Friday, November 17, 2006

Why Okinawa? Messages from the People

In August 2004, a Marine Helicopter,
from the Futenma MCAS crashed into the Okinawa International University causing major damage.
While the damage has been repaired, the damage to the Okinawan People continues.

The US Military in 1945 decided to turn Okinawa into a Military Island, mainly because of its location as the "Keystone to the Pacific" and through a "Secret Agreement" between the US Military and the Government of Japan, for financial considerations, Okinawa has been forced to bear the burden of US Military Alignment in Asia.

Okinawa has rebuilt following the end of WWII just as other countries do following wars, but only on Okinawa, are the People in a continuous state of "Occupation".

Okinawa is important to Japan, because it keeps American Soldiers off of the Japanese Main Islands, which host Only 4 major US Bases.

US News Reports "Japan has 50,000 US Military Personnel", however in reality, it is Okinawa, that maintains 75% of this number, which is misleading to Americans, who wonder why Okinawa complains so much.

37 US Military Bases on Tiny 489 Sq Mi Okinawa, (which will fit easily in Los Angeles between Pasadena and Long Beach) & Is Very close in size to New York City.

Instead of closing the Futenma MCAS because of the dangers, the Military wants to fill in a large portion of Oura Bay, including part of the Henoko Penensula on the Pacific side of Huge Camp Schwab, which will destroy the Ocean Eco System, as well as the endangered gentle Dugong, who reside in Oura Bay.

We at RAFilms are not anti military, The Director, spent 3 years Active US Army, 2 years on Okinawa at Torii Station, and 7 years in the Active Army Reserves, ready to return to Asia to defend America against any who would attack the American way of life...
We support the efforts of the young men and women of the US Armed Forces currently deployed to the middle east and pray they will come home safely.
We do not support, Any member(s) of any administration, that will use these young men and women, to
(a) further their own agendas, through...
(b) misguided planning...
(c) defective intelligence, whether by mis-information or by design...
The careless manipulation of world events, so as to mislead the American Public in the willful and carless handling of America's most prescious commodity...
America's young people; Further the negligence in taking proper care of these young men and women while they are in uniform and when they are completed with their military service is disgracful and will leave America with a new legion of homeless and uncared for veterans..
In addition the lack of consideration for the economic impact on the American Citizens for this continued, unnecessary war in Iraq, rather than the proper direction of military action that is needed in Afganistan, will cost America financially to an extent unimaginable by an administration that will not be held accountable. Have we not learned anything from the past?

We also believe that with Okinawa's extremely poor Economy, that there are financial benefits for the presence of some US Bases, but at what point do Okinawans have the right to say enough is enough?
At what point is the proliferation of US Bases on this tiny island considered to be overwhelming for the Okinawan People who deserve better?

Okinawans worldwide, are concerned about their identity;
"Napoleon" was one of the first to cast disparaging remarks about the Okinawans, who preferred peace to war;
Commodore Perry, urged the President to allow him to take Okinawa for the Americans; Japan stepped in and annexed The Ryukyu Kingdom , took our last King Hostage in Japan, to prevent foreign trade, not realizing the inevitable.

Okinawa has realized the inevitable... Japan's Ruling block, "Big Picture" is to use Okinawa for their own Political Interests, while walking over Okinawan Rights, taking away their incomes, or financial aid, if they speak out against this system of Discrimination.

Our film " Why Okinawa? Messages from the People" screened with the New York International Film Video Festival, won "Best Historical Documentary" in November 2006 in New York City, as well as 4 other awards.

We Screened in Los Angeles, in March of 2007, and for the rest of 2007, this story screened in Japan.
DVDs of this story available through our website.


Our goal, at RAFilms and SilkDragonProductions will be to continue to monitor the progress of freedom for Okinawans;
Produce more stories relating to Okinawan History; Hopefully to educate more people around the world, not only the history but also the beauty of Okinawa from our studio on Okinawa.

6 comments:

E. A. Cooper said...

It's sad and unfortunate that Okinawa has a long and tortured history of being "dragged down roads already ruined by others." You are to be commended for helping to make the world more aware of the mistreatment endured by Okinawans at the hands of a foreign military power and an uncaring overlord. You deserve the attention and positive reception your film is receiving. I wish you continued success.

Okihito69 said...

