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Structure of Okinawan Residents’ Identity Consciousness - With a Focus on the Historical Factors for their Anti-American Sentiment
U.S. military bases in Okinawa
With regard to the subject of identity consciousness in the field of Okinawa studies, there has been much discussion in the past analysing it in terms of historical and cultural factors, as well as consanguinity. As for Okinawan residents’ anti-American sentiment, scholars usually treat it only as an explanatory tool of historical or political interactive frameworks and rarely discuss it within the context of identity consciousness. Therefore, this paper intends to focus on the historical factors for Okinawan residents’ anti-American sentiment, analysing it with regard to various aspects including the contextual origin of their anti-American sentiment, what constitutes Okinawan and Japanese identity consciousnesses and the identity model and structure of this sentiment. The theoretical motivation of this article is derived from the nationalist explanation of history and blood relations as key factors in constituting a nation. The study takes a step further by connecting the nation and identity consciousness to create the framework of its discourse. Identity consciousness starts from constructing a basic identity model based on objective conditions such as history, culture, or blood relations, after which such a model is modified and filtered by a certain context; this in turn forms into the self-identity of a collectivity that eventually produces a substantive identity consciousness. The theoretical framework of this paper assumes that the basic identity model of Okinawan residents originated from their various experiences in life that were associated with their local history and blood relations. This basic identity model was then modified by the contexts of their liking, or the lack thereof, for America, which ultimately formed into a substantive national identity. The study method involved observing examples. This paper undertook to construct the basic identity model of Okinawan residents for their identity consciousness in terms of such key factors as their history and blood relations, to which was added a contextual discussion of the historical factors for their anti-American sentiment. Under the framework of layer-by-layer analysis, a more detailed analysis of the structure of Okinawan residents’ identity consciousness was made. For the directions of the three issues emphasised in this paper, they were discussed in the process and results of the analysis. First, Okinawan residents’ anti-American sentiment originated from the mishandling of problems related to U.S. military bases and has continued as a result of Japan’s policies regarding Okinawa and the intensification of the struggle of Okinawan residents. Second, as regards the contents of their identity consciousness, whether the residents consider themselves Okinawan or Japanese, the contents are all closely linked with factors such as historical memories, blood relations, or culture, which determine the strengths and weaknesses of the sense of belonging of individuals to the Okinawan nation or the Japanese nation. Lastly, based on the synthesis of the analysis of the previous two issues, the direction of the third issue ‘the identity model and structure of Okinawan residents with regard to anti-American sentiment’ was pursued. This paper found that identity consciousnesses with similar positions, under the contextual filtering based on anti-American sentiment, might bring varying degrees of changes in different identity consciousness in terms of their intensity and bias due to differences in part of their values.
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