“Independence Is Best For Okinawa”, Says Japanese Politician

Should Okinawa be independent from Japan?

The Ryukyu Islands, which are now better known as Okinawa Prefecture, or simply “Okinawa”, have a rich history, as well as a culture that is distinct from that of mainland Japan.

The islands only became part of Japan when they were annexed in 1879 by the Meiji government, although the Chinese Qing dynasty also claimed sovereignty over the area as a tributary state.

In the post-war period too, the relationship of the Ryukyu Islands to the Japanese mainland has often been troubled, with cultural movements from the island seeking to revive the indigenous Ryukyuan cultures and languages, rather than simply accepting cultural assimilation. In recent years, the presence of the United States Forces Japan and the Japan Self Defense Forces have also been at the root of citizen protests.

As the article below reports, the formation of a new academic research group on Okinawan independence which is heavily critical of what they see as Japan’s continual discrimination of the region, is perhaps the first move towards politicizing Okinawan autonomy. Furthermore, Japanese politician Teruya Kantoku, a member of the Social Democratic Party, fully supports the endeavour.

Netizens were not amused.

From Ameba News:

“Okinawa Would Be Better Off If It Had Independence From Japan,” Says Social Democratic Party Politician Teruya Kantoku

Will the Okinawan independence debate become a reality?

Will the Okinawan independence debate become a reality?

Waves were made when it was reported that “The Ryukyu People’s Independence Research Group” had been established. The group was based on a concept that was revealed by Professor Matsushima Yasukatsu (originally from Ishigaki Island of Ryukoku University and Associate Professor Tomochi Masaki of Okinawa International University at the Peace Studies Association of Japan conference in November 2012. On March 31, 2013, a preparatory committee was was formed, and the group will be inaugurated on May 15, which is “Return the Homeland Day”.

The debate over Ryukuyan independence has existed for some time. In 1979, 100 years since the Meiji government’s abolition of Ryukyu in 1879, the debate developed as a cultural revival movement, but did not turn into a political one, and it was common for the debate over Ryukyu independence to be seen as “pub chat”. However, with the inauguration of the group, independence will become something that is being reviewed academically.

In the media coverage of the group’s inauguration, Teruya Kantoku, a native of Okinawa Prefecture and member of the House of Representatives for the Social Democratic Party, commented in his blog on April 1 that, “If they’d have me, I’d like to join the research group myself”. He also wrote about his own take on the situation: “In modern history since the Meiji period, Okinawa has continually been discriminated against by the government of the time, and even now, when the reality is that the Uchinanchu people [Okinawan word referring to people of Okinawa and descendents] are not treated as citizens of Japan, I seriously think that it would be better for Okinawa if it were to be independent of Japan”.

In its charter, the research group appears to be critical:”From the invasion of Satsuma and the abolition of Ryukyu to the forced deployment of ospreys, ‘there is discrimination of Ryukyu by Japan and the US, and that it is dominated as a colony’”, and “Japanese people have made Ryukyu a victim, so that they can continue to be blessed with ‘the peace and glory of Japan’”. Teruya agreed with these statements, saying, “Yasa, yasa, atatohn” [Okinawan for "That's right, that's right, that's how it is"].

Looking back on political activities since 1995, he wrote: “If Ryukyu was returned under the peace [current] constitution, I believed that we would be released from the illegitimacy and suffering of US military domination, and had faint expectations of ‘Japan the homeland’. These expectations were betrayed, and this irritates me day in, day out. Ultimately, I realised that those (criminals) responsible for discriminating against the Uchinananchu people, and forcing the sacrifice of those people, were the people of the Yamato nation“.

Comments from Ameba News:

ooh-la-la:

If they get independence and then they’re invaded by China, will they become Chinese-Okinawans? Or resist as an Okinawan army? Or, will they ask for military reinforcements from the Japan-US forces?

どとれ:

In order to become independent, you need an army, right? For the Social Democrats, who want disarmament, to talk about independence…don’t make me laugh.

江頭キチジロー:

So you’re saying that rather than learn from the “history” of the Tibetan and Uyghur peoples, you’d rather learn how frightening chink hegemony is from your own “experience”.

