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Chapter 7 focuses on the refusals that were a regular response to imperialist domination in Okinawa. It engages Dionne Brand’s The Blue Clerk in order to read colonial ledgers as repositories of contestation rather than faithful assimilation, and argues that accepting opacity in the archives is the minimum starting point of a nonextractive historical practice. It tells the story of a struggle over water that erupted along the western coast of Okinawa island in the early 1930s, in and around the city of Naha. Despite previous narrations of what is referred to as the Ginowan water struggle as a localized fight between two old political rivals, it is understood here as an extension of a struggle over who would set the terms of life and death that was being fought every day.

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