The Limits of Okinawa: Japanese Capitalism, Living Labor, and Theorizations of Community
Reforming Old Customs, Transforming Women’s Work
This chapter examines the tensions that emerged in the late nineteenth century between the first generation of Okinawa’s intellectuals and female weavers soon after the Miyako island peasantry. It focuses on the conflicts that took place between local advocates of the movement to reform old customs—a project designed to transform the hearts and minds of the Okinawan people in preparation for the establishment of capitalist relations of production in the prefecture—and Okinawa’s female producer-merchants. Prominent local intellectual Ōta Chōfu and others urged the Okinawan people to change their habits and customs so that even their sneezes resembled those of the...