大地:

Good job on the annexation of Okinawa ww Okinawa is definitely a geo-political necessity. I mean, try taking a survey of every citizen of Okinawa Prefecture, idiot left-wing.

Kazz:

Makes sense that a naturalised North Korean would be the Social Democratic Party leader and a representative.

yuzuki-mini:

So, Mr. Bigshot, you want it to become Ryukyu province under the umbrella of China? Shitty media, hiding the fact that if the people living in Okinawa didn’t have the US military and the Japan Self-Defense Forces they’d be living troubled lives.

ゲオルガトス:

The fact that the party support rate for this is 0.0% says something.

きゅっきゅ:

Those citizens of Okinawa Prefecture who say they want independence are probably operatives from the Chinese Communist Party. Or perhaps they’re just people who know jack-shit. The Social Democratic Party philosophy is treason. It’s just sad.

Doci:

Because of stuff like this the f***king anti-Japan left wing are causing trouble for Okinawans, too.

ヨリン7788:

Haven’t they seen the Tibetan monks who burn themselves to death in protest on the news?

ナカさん:

They’re trying to pull Okinawa apart from Japan. If they get dominated by China it’ll be hell.

札裟六道:

It’ll be interesting to see whether Okinawa will become like the Uyghur Autonomous Region. There really are guys there who will murder you if you don’t shut your mouth.

Takeshi,(超多忙bigboss):

Kinda seems like they’ll get independence and then after about ten years they’ll become “Ryukyu Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic”. (  ̄▽ ̄)

まさ:

So, they get “independence” but their legitimacy is “?”. First of all, how about having official elections, and listening to the opinions of the citizens there? Nope, because the people kicking up a fuss about “independence” are all foreign residents who don’t have the right to vote anyway.

AKL:

Playing into the chinks’ hands. If they’re “independent” and the US military and Self Defense forces are no longer there, then it’s going to be like the Philippines all over again. They’ll be occupied by China straight away and become Tibet No. 2. They’ll lose every freedom. They’ll just be like livestock.

ニチョら:

These are just the fantasies of people who’ve come from “elsewhere” to make on the situation, and not Okinawan citizens themselves. Why don’t they just go back to where they came from?

makoto:

Independence, eh~. I guess it’s a difficult one, but it’s not that I don’t get what they’re saying. It’s just that I reckon that after that invasion will be the worry.

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  • http://twitter.com/KJustinC Justin

    Hmmm… what if Hawaii gained independence?

    • Yurah

      Wasnt the reason Japan attacked pearl harbor was because the queen of hawaii asked them tofree Hawaii from America’s hands

      • the other guy

        would you please post a source for that? thanks!

      • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

        Yeah I never heard that story. Care to explain? I thought it was to cripple American presence in the Pacific.

    • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

      They’d probably experience a massive dip in their economy as Americans, being super pissed at them, would pull up stakes and leave and then BAM! All those old people that were retired on the island are gone, and they took all their pensions with them. And tourism being one of the cornerstone of their economy well…

  • https://www.facebook.com/dinie.akhemu Gerhana

    I dont know but it does sound quite possible that China might attack them once they are independent, being so close to China and their tendency to claim Island, haha. Would it be better if they are under Japan? im not really sure, maybe someone more knowledgeable can comment on this..

    I love island people as I was born and raise on island state as well…. the beach the nature the layback attitude, I wish the best for Okinawan, with love. 嘉例!

    • Reila90

      I don’t think it’s possible. China would certainly contain them economically and put the islands as buffer zone(Since US base no longer on there). Importantly, China more freely to gain access over Senkaku island and specially the oil on east China sea. But annexing Okinawa have no benefit at all for China.

      • https://www.facebook.com/dinie.akhemu Gerhana

        you may be right, unless someone have other point that say otherwise

      • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

        Yeah the only real threat facing Okinawa is North Korea and that’s only if Kim Jong Un gets pasted one night and actually makes real on his threats of nuclear attack before his cognac fueled haze wears off.

      • http://www.facebook.com/li.j1a.shen 李家陞

        One of China’s view of the world is seeking multipolar world than hegemony. Let’s hope that it is true..