Let me start by saying that this most recent incident is a tragedy and my heart goes out to the young girl and her family. I have a 16 year old daughter (Japanese National) and I know I would be just as furious as the Okinawans are if something like this happened to her. The fact remains, we can not hold everyone accountable for the stupidity of one. I have lived here for 19 years and I plan to live here the rest of my life. I do feel bad in ways for the Okinawans, but the military being here is not the cause of most of the problems here. And before you speak on behalf of the Okinawa people, you need to talk to all the Okinawans first. There are many Okinawans who do not think the same way as you do and think the bases should remain.
Next let me say you really need to get all your facts right before you make statements like you make. First of all Okinawa was not called the rock because it was a dumping grounds for equipment and troops, it was called this due to the fact is basically one big rock in the middle of the ocean. Back when this name was given, Okinawa was not built up the way it is now and for the most part was just a rock hence the name. Secondly there are not 37 bases on Okinawa and there are more then 4 bases in Mainland Japan and 5 in Korea. Thirdly the U.S. is not trying to build more bases on Okinawa, they are actually giving bases back to the Japanese Government. And the last major point I would like to bring up is the U.S. Government is not trying to build out in Oura Wan Bay, the Okinawans do. Camp Schwab is large enough as it is to support the airfield without going out into the bay. The U.S Government has been ordered by a U.S Judge to put this project on hold, however the Okinawans said they will continue anyway.
You said the Commanders here should be held accountable and trust me they are. But please tell me how anyone would be able to tell that this Marine would go out and commit a crime like this. Once again I do agree this was a terrible crime and the Marine should be held accountable for his actions. On a further note, the Okinawans need to be accountable for many crimes too. Crimes by okinawans are happening daily and they go overlooked. These crimes are commited by school teachers, government officials and even police officers. When 2 school girls beat another one for 5 hours straight and teachers are molesting students and this gets over looked for the most part there is a serious lack of responsiblitly taken by the Okinawans and Japanese government. The fact that many Okinawan parents dont know where their children are at and let them run wild well past midnight just shws they dont take responsiblity. Point being if you and other Okinawans think others need to take responsibilty then they also need to take responsility also. We wont even get into Okinawa having the highest DUI rate in Japan for the past 13 years.
You mention the Helicopter crashing on the university, which is another terrible incident, however there is no mention of crashes by Japanese Self Defense Force. There have been a good share of them over the years and some of them in urban settings, but you dont hear much about them either. Many of these incident could have been in Naha city Near the JASDAF Air Base. There were no protests when the China Airlines plane burst into flames at Naha Airport, it could have easily happened in the air over a populated area. I do understand people not wanting aircraft flying over populated areas, however this should not apply only to U.S. aircraft. Doesnt this all seem just a little biased and discriminatory?
You also have young Okinawan people going out stealing motorcycles, racing cars, and doing many thing that cause noise and damage to the community but all this for the most part also goes over looked. High school kids are dying out there from doing things like this, but for the most part nobody does a thing. The sad part is they usualy hurt or kill innocent people while out there doing these things. Please tell me how it is that an okinawan man who has been arrested 3 times for DUI and was driving under a suspended liscence was let go after he hit and killed a young American with his car? Before you ask others to take responsibilty for their actions you need to look a little closer to home.
The last thing I would like to talk about are the military bases on Okinawa! There are projects in the works to close a few bases and turn them back over to the Okinawan people and cut down on the number of troops here. I would just like to remind you there is a good reason the bases are here! There are a few countries in this area who do not like Japan and would love to try to take it over and call it there own. Do you also remeber that Okinawa was once under Chinese rule? I am sure they would be happy to have it back and the Japanese Central government knows this. I hate to say it, but as of now JASDF and Japanese Navy are not capable of defending an attack.

Okihito69 said...

Thank you for your opinion and I will take it for what it is worth. I will not debate how the name “The Rock” came about, it all depends on who is asked and it is not relevant.
So I guess if I am 50% correct on and ill informed then that would make you the same.

I have a question for you! You mentioned I would never know what it feels like to
loose a child and you are correct, however can you honestly say that you know that
feeling?

I guess you missed my point or choose to only comment on certain parts. I mentioned
horrific sex crimes on Okinawa which take place quite often and are brushed under
the table. Also I mentioned all the thefts, beatings, spouse abuse and not to mention
all the young Okinawan kids dying because they are out racing car and motorcycles
on public roads, which often cause accidents which involve innocent motorists. My
entire point is the Okinawans are as guilty as any and we ALL need to take responsibility
for what goes on Okinawa. We can not condemn on group of people when the same crimes are happening among all groups.

