Honoring the Legacy of a Young Life: Okinawan Women’s Groups’ Response to the 1995 Tragedy (70733)

Session Information: Japanese Studies
Session Chair: Marina Sholkova

Monday, 22 May 2023 12:25
Session: Session 1
Room: Room A (Live Stream)
Presentation Type:Live-Stream Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

On September 4th, 1995, three US Marines abducted and brutally raped a 12-year-old girl in Okinawa, Japan. In response to this heinous crime and other atrocities committed by US troops in Japan, Okinawan women's groups and other organizations launched a series of protests to resist the US military bases in Okinawa, calling for human rights and the reduction of US military presence in the region. This opposition movement spread to the Japanese mainland and had a significant impact on US-Japan relations in the post-Cold War era. This study adopts a historical research approach, drawing on local newspaper articles, official documents from Okinawa Prefecture, materials from the National Diet Library, and the Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. In addition, interviews were conducted with the chairman and members of women's groups in Okinawa to investigate the role of these groups in the anti-US military movements that emerged after the 1995 rape incident. The findings reveal that women's groups played a crucial role in these protests, bringing greater attention to the human rights of Okinawan women and stimulating diverse opposition activities in Okinawa. In conclusion, the study argues that women's groups in Okinawa played a pivotal role in the anti-US military movements that emerged after the 1995 rape incident. While the US-Japan alliance was ultimately strengthened, the voices of Okinawan women's groups contributed to raising awareness about the human rights of Okinawan women and sparked a more diverse range of opposition activities in the region.

Yuansheng Li, Osaka University, Japan

About the Presenter(s)
Li Yuansheng is a Ph.D. student at the Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University. His research mainly focuses on the post-Cold War history of Japan's society and its relationship with America.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00