  • RaphaeI

    It seems like the netuyos don’t understand the legitimate grievances of the Okinawans. They don’t want to continue living in terror, being raped and robbed by the jarhead marines stationed on their native land. I don’t think they really want independence; this is just a grassroots cry for help.

    • chucky3176

      Move all the US marines to downtown Tokyo, instead of stationing them on an island far away from the mainland Japan.

      I’d like to see what the results will be.

      • Billy

        +1 to that would be FUNNY as HELL

      • http://www.facebook.com/li.j1a.shen 李家陞

        There will be a rise in rapes (schoolgirls or not), noise pollution, accidents (more olympic-ohno-like incidents), rising amount of crimes commited by US soldiers (from petty (drunken brawl) to serious (rapes)), etc.

        There is a reason why Military Bases are built far, far away from cities and towns.. if you played simcity, then you’ll know why.

      • chris

        There are actually U.S. military bases around Tokyo you idiot. have you ever been to Japan or know anything about it?

        Hung out with some pretty cool U.S. Army MP’s there too.

  • Poko san

    Heard a story from okinawan friend and some TV…
    Histroically, okinawa has always been independent both from china and japan. The language is very similar to chinese and japanese, but it is none of each. The building like Syuri Jo looks like a chinese-style building in half and the other half of the castle looks like a japanese temple. No matter which country important people come to the islands, they could keep their independence without a conflict between the two.

    • Independent Citizens

      Okinawa belongs to Japan or China? JAPAN ALSO BELONGS TO CHINA?

      The Okinawan language was historically written using an admixture of Kanji and Hiragana. There remain numerous Ryukyuan languages which are more or less incomprehensible to Japanese speakers. These languages are in decline as Standard Japanese is being used by the younger generation. Many linguists classify Ryukyuan into Japonic languages, while they are generally perceived as “dialects” by mainland Japanese and Okinawans themselves.

      The Okinawan culture bears traces of its various trading partners. One can find Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Austronesian influences in the island’s customs.

      Racially, Okinawans is more closer to the Japanese than Chinese.

      http://pds2.exblog.jp/pds/1/201209/22/14/e0171614_20342457.jpg

      • Independent Citizen

        Japan and Korea had been tributaries of China since ancient times. However, Japan stopped sending tribute to China in 894. On other hand, Korea had remained the most earnest adherent of the Chinese Tributary System until 1897. Chinese and Koreans despised Japanese as barbarians due to this secession. However, some contradiction arose. Since 894, when Japan left the Chinese Tributary System, Japanese have developed creativity and originality all the more and Japanese culture has flourished in a variety of fields freely.

        On the other hand, another 1,000 years of Korea’s adherence to China caused a complete Sinicization of Korea culture and loss of the originality and uniqueness, since Koreans didn’t have to create things by themselves but had only to accept what was brought from China rigidly. Also, the long-term status as a vassal of China and outdated social class sys retarded the development ãnd modernization of Korea to a critical level by the end of the late 19th century.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlnxiwyUa0c

        • Independent

          The future of Japan?

          On other händ, Japan has remained the most earnest adherent of the US Tributary System since Meiji period. Another 100 years of Japan’s adherence to America caused a complete idiotization of Japanese society and loss of the originality and uniqueness, since Japanese didn’t have to create things by themselves but had only to accept the command and influence from America rigidly. Also, the long-term status as a vassal of America and outdated Japanese social class system retarded the development of Japan to a critical level by the end of the 21th century.

          • http://www.facebook.com/li.j1a.shen 李家陞

            IMO, Japan should switch allies to China.. call me crazy, but I think it’s better than the US..

        • grand

          Japan was pretty much insignificant to China and Korea for most part of history as ancient Japan was very backward and poor comparing to China. Japan was a tributary state of China during MIng dynasty for a period of time.

          • Rutim

            > Japan was very backward and poor comparing to China.

            lol, Japancrush should fund some award for the most stupidest comment here ;) I don’t know if this comment should be taken seriously or there’s some covered irony hard to dig up.

            But to get you out of that bubble – poor Chinese were as poor as poor Japanese and welthy Chinese were as wealthy as wealthy Japanese.