It also seems you get much of you information from The Okinawa Communist Website,
which is fine but much of it is biased and incorrect. The fact of the matter is, must of
the information that is put out by the media is biases and this is true anywhere in the world. I choose to get my information directly from the source and that is straight from
the people. Sure you can make assumptions saying 85% of Okinawans want the bases gone if you only ask a small amount of people. Maybe it would be better to say that 85%
of 1% asked agree bases should be gone. If could also do me a big favor and give me
the names of all 37 bases on Okinawa, I would love to see a list. Please don’t include any
that were around in the 60’s and 70’s which no longer exist.

One of the last things I would like to comment on is I have been on Okinawa for 19 years,
4 were as a Marine and the rest as a civilian. Of the 15 years as a civilian I worked at a
Okinawan company where I came in to contact with thousands of Okinawans over my years. At first some of them had their reservations about dealing with Americans but after a short time I was accepted by them all. Most of them were just not educated about Americans so they had no feelings either way, but change their attitudes after dealing with Americans. I am also fairly well known throughout the local sporting community
which is a fairly large group of people and they also don’t want the bases to leave.

Just yesterday I ran Okinawa City Marathon and throughout the 42.195 km course I was
curious to see if the protest groups would be out protesting, but you what they were not.
I guess they wont protest when there are so many pro base Okinawans out there. My point is that the 10,000 plus Okiniawans along the route gave the Americans incredible
support. Which include not only cheering but also food and drinks which they paid for
themselves. Children and older people were out there giving high five’s and touching
as we ran along. So the numbers you quote are not accurate, you may have read 85 %
support Americans leaving, but from first hand experience those numbers don’t hold
water. Even if you were to say it were 50% those figures would be closer but still would
Not be accurate

To blame the military for making these people the way they are is just ignorant on your part. The people who commit these terrible crime are mentally sick and not made this way. I was a Marine and I was and I was a air conditioning/refrigeration mechanic, I was
not trained to kill and I have not even got a speeding ticket. It is true we are weapons trained but that does not make a killer, if This were the truth then hunters all over the world are trained to kill! The Okinawans who commit the same crimes were not trained to be killers but the still continue to commit crimes. The difficult part about this is 99% of the time they seem like a completely normal person, how can anyone know they these people would commit such terrible acts? But I do agree once they do commit a crime they should be treated as such, anything done overseas should follow them to their
native country .

I also not arguing the fact that the Mainland should sponsor more of the bases and that
the response time would be better from Okinawa, however you can not argue the fact
that Japan and Okinawa are not strategic to defending this area. I know you are concerned about your homeland in a certain aspect however there is so much more to think about. Many of these government and military officials have bigger worries and one of them is over protection of their homeland, not to mention the economy. unfortunately this can have more weight then culture and heritage. Lets let the military
and government strategists (both Japanese and American) handle this, neither one of us
are qualified to do so.

What gets me is that nobody hears about the all the community projects the bases participate in, such as beach clean ups, hosting the Special Olympics,
painting and clean up of orphanages and old folks homes and those are just a few. As you do I would love for a better Okinawa with fewer crimes (they will never stop), because as far as I am concerned Okinawa is my home and always will be.

I realize we could continue to go back and forth forever stating our own opinion and
quoting what we read, who is to say what we read is factual even if you would like
to believe it is. Enough said about this and thank you for your time.

Kinuye Oshiro-Avery said...

To Respond to okihito69 would serve very little purpose, but to ignore it would make him appear correct in his assumptions.

I will agree that he is 50% correct on the name of Okinawa being called the Rock but this is such a meaningless observation.

Second he challanged me on whether I understand the loss of a child and I do.
All to well, never to be forgotten, and taken in such a violent manner, and at such a young age, we will miss Her forever.

In WWII, a grandfather I never got to know, forced to work for the Japanese Military, unarmed, then killed by Americans who mistook him for the enemy; Which I hold no ill will. Uncles killed in the initial invasion.Cousins who starved to death, and a cousin at Hime Yuri.
I am not sure this is enough family loss for okihito69 to understand, but to have lost so many family members as other Okinawans have, does leave a sad void.

My point to agree with crimes by Okinawans is no different that crimes by citizens,in any city in any country in the world, but we will never, hopefully match the horrendous crimes and in human behaviour by people in the USA who for no reason go on killing sprees; but yet no one seems to work toward ending the violence at home first.
We do not subscribe or pay heed to communist web sites, a comment that is insulting.
I gues when you have no meaningful comment, you make assumptions.

