The Great Ryukyu Photo Scroll: Part 1 and 2
by Mao Ishikawa
These are series of dramatic photos in which my friends posed in the recreation of historical scenes of Okinawa from the Ryukyu Kingdom era to today. This is my way as an Okinawan to protest the Japanese government that stole the Ryukyu Islands and is now forcing US military bases on it.
An uminchu (fisherman) caught many fish. (Ryukyu Kingdom Era)
In March 1609, the Tokugawa Shogunate allowed the Satsuma-han to dispatch 3000 soldiers to the Ryukyus. The Amami Islands were occupied one after the other. In April, Shuri Castle was captured and Ryukyu surrendered. Satsuma-han was given sovereignty over the Ryukyus, and the Amami Islands were annexed. The Ryukyu Kingdom came under the control of Satsuma, but continued relations with the Chinese emperor`s mission as a tributary.
Ryukyu Annexation. On March 27, 1879, the Meiji government’s Minister of Annexation, Michiyuki Matsuda, brought 600 soldiers and police officers to the Ryukyus. At Shuri Castle, he declared the end of the Ryukyu domain and established Okinawa prefecture. The 500 year old Ryukyu Kingdom was officially annexed into Japan as Okinawa, and the last king, Sho Tai, was exiled to Tokyo.
The Battle of Okinawa. In June 1945, as they ran from US troops, a child’s entire family was killed. There were around 1000 children orphaned by the battle.
After the Ryukyu Annexation, forced cultural assimilation was carried out in schools and homes by banning the use of uchinaaguchi (the Okinawan language) and forcing the use of “standard Japanese”. This continued after the end of World War II, with “dialect boards” (boards shaming students who used uchinaaguchi) in use until the 1960s.
We dropped an Osprey, said to be a dangerous aircraft, onto the roof of a house by the fence of USMC Futenma Base. The pilot is played by Masamitsu Kohatsu, the script writer for the theater group FEC’s “US Base Comedy”. You can see Ospreys inside the base fences.
November 2013, LDP headquarters. Okinawa’s five Diet members, who were elected on a platform of “move Futenma outside Okinawa”, and LDP secretary general Shigeru Ishiba face reporters after changing their stances and agreeing to the Henoko relocation.
Secretary general Ishiba, who spent 50 billion yen on the Nago mayoral election in January 2014. Nago Mayor Susumu Inamine, who opposed Governor Nakaima's permission to build at Henoko. Diet member Aiko Shimajiri asked for the government's help by "using the police and coast guard forcfully to stop unlawful protest movements."
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ignores Article 9 of the constitution, and without any discussion in the Diet forces through Collective Self Defense.
“Don’t bring calamity to Okinawa”, a kaminchu (holy person) prays toward Japan.
In 1854, Commodore Perry took his fleet to the Ryukyus and forced a Ryukyu-US amity treaty. Ryukyu agreed to provide firewood, food, water, and diplomatic immunity to US fleets. The history of the US forcing their demands on Okinawa starts here. We changed the treaty to modern times as a black joke. The US says "We want to stay in Okinawa forver, because they provide us the budget to do whatever."
“What are you? 1. Japanese 2. American 3. Chinese 4. Okinawan”
In the 1950s and 60s, during the American occupation, these surveys were conducted in elementary and junior high schools. Teachers told students that “you are Japanese. If Okinawa is returned to Japan, you will live under a peace constitution, your human rights will be respected, and the American military presence will be lifted. Be proud of your Japanese identity.” Even so, more students chose “4, Okinawan”.
On the night of December 20, 1970, a US soldier caused a traffic accident near Goya intersection in Koza city (now Okinawa city). A military court had just acquitted a US soldier who ran over and killed a housewife in Itoman. Locals surrounded the military police who were cleaning up the accident scene, saying "don't let this be another Itoman!" The MPs fired warning shots, but this only enraged the locals, who began to overturn and burn parked MP and other foreign owned cars, eventually destroying 82 cars. 300 US MPs armed with machine guns were dispatched, facing off against 5000 locals until the morning.
November 2014, Takeshi Onaga wins the Okinawa gubernatorial election as Nago mayor Susume Inamine celebrates. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo praises outgoing Governor Nakaima, saying “merely by giving permission to reclaim land in Henoko, you have fulfilled your duty admirably.”
In December 2014, on the same “No new American base! Move Futenma outside Okinawa!” platform as Governor Onaga, all four “All Okinawa” Diet candidates win their elections, raising their arms with Diet memeber Keiko Itokazu. The four LDP candidates who said that the relocation to Henoko should go through all lost. But all four were given seats due to proportional representation. The zombies revived.
Ai Oyafuso is the daughter of a black American soldier and an Okinawan mother. She runs an original clothing store in Motobu town with her husband Daisuke. She is currently pregnant with her third child. Their entire family goes to the anti base protests at Henoko.
Miyagi Akino is into taking photos of butterflies in Takae, Higashi Village seriously. USMC MV-22 Ospreys are flying over her.
Akino is opposed to the flight training of Ospreys and construction of Takae helipads. She has been observing and recording
all the creatures of the forest and says "Many insects are being killed due to deforestaion for the helipads construction."
A woman in an observation boat is ridden like a horse by Japanese coast guard officer who invaded her boat at the construction site of the new US base. Later, the boat captain Tsuyoshi Kitaueda had his finger sprained by the coast guard. On that boat, Mr. Kitaueda watche Diet member Aiko Shimajiri ridden like a horse and Prime Minister Abe choked by the coast guard. These two should be attacked by the organized gang, the coast guard.
The new air base that the Japanese government plans to build for the US military in the Camp Schwab’s bay in Nago city is also a feeding ground for the endangered species, dugong. Ignoring the protests of Okinawa Governor Onaga, Nago Mayor Inamine, and the people of Okinawa, the Japanese government has begun to force the construction of new land in the sea. 2-4.5 ton concrete blocks are being dropped into the sea, destroying coral reef. Prime Minister Abe, why don’t you change places with the reef. You should feel the pain of the Okinawan people and the Okinawan sea creatures.
No matter how much Governor Onaga and the people of Okinawa protest, the Japanese government forces through the construction of the new base. “Okinawa is not a Japanese colony. This aggression will not stand!”
（ statement & comment translated by Jun Satou)