Some Okinawa Historical Trivia

RRouuselot

Master of Arts
Joined
May 6, 2004
Messages
1,540
Reaction score
70
Location
Tokyo
Some Okinawa Historical Trivia:



The source of modern-day Okinawans is disputed. Evidence suggests the island was never part of formal Japanese territory until annexation in 1872. The earliest inhabitants were likely descended from crossovers via a prehistoric land bridge from modern-day China, with a later mixture of Malaysians, Micronesians, and Japanese. Early Chinese visitors noted the hospitality of the islanders, and its brutal poverty.

At about the end of the sixteenth century, the Japanese feudal leader ordered Okinawa to give men and arms for a Chinese invasion. Okinawans generally opposed military adventures; there is a widespread (and possibly false) story that during the huge (and failed) Mongol invasions of Japan in the 13th century, that the Okinawans refused to help the Mongols, being later ravaged by them. Nor did they wish to ruin their Korean trade; the Japanese planned its attack via this peninsula. They did not wish to offend China, to whom they had strong trade and cultural ties.

The attack went without Okinawa's help, and the Japanese ruler meanwhile died. There was a ferocious battle of succession; the Shimazu family of Kyushu Island won the Satsumas, the Okinawans nearest Japanese neighbors.

The Shimazu's wanted Okinawa's trade, and wanted favor with the regime in Edo (modern-day Tokyo), and the Okinawans (presumably) had not paid respects to the new regime in Kyushu. Permission to punish Okinawa was granted the rulers in Edo, doubtless happy that the murderous Satsuma clan was causing trouble elsewhere, to the south not north in Tokyo.

The Okinawan invasion was in 1609. Three thousand men and more than one hundred war junks sailed from Kagoshima at the southern tip of Kyushu. The Okinawans were nearly weaponless because of a previous weapons ban by the Okinawan King; many treasures were taken to Kagoshima.

The Satsumas enacted crippling taxes, taking over the island trade; we note Japan had been closed in 1636. Okinawans sometimes couldn't eat the fish they caught.

After Perry's "black ships" came by, the Meiji Restoration proceeded after the Meiji Emperor attained the throne in 1867. Tokyo told China that Okinawans were Japanese dubious at best. A pawn in a great game of chess, the weaker Chinese gave in, though the ignored Okinawans themselves would have preferred Chinese rule to Japanese.

The island were formally annexed to Japan in 1879, the monarchy in Shuri Castle abolished. While they were ostensibly Japanese, Okinawans experienced (and sometimes still do) extreme racism. The island grew poorer.

Okinawan Tension with Japan: Many Okinawans refuse to raise the Japanese flag at official events, because of the flag's perceived link to Japan's emperor, the Japanese Imperial Military, and the World War II Battle of Okinawa. The Japanese flag reminds many Okinawans of the worst aspects of Japanese imperialism.
On October of 1987, Mr. Syoichi Chibana burned the Japanese flag while it was being raised for the Kaiho National Athletic meet in Yomitan, Okinawa. This incident not only shocked Okinawans, but also Japanese.

During the Battle of Okinawa, Japanese soldiers killed Okinawan civilians. One reason was due to non combatants disturbing the Japanese military in their hiding places. During the battle, people hid in the many caves on Okinawa. At first, there were only civilians, but the soldiers also took refuge in the caves after the fighting became intense. During the many fierce battles, the babies in the caves started crying. Their mothers tried to stop the crying, but the soldiers, being afraid of being found by the enemy, murdered the babies at once. This brutality was not unusual to the Okinawans. They were also killed over small amounts of food. "At midnight, soldiers would wake up Okinawans and take them to the beach. Then they chose Okinawans at random and threw hand grenades at them." (Moriguchi, 1992)

The suspicion of being a spy was another reason why Okinawans were killed. Classified World War II Japanese military documents describe punishment for Okinawans who didn't speak Japanese. They were declared spies, and killed for speaking their own language. Additionally, Japanese soldiers shot Okinawans who wanted to surrender to Allied Forces appealing to them to quit fighting. The Japanese military commanders were afraid of their subordinates losing their fighting spirit while watching civilians surrender. So they killed civilians to prevent their troops from losing morale.

During March 1945, there was an intense battle on Yaeyama Island. The Japanese military forced people to evacuate from their towns to the mountains even though malaria was prevalent there. Okinawans, without food and medicine, lost 54% of the island's population to starvation and disease. After WW II, the government stated that the Japanese military didn't know that malaria was prevalent on Yaeyama Island, however there is some evidence that this was known before evacuating the Okinawans to the mountains. The bereaved families of the malaria victims filed a lawsuit against the government for its responsibility.

