December Shop Talk

Monday, November 21, 2011 (Around 2 years ago)

David Obermiller will present “Submissive” and “Docile” Okinawans and their Resistance to the US Occupation on Friday, December 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm in the Interpretive Center.

Abstract: In the twenty-seven years of the US military occupation of Okinawa, Orientalism (a Western idealogy of “Other” that constructed an imaginary view of the Orient as backwards, primitive, savage, feminine, mysterious, etc.) was a salient dimension of the how occupation officials viewed Okinawans. In this context, occupation officials treated Okinawans, at best, in a patronizing and paternalistic manner, not to mention believing the islanders were docile, submissive, and lazy. Okinawans, however, rarely lived up to US stereotypes as their resistance to the occupation was as pervasive as American Orientalism. This paper examines two movies, Daniel Manns, Teahouse of the August Moon (1956) and Amon Miyamotos Beat (1998). Both movies represent an outsiders perspective of occupied Okinawa as Daniel Mann, an American, and Amon Miyamoto, a mainland Japanese, offer a sympathetic view of Okinawa as they illustrate the occupations corrosive effects as well as Okinawan struggle against the occupation. In both films, race, gender, and class are dominant in the interactions the American interlopers and the Okinawans. While both films attempt to provide agency for Okinawans, at the same time, both productions suffer from an orientation that ironically reifies what both movies are attempting to combat, Orientalistic constructs of Okinawa.

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