Occupied Okinawa on the edge: On being Okinawan in Hawai'i and U.S. Colonialism toward Okinawa

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Abstract

This essay unpacks the work of imagining a new identity among Okinawan immigrants in Hawai'i in the late 1940s and early 1950s. During this period, they negotiated the nearness of their homeland under U.S. occupation, all the while pursuing the promise of becoming U.S. citizens buoyed by immigration reform and the Hawaiian statehood campaign. Traversing the liminal space of being a citizen and an immigrant, they constructed the stories of their future to ponder the significance of occupied Okinawa on their legal status in Hawai'i. Such concrete engagement challenged and confounded the normative idiom of what it meant to be a sovereign subject. Yet equally important was law's role in suppressing the Okinawan immigrant sense of history and human agency. This dialectic is immanent in the little-known case United States v. Ushi Shiroma (1954), and its critique lays bare occupied Okinawa on the edge of U.S. imperial sovereignty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-765
Number of pages25
JournalAmerican Quarterly
Volume64
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

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