Cold War Ruins: Transpacific Critique of American Justice and Japanese War Crimes
Lisa Yoneyama is Professor of East Asian Studies and Women & Gender Studies at the University of Toronto, the coeditor of Perilous Memories: The Asia-Pacific War(s), also published by Duke University Press, and the author of Hiroshima Traces: Time, Space, and the Dialectics of Memory.
Space of Occupation
This chapter considers the neocolonial condition of Okinawa. Situated at the geopolitical threshold of East Asia and the Northwest Pacific, Okinawa became an increasingly important subject of knowledge in anthropology and area studies during the 1940s. After the Allied powers’ victory, Okinawa was liberated from Japanese imperial rule and occupied by the United States until 1972. It has since remained a linchpin in America’s military strategy for the Pacific. The chapter analyzes Ōshiro Tatsuhiro’s novella The Cocktail Party (1967) alongside post-1990s critiques of the disciplinary formations of area studies and anthropology. These critiques reveal how Okinawa’s “liberated yet occupied” condition was produced by and then helped sustain the transpacific entanglements of Japanese and U.S. military-security imperialisms. Okinawa’s liminality, which keeps its indigenous sovereignty in suspension, has been integral to the Cold War regime of unredressability. And yet it has offered alternative visions for the politicization of historical knowledge and justice.