          • grand

            LMAO! stop embarassing yourself. China was trading with the whole known world. the arabs especially loved chinese goods.By selling silk, china, tea, to the world, China accumulated massive wealth. japan in comparison was very poor and backward. yes, the japanese were known to be good pirates. they were very good at looting the Chinese!

          • grand

            lmao. Stop embarassing yourself. China for most part of its history was the dominant trader of the world, selling goods such as tea, china, silk, etc to the rest of the known world. The Arabs loved chinese good. through trade, china accumulated massive wealth. Japan, in comparison, was an isolated, backward kingdom.

          • http://www.facebook.com/marcus.muller.5220 Marcus Muller

            Lol you should get an award for the most moronic reply ever.

            If you know anything about Japanese history, they have been relatively poor in comparison to the Chinese. It’s only the past 200-300 years that Japan has been “welthy”. China has almost always been on the top of the economic food chain, it’s only these pass 200 years when different countries ganged up on her and stole/exploited/unfair treaties their way to the top. It looks like now China is poised to be on the top again soon. One can only hope they won’t as rash as western media depicts them.

          • dlo

            mongol/manchu/communists

          • Independent

            Up until the early eighteenth centurry China was one of the most developed civilizations in the world in arts and economy, due to their territory and population. However, thee Chinese masses have always been uneducated, miserable and poor. The generalized famine and mess, civilian uprising and foreign occupation (mongols and pirates) were common ffor most part of Chinese history. I mean the Jappan was so much more civiliized than its neighbors.

            In Chinä, the emperor was the absolute figure of authority. The Chinese emperor was given the mandate from Heaven. In Japan, it was not the case until the Meiji Restoration. The Japanese emperor was simply a figure head. The real power had belonged to the shogun, a military ruler. Japan wass technically a junta. Japan was a warrior state, China was not.

            While Confucious teachings may have helped structure a stronger moral code in China, it may have actually hindered the evolution of Chinese society. Meanwhile, Japan’s history led the civilization down a much different path. Japanese shintoist culture instills a strong sense of loyalty to family, race, job and country which is an important intangible. China is actually very much more “every man for himself” than Japan in a lot of ways.

          • the other guy

            “I mean the Jappan was so much more civiliized than its neighbors.”

            I am always amazed by how much people romanticize Japan. Japan all thru history has been filled with intestine bloody wars. All thanks to the “Samurai Culture” and Bushido that people seem to be so fond off.

            Lets get real, Japan would hardly be the “Civilized” culture it is today if it wasn’t for the contributions of foreigners. Much of Japan’s classic culture comes from the Chinese and Koreans. Things like religion, philosophy, science, art etiquette and even morals are derived from Tang and Song Dynasties.

            Lets not forget what gave Japan the upper hand in the XX century was nothing more than the forceful interaction with the West… Prior to Meiji Restoration Japan was -like most of Asia- a Feudal Society with a agricultural economy and a very rigid cast system.

            The common people where at the mercy of their Feudal lords, much like everywhere else. Call it Emperor or Shogun, it does not matter, the suffering of the farmers was worst kind.

            At least in China normal people could reach some sort of social
            mobility by becoming goverment officials thru the Imperial system of examinations .

          • ChuckRamone

            This is a very simplified and lopsided view of history. You sound like a right winger. All right wingers say similar things about their own countries vis-a-vis the rest of the world.

          • grand

            what a load of crap. you said that in old times most chinese were poor and while only a handful are rich. well i got news for you, that’s true for every nation in the world, throughout history. wealth has always been concentrated in the hands of a few. according to you, since top 10% of the wealthest in the US control 80% of all asset, all amercians must be uneducated, miserable and poor comparing to the rest of the world. great logic!

            japan was a poor, backward nation because it was an isolated kingdom with a tiny economy, and most of its culture and technology were imported from China and Korea. that’s just fact.

          • DLO

            history problem bro, we all know where most japanese came from and where most koreans came from, cough cough. Ancient China was the grand daddy of Scholar-warrior culture, E Zhou’s warring-states? E Han’s 3 kingdom? Tang’s 關隴集團 of NW 武川鎮 (inner mongolia) and 山東士族?

        • chucky3176

          Just before Japan’s Meiji period began in the mid 1800′s, or around 1700′s, Japan, Korea, and China had pretty much equal and comparable per capital incomes. After the Japanese invasion of 1590′s, Korea was devastated beyond repair, and it put back the country by 100 years, and they were never able to recover. This gave the Manchu’s an easier time to conquer Korea, 35 years after the war with Japan ended.

          The period you site, 894, was an interesting period. To newly unified Koreans (Kingdom of Shilla at that time), Japan was considered nothing but a backwater island where small wild barbarian people, wearing clothing made out of straws, who lived in ignorance.

          Not long before, Japan had sent 5000 men to aid the Korean kingdom of Bekjae who was under attack by another Korean kingdom, Shilla who was allied with Tang China. The Japanese were slaughtered by the Tang Chinese navy who intercepted the much larger Japanese navy at sea. The kingdom of Bekjae. were defeated and the remnants of their people and their rulers, fled to Japan (like how Kuongmintang Chinese fled to Taiwan after they were defeated by the Communist Chinese under Mao). That includes the ancestors of the current Japanese emperor who admitted his family roots, ten years ago, saying that he feels close kinship with Korea.

          Japan got much of the Chinese sino culture via the way of Koreans, even right up to the Meiji period, so Japan developed independently? I don’t think so. Japan only took off after they began aping the West, right down to the clothing and hairstyle. It wasn’t only until the 1980′s when Japan began to lose their joke of a reputation of being copy cats of the west.

          • Independent

            The Japanese Imperial family also referred to as the Yamato Dynasty is the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world. The family’s lineage dates back from 1000 BCE..

            Remnants of their people and their rulers, fled to Japan?

            The first Japanese Imperial family were descendants of the Zhou Dynasty. The current Imperial family are descendants of Yayoi it dates back 2100 years.

            It should be noted that some people teach that the Japanese Imperial family, supposedly were the descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel and Sumerian civilization. Funny?

            Supposedly Emperor Akihito is descended from a group of illegitimate pretenders who were put up as puppet rulers by foreign cabalists who use the Satanic star as their symbol.

            http://jhaines6.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/ben-fulford-rival-emperor-stakes-claim-to-japanese-throne-shows-evidence-he-is-the-real-deal-march-20-2012/

          • Independent

            Alien Pyramide Temple 14000 years BC, Yonaguni Japan
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73TS6J3L7X4

            History Channel: Pyramids of Japan
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUVmWEgZF3Y

            Geologically, the Yonaguni pyramid sank into the ocean at the end of the last ice age, around ten thousand years ago.

            A small but persuasive number of scholars and scientists have long thought that “advanced” societies may have existed as long as 10,000 years ago. Their theories, however well reasoned and defended, have been hamstrung by a lack of evidence. But recent discoveries of man-made artifacts on the Pacific seafloor may well prove to be the smoking gun that will propel this alternative view of civilization to prominence”.

  • Independent Citizens

    “Independence is best for Hokkaido”, Says Russian Politician. I totally agree.

  • Doublen

    Even if okinawa gained independence somehow, the u.s. will do anything they can to stay on that island. What japan needs to do is come in hand with the u.s. and remove all of the bases throughout the country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/li.j1a.shen 李家陞

    “So, Mr. Bigshot, you want it to become Ryukyu province under the umbrella of China? Shitty media, hiding the fact that if the people living in Okinawa didn’t have the US military and the Japan Self-Defense Forces they’d be living troubled lives.”

    Last I heard, Okinawans’ lives are a living hell thanks to the US troops..

  • heykay15

    does anyone else have the problem of photos on the page appearing as chinasmack logos?

  • Dlo

    Taiwan and Okinawa should merge and the world should recognize this new nation. It will be the buffer state between china and japan.

  • DL

    Just a thought, its funny how some taiwanese (look at how much money they donated to JP following the earthquick) admire japanese so much and rather not be chinese (some even want to unite with japan rather than become a province of PRC, serious) while some okinawans on the other hand don’t even consider themselves as japanese when the japanese government insist that they are, both want their independence. why not merge these two, form a new nation, promote more cross-cultural exchange, kick out the US navy base, then have both china and japan build a joint sino-japanese naval base there, solves alot of problem. i’m not sure if US will be happy about it though.

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