University of Oulu

Hidefumi Nishiyama (2022) Base Built in the Middle of ‘Rice Fields’: A Politics of Ignorance in Okinawa, Geopolitics, 27:2, 546-565, DOI: 10.1080/14650045.2020.1801646

Base built in the middle of ‘rice fields’ : a politics of ignorance in Okinawa

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Author: Nishiyama, Hidefumi1
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2022
Publish Date: 2020-08-26


This paper explores the role of ignorance in contemporary imperial geopolitics and the political geography of islands. Ignorance and imperialism have gone hand in hand since as early as the European age of ‘discovery’. The idea of empty spaces empowered earlier European colonial expansion by ignoring the existence of non-white indigenous people and communities. A few centuries later, the cartographic discourse of empty spaces still appears to be at work today in islands such as Okinawa where US bases have been stationed since the mid-twentieth century. The paper conducts a study of ignorance, or an agnotological study, of Okinawa. There has been a growing interest in studies of ignorance in the past few years, notably in sociology, science and technology studies, and studies of race and racism. Yet, ignorance as a focal point of analysis seems to be underdeveloped in studies of geopolitics and islands despite that the production of ignorance contributes to the maintaining of existing imperial spatial orders. The paper particularly examines the dominant discourses of US officials around the history of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which often ignore, or disguise at best, the colonial foundation of military bases in Okinawa.

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Series: Geopolitics
ISSN: 1465-0045
ISSN-E: 1557-3028
ISSN-L: 1465-0045
Volume: 27
Issue: 2
Pages: 546 - 565
DOI: 10.1080/14650045.2020.1801646
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 5141 Sociology
517 Political science
519 Social and economic geography
Funding: This research was funded by an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher’s grant [grant number: 321755].
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 321755
Detailed Information: 321755 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.