EAJS-L: Okinawa conference in Vienna

40 years since reversion: Negotiating the Okinawan difference in Japan today”

 The reversion of Okinawa to Japan in 1972 was an important turning point after which Okinawa’s position within Japan had to be renegotiated. The image of Okinawa in Japan has undergone a paradigm change since then: 40 years ago, politicians and intellectuals were anxious to adjust Okinawan society to Japanese standards. In this process, many aspects of the local culture were stigmatized and suppressed. Since the 1990s, however, more positive images of ‘Okinawan difference’ began to spread on a large scale. Do these dominant discursive constructions of Okinawa as ‘different’ indicate an increasing acceptance of cultural difference within Japan – or is the ‘Okinawan difference’ rather being reduced to its exotic aspects and thus being commercialized?

The conference aims at bringing together scholars from Japan, Europe, and North America who are experts in the field of research on Okinawa in various academic disciplines, thus stressing the methodological, theoretical and empirical diversity within the field of Okinawan studies. In addition, interactive elements such as artist’s talks and livestream discussions with Okinawan participants will complement the academic program.

 The conference is funded by the Japan Foundation, The Faculty of Philological and Cultural Studies and the AAJ. The conference language is English.

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