The Chines influence on Okinawa

april 10, 2017

Stephen Mansfield has written an insightful article entitled “Disputatious legacies: examining the historic ties that bind Okinawa and China

The Chinese legacy, openly acknowledged by Okinawans, is being contested once again. Writing for Japanese-run publications, I have been asked to excise positive remarks pertaining to China’s transference of culture and knowledge to Okinawa.

Sadly, the mood has turned nasty in regard to current Japan-China relations, with large segments of the Japanese public dutifully echoing the hostilities of the government. The sentiments of the Japanese public, increasingly embittered at being supplanted by an economically ascendant China, are not necessarily shared by Okinawans with their more benevolent view of China. History is a thorny issue in Japan. China’s long and largely cordial relations with Okinawa do not square with the nationalist political script being penned by Tokyo, where contested history is invariably reducible to the sensitive issue of national identity and ethnicity.

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