Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Peaceful New Earth Celebration Part II: Connecting Peace Movements in Okinawa, Guam, Japan, and Beyond

Following the successful and inspiring Peaceful New Earth Celebration event held in Yoyogi Park last month, the Neo Ryukyu Arc Network is now turning its attention to building bridges with peace movements elsewhere--beginning with an event focused on understanding key issues at stake.

Don't miss this opportunity to see a screening of the documentary film “The Insular Empire: America in the Mariana Islands," followed by an in-depth discussion session and two fantastic live music acts!

Sunday, July 25th
5-9PM (doors open at 4PM)
Café Otokura in Shimokitazawa
2-26-23 EL・NIU B1F
Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

Entry Fee: 2000 yen with advance reservations (mail to
or 2500 yen at the door (drinks not included)

“The Insular Empire: America in the Mariana Islands”
Directed by Vanessa Warheit

One possible solution to the recent Futenma air base problem has been a stated proposal to move the base out of Okinawa and onto the island of Guam. A little-known reality, however, is that some 10,000 U.S. troops and base facilities had already been planned for relocation to Guam long before the recent discussion ever surfaced. In any case, a question that must be asked is what sort of impact this plan would have on the local people and environment.

“The Insular Empire: America in the Mariana Islands” offers an intimate glimpse into the Mariana Islands (which include Guam, Saipan, Tinian and Rota)—also known as the United States’ own domestic colonies.

While officially part of America, residents of these islands are unable to vote in
U.S. presidential elections, and have not been consulted in any way with regard to U.S. military expansion in the region. The result has been increasing environmental degradation, and a steady loss of rights on the part of local indigenous peoples. With people largely viewing the U.S. military as historical liberators from Japanese occupation forces during WWII, moreover, it becomes clear that the situation here is anything but simple.

From the director:

With so much at stake for the islands, The Insular Empire: America in the Mariana Islands comes at a critical time. To put pressure on the US to bring true democracy to the Marianas, it is imperative that the average American, and the rest of the global community, understand what America is doing there.

My challenge has been to tell the complicated story of the Marianas – involving fifteen islands, five centuries of colonial rule, four empires, and two indigenous cultures – while also conveying the pathos of their current, ongoing relationship with America on a personal level. I decided that, in order to make a mainland audience really feel for the islands, the film had to focus on a few characters: to get inside their heads, to understand their internal conflicts and the external circumstances that have shaped them and their islands.

Read the rest here.

Following the screening, a talk will be given by Yamaguchi Hibiki, a researcher with in-depth insight regarding the situation of the U.S. military on Guam.

Speaker Profile: Yamaguchi Hibiki

Born in Nagasaki, Yamaguchi is a researcher with the Peoples’ Plan Research Center who focuses on the social impact of militarization. He has studied U.S. military bases in Japan, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, defense spending, nuclear weapons, and many other related issues. Most recently, his research has focused on the issue of the proposed military relocation from Okinawa to Guam.

Artist Profiles:


Reggae singer who loves everything associated with travel, nature, peace and love. Performs as both a solo artist and as the lead vocalist for the roots reggae band Anbassa. Based in Tokyo, but performs around the country. Notable recent performances include the Spring Love Harukaze festival in Yoyogi Park in April 2010.

Tokyo Ghetto Shamisen

Performer Sakata Jun combines traditional shamisen (three-stringed instrument)with contemporary folk music and his own personal stylistic touches. Continually playing with the border between self and other, he is a seasoned street artist who may be found busking all around the metropolis. He also performs dub-style electronic shamisen in various venues around Tokyo, creating a fascinating organic effect that lends an altogether different feel from his normal unplugged vibe.

Event organizer: Neo Ryukyu Arc Network

Supporting organization: Peace Not War Japan

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