Untamagiru: Okinawa Movie From 1989

Okinawa, the most southern prefecture in Japan, has been a major focus during 2010. It is close to Taiwan, to South Korea, to Communist China. Yet, there is a massive U.S. military based there, as if World War II/Cold War never really ended. It is far south in the sense of Hawaii being far west of the United States.

Oceans connect. For Okinawa, there is the culture, the music, the food, the ancient history. Japan should celebrate that it has such an amazing stretch, it reaches from the north to the south like few other countries.

Dear readers, do we really "understand" what is going on in Okinawa, and near the islands that are all the source of conflicts...

Do we not have a better set of values to solve problems?

I would like East Asia to create a model for how to solve local/regional/national problems. After all, these are people/countries that have had close contact with each other for some 2000 years or more. I think we can/should/must expect better. Okinawa should look to Iceland, to Greece, to others that share the same geological difficulties/opportunities. Expecting Tokyo or Washington D C to solve the problems, well, it is not going to happen. We need sincere diplomatic efforts that are native to the region to stand up and speak up. We need leaders.

2010 was the year when prime minister Hatoyama quit because he had no solution to the issue of the American bases in Okinawa. Or did he feel other pressure? From where? I am probably not the only one wondering what Wikileaks will have in store for "Okinawa" in the next couple of weeks or months...

After Hatoyama quit in disgrace, Okinawa has not been so much in the news.

Here is a rare movie from 1989, with Togawa Jun.

Untamagiru (ウンタマギルー?) is a 1989 Japanese film directed by Gō Takamine. It is magical realist story of the legendary Okinawan hero Untamagiru participating in efforts to form an independent Okinawa before the island was returned to Japan in 1972. Many of the characters speak in the Okinawan language and thus mainland Japanese spectators needed subtitles to understand it.

There are those who try to promote Okinawa as a resort island, but "full of fun" is not the message that people here will relate to in the time of economic crisis. Subtropical, yes, but if they go ahead with the U.S. Henoko Osprey helicopter base, there is virtually no way that tourists and visitors will want to go there, "let's play in Okinawa's nature."

From Paradise View


Barbro Kalla said…
I hope that next year will be a better year for Okinawa pointing forward towards a brighter future for these fascinating islands. They have a special place in my heart.
Matt Rhodes said…

Matt from UK here. Been watching the news in a state of shock! Hope you and others are ok.

This is very upsetting to see. We are all thinking about Japan. I didnt get your email could you drop me a line please. matskoi(at)gmail.com.

kind regards


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