University of Oulu

Hidefumi Nishiyama (2022) Decolonizing knowledge of and from Okinawa, Critical Asian Studies, 54:4, 552-573, DOI: 10.1080/14672715.2022.2136098

Decolonizing knowledge of and from Okinawa

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Author: Nishiyama, Hidefumi1
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: embargoed
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2022
Publish Date: 2024-04-30


This paper explores the militarized situation of Okinawa Island and the ongoing struggles and challenges that Okinawans continue to confront. Particular focus is placed on how Okinawans challenge dominant colonial forms of knowledge, which assert that the U.S. military presence on the island is beneficial for Okinawan and Japanese people. After contextualizing Okinawa Island within contemporary American imperial geopolitics and outlining the current state of the island, the paper looks at three different, yet closely integrated, ways in which Okinawans, led by activists and progressive local officials, challenge the dominant narrative on the U.S. military. By questioning dominant assumptions about security, a base-dependent economy, and Okinawans’ indigenous status, these movements contribute to the decolonization of knowledge, an important step toward the demilitarization of the island. The paper concludes with a discussion of remaining challenges for decolonial knowledge production.

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Series: Critical Asian studies
ISSN: 1467-2715
ISSN-E: 1472-6033
ISSN-L: 1467-2715
Volume: 54
Issue: 4
Pages: 552 - 573
DOI: 10.1080/14672715.2022.2136098
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
517 Political science
520 Other social sciences
Funding: This research was supported by the Academy of Finland [grant number 321755].
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 321755
Detailed Information: 321755 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2022 BCAS, Inc. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Critical Asian Studies on 31 Oct 2022, available at: