Sunday, December 20, 2009

Charles Douglas Lummis on U.S. Military Expansion @ Osaka (Tues, Dec 22) @ Kyoto (Wed, Dec 23)

Charles Douglas Lummis at a book signing event

Charles Douglas Lummis, a San Francisco born, resident of Okinawa who contributed extensively to the anti-Vietnam movement in Japan has been invited to speak in Kyoto and Osaka this week about U.S. military expansion. He is prolific author, most well-known for his book Radical Democracy and for his outspokenness about his experience in the U.S. Military as noted in his self-introduction at the Oakland Table:
I entered U.C. Berkeley in 1954 on a Navy ROTC contract, and accordingly, when I graduated in 1958 I entered the U.S. Marines for three years, the third of which I spent in a military base on Okinawa. (Much of my life since then has been spent trying to figure out how I could have let such a thing happen.)
In a recent article entitled Yes We Can (But We Won't): Obama, Hatoyama, and Okinawa, Lummis writes about the resilience of Henoko and Futenma residents in opposing U.S. military bases.

Tuesday, December 23rd, Osaka: The Relocation of Futenma & Okinawa's Burden

Two Kansai organizations, the Citizens Group Against the Imposition of Bases in Okinawa and Osaka Action to Prevent the Construction of Bases in Henoko have invited Lummis to share his thoughts on the burdens that Okinawans face because of U.S. military colonization.

The event will take place at the Hirao Okinawan Kaikan which is in the heart of the vibrant Okinawan community in the Taisho ward in Osaka. This Okinawan community was created after after  amplification of Japanese colonization during the Taisho Era (1912-1925) brought economic crisis to the Ryukyu islands. This period is otherwise known as the "Sotetsu Jigoku," or "Cycad Hell" because the cycad was the only food that many Okinawans could find to eat at the time.

Mass starvation forced many Okinawans to migrate to Osaka in search of work in factories, although they were often turned away from employers, many of whom displayed signs on their windows stating "Ryukyuans and Koreans need not apply!" Facing ethnic discrimination and difficulties finding work, Japanese assimilation policies wreaked havoc on Okinawan culture and language.

However, after ownership of the Ryukyus was transferred to Japan in the 1970s, a grassroots movement in the Taisho ward gained strength and started a housing movement to address Okinawan homelessness while the community began revitalizing its culture making the Taisho district a hub for lovers of the Okinawan festival dance Eisa.

This event on such an important issue in a region so rich in cultural survival is one not to be missed.

To get to the Hirao Okinawa Kaikan, get off the train at JR or Subway Taishou (大正) Station and then take the bus at platform 4 or 5 to Hirao (平尾)
A map in Japanese can be found on this page.

Event start: 7pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Entrance fee: 1000yen

For more information about the Osaka event contact the Okinawa Bunko.
Telephone: (06)6552-6709

Wednesday, December 23rd, Kyoto: U.S. Military Realignment and Okinawa

The Kyoto Organization Against the Strengthening of the Imperial System has also invited Lummis to speak in Kyoto on Wednesday, December 23rd at the Kyoto Buraku Liberation Center which is located five minutes walk on foot to the north of Kuramaguchi Station.

Event start: 1pm (Doors open at 12:30pm)
Entrance Fee: 500yen
- Posted by Jen Teeter

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