Oyakawa is also a Ph.D. student in Linguistics at Okinawa University, studying the revitalization of Shimakutuba – the Ryukyu languages, all of which are in immediate danger of dying out due to ongoing colonization efforts by Japan.
ACSILs believes that by regaining their independence from Japan and removing all military bases from Lewchew, that their islands can once again become a nation of peace, hope, and friendship with the other nations of the world.
Oyakawa has twice spoken at the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples in New York City, advocating for a return of Ryukyu independence.
Robert Kajiwara, an Okinawan Hawaiian, has also been a very vocal supporter of independence.
“Ryukyu has a long history as a peaceful, prosperous, advanced independent nation,” said Kajiwara. “It was only in 1879 that Japan annexed it, against the will or Ryukyuans. So why should Ryukyu be ruled by Japan today?”
Kajiwara is President of the Peace For Okinawa Coalition, a 200,000-member think-tank and cultural organization dedicated to advancing peace, diplomacy, justice, and human rights through the promotion of Okinawan culture, history, language, and issues. The Peace For Okinawa Coalition is headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii, where a large Okinawan community has existed for over a century, but its membership is multinational and spread throughout the world.
Kajiwara is also a Ph.D. in History student researching the history of Ryukyu – China cultural exchange.
In his book, Occupied Okinawa: The United States of America and Japan's Desecration of Okinawa's Democracy and Environment, Kajiwara states his belief that five critical aspects make up the Ryukyu people – culture, history, language, environment, and identity. All five, he says, are under attack through colonization by both Japan and the U.S. “To lose any one of these five elements,” says Kajiwara, “would be to eventually lose all of them, since they are all intricately connected to each other, and one cannot survive without the others.”
Roughly 1.4 million Ryukyuans presently live in the Ryukyu Islands, with another 300,000 living overseas in Hawaii, South America, China, Japan, the continental United States, and elsewhere. Ryukyuans all over the world maintain close connections with each other, as can be seen in events such as the Worldwide Uchinaanchu Festival, held every five years, where thousands of Okinawans living abroad return home to visit relatives and friends, and to reconnect with one another.
Ryukyuans have a long history of music, dance, and art dating back to ancient times, and young Ryukyuans today are continuing that tradition to preserve their identity and advance Ryukyuan causes.
Reona Nishinaga is an art student at Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts Graduate School. Through experimental art she explores her own family heritage and identity.
Referring to the decision of the Ryukyu people to stop the construction of the military base at Henoko, Nishinaga said she “wants this declaration to be known [throughout the world.]”
Nishinaga says her long-term dream is to do art, graphic design, and Ryukyu activism.
Though these five young Okinawan (or Uchinaanchu in the indigenous Okinawan language) leaders come from different backgrounds, have different interests and vocations, and possess different personality types, all share a great pride in their Uchinaanchu identity and love for Okinawa. All five would also like to see Ryukyu once again become independent.