The Princess Lilies: Another point of Okinawan resentment is due to that the WWII Japanese military forced school girls to join a group known as the Princess Lilies and go to the battle front as nurses. The Princess Lilies was an organization made up of girl students, 15 to 16 years old, who participated in the battle as nurses. There were seven girl's high schools in Okinawa at the time of WW II. The Princess Lilies were organized at two of them, and a total of 297 students and teachers joined the group and eventually served the Army as nurses. Two hundred and eleven died. Most of the girls were put into caves, which served as temporary clinics, and took care of injured soldiers. There was no medicine, food or water. Many of the young girls died while trying to get water for the wounded soldiers. The Japanese military also told these girls that if they were taken prisoner the enemy would rape and then kill them, and then gave the girls hand grenades to commit suicide with before being taken prisoner. One of the Princess Lilies explains this by saying, "We had a strict imperial education, so being taken prisoner was the same a being a traitor. We were taught to prefer suicide to becoming a captive." --(Moriguchi, 1992) Many students died saying "Tenno Banzai." which means "Long live the Emperor." The board of education, made up entirely of mainland Japanese, required the girls' participation. Teachers opposed to the board of education, insisting the students be evacuated to somewhere safe, were accused of being traitors.
 
OP
RRouuselot

RRouuselot

Master of Arts
Joined
May 6, 2004
Messages
1,540
Reaction score
70
Location
Tokyo
This also may be of interest........
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The Lessons of Okinawa [/font]
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]by Lysa Parker, Attachment Parenting International [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]In 1946 an educational film called "The Okinawan", became the subject of nationwide interest and was shown to many pediatricians and to many other professional groups, and at many colleges and universities. This film was made during World War II, by Commander James C. Maloney and Commander J.J. Cammisa, two United States medical officers stationed in Okinawa during the struggle with Japan.
This movie was filmed in Okinawa Shima during World War II when Dr. Maloney and his commanding officer, J.J. Cammisa, became intrigued with the amazing psychological stamina of the Okinawan people. "There are few psychotic persons among the civilians in Okinawan Shima" noted Dr. Maloney.
[/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"Prior to the war, there was not a single asylum or psychiatrist for the entire island, which had a population of nearly 400,000 persons. In the western world, over fifty percent of all hospital beds were allocated to those suffering from mental disease. The relatively few psychotic persons encountered in Okinawa Shima pose a problem for speculation. The fact that these people remained emotionally stable after having suffered heavy bombings, losing their homes and their crops, and having entire families annihilated, was astonishing."[/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Dr. Maloney's explanation of the phenomenon became the center of his work on the film.[/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]". . . and I believe that I can supply one of the explanations. First of all, I do not believe that these people are constitutionally sounder than Americans...Rather, in my opinion, this psychological stamina stems from the excellent start the Okinawan child gets in life. He is well-mothered." [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]During the showing of the film, Dr. Maloney spoke often of what he termed the permissive method of child guidance practiced by the Okinawan people. Maloney concluded that this permissive method employed by the Okinawan mother is a basic factor in establishing a foundation of emotional stability. The Okinawan baby is offered the breast whenever hungry and often when frightened. The latter is important, because nursing during a fear state comforts a baby, allays his anxieties, affords him a sense of security and gives him confidence in the protective power of his mother. This is conducive to healthy psychological maturation. During these early days of life, fear states, if allowed to persist, can warp emotional development. Allowed to continue in a state of fear, the child develops an aggravated apprehension of the outer world, and he loses his sense of security and his confidence in the protective powers of his mother. Consequently, he develops neurotic techniques of mastery.[/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]When a child is born in Okinawa, that baby becomes the preoccupation of the mother. "The infant is permitted the breast from the hour of birth, not only for feeding but to allay fear until he is 2 years old. The mother does "everything within her power" to prevent "early frustrations." This stems from the belief that frustration during the nursing period may create a host of gastrointestinal problems from peptic ulcers or irritable colon to diarrhea and constipation. The mother seldom leaves her baby.[/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]When the child reaches age 2, it is customary for the child to be cared for by the elder sister. If there is no elder sister, then the older brother is given the responsibility. At age 5, the child is deemed psychologically mature and prepared for school. There is little, if any, resistance to starting school. The child goes to school with the older sister or brother in whose care they have been given. Dr. Maloney stated that he had seen little corporal punishment in this culture. If the child breaks a valuable object, the mother scolds herself for lack of wisdom in leaving the object accessible to one so young.[/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]In 1946, these enlightened doctors discovered the value of what we now call attachment parenting - meeting the dependency needs of children in a responsive, gentle way. During that same era, attachment research was beginning to surface by John Bowlby and his colleagues. Maloney and Cammisa realized that they had stumbled onto a keystone of human civilization. The lesson of Okinawa is the lesson of consent, the lesson that indicates that if a child is well-mothered and well-guided by both parents, then the child given the best of all possible starts in life and seems well on his way to emotional stability. "If my observations on Okinawa are valid," says Dr. Maloney, "a continuing world peace could eventually be achieved."[/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]References
Dillaway, Newton. The Lesson of Okinawa. Wakefield, MA:Montrose Press, 1947.
Available from The New York Public Library, Call Number JLC 78-304
Psychiatry. Vol. 8, No. 4, November 1945,
Psychiatry Quarterly, October 1946.
[/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
[/font]
 
I

Ippon Ken

Guest
Great articles Sensei. Thank you for making my week!!!
 

chinto

Senior Master
Joined
Apr 18, 2007
Messages
2,026
Reaction score
36
exelent information. I knew much of it, but as always there is more to learn.
 

Latest Discussions

Top