The very mud slinging between the Democarats and the Republicans I guess is what okinhito69 aspires to believe and fashion his own life style, belief system in.

Just because someone lives in a foreign country does not make him an authority of what the people there believe in.

If you carry your prejudices with you where you travel in the world, people will see you for what you really are and not share their true feelings with you.

A big problem with counting Military bases on Okinawa is the fact that one base name will be used for 4 distinct different locations and still call it one base.
Figure total land space of Okinawa, then figure total land use by the US Military Bases and then you will have a true picture.

Your comment that many countries in he world want okinawa so the US Military is here to protect us is garbage and the fact you say it shows such ignorance on your part.

If China was such a threat to Okinawa and wants us so bad, why are they staying away from Taiwan.

Perhaps it is because they do not want to antagonize the world opinion when they are trying to make themselves look good.

But to say Okinawa is a strategic location is pure garbage and to know you actually believe this shows such a total lack of knowledge and insight on your part.

Okinawa is held for the US Military because it suits the political convenience of the USA and The Government of Japan.

Okinawa does not build cars, TV or produce major consumer goods and obviously has a lot of money invested in the USA, so get real.

It is Politics and nothing more.

I agree that the Many good things come out of the Military Bases and I cannnot say how many times I have said this to ignorant people.

We are not anti-military, only anti over proliferation of US Bases on Okinawa.

What is so difficult to understand? Do you quit reading or does your brain quit functioning after you read "We are not anti military?"

If you are so concerned about demonstrating how much good the Military does, and I agree they do, then stand up and publish some good PR.

when Crimes occur on Okinawa by US Military, get the good people in uniform to stand up and denounce what the criminals in uniform do not stay silent.

Get them to voice to the Okinawan People, their disproval for the acts of a few than damage the reputation of many.

in other words, do something positive instead of bashing those of us who voice our opinions, which are not spouted in ignorance, but because we have to live with this issue.

Okihito69 said...

First I would like to give my condolences for all your losses! By no means was this a
challenge, I was just giving you the same question you asked me. I lost my father in
the Vietnam war so I understand the pain, so please don’t assume you are the only one.

There were only to challenges I made to you and these challenges are still out there.
please run for office if you believe you can change the ways things are. I would love to
see the two communities on Okinawa get along and strive to make Okinawa a better place. My second challenge was to name all the bases you say are here, you say that is
hard to do, but it really is not. If you can easily put these numbers out there then you
should be able to name all of them! I am sorry you feel insulted about the communist
party statement, however I didn’t say that you believe in it or are associated with them.
The only thing I said was much of your information is verbatim of what they have on
the Japanese Communist Party’s website..

I agree that just because I lived on Okinawa for 19 years that doesn’t make me an
expert about Okinawa. However just because someone is born here, does not make
them an expert either. The fact of the mater is each government officials, teachers,
news agencies, writers, and the average citizen has their own an individual view on any
given subject. Point being, one subject could have hundreds of different opinions about
it but which one is actually correct? With many of these complicated subjects now days
there are no single correct answers, there are many separate answers. In most cases
not everyone will be happy about the choices made.

You mentioned mud slinging, but it seems you are the only one slinging any mud.
I have been polite and courteous with you and I will remain to do so. You do seem
like an intelligent woman, however you do not know everything just as I don’t know
everything. I also don’t mind if you use words like stupidity, ignorance or prejudice
because that is your opinion and you are entitled to that.

You also implied I am bashing people for voicing their opinion, that is so far from the
truth. The fact is I am voicing my opinion from what I see and read on a daily basis and
have learned the past 19 years. Like you I have the right to do so and the fact is you are
bashing me for having my opinion.

I have never implied or said you are anti military and I know much of what happens
on Okinawa is political, this is the reason I said you should run for office, you may
be able to make a difference and change things for the better.

I will briefly touch on the fact you mention how violent crimes are in the US and the
fact that no one works on ending violence at home first. This is what I have been saying
to you about crimes committed here, when crimes are done by Okinawans or Japanese
for the most part they go over looked. When I say over looked I mean that the people
are punished for what they did, however the press gives in a few seconds of air time.
now if a foreigner commits a crime you would hear about it for days. Crimes which
happen in America get more coverage then crime committed in Japan by a Japanese
National. Talk about the need to end violence at home first!!!

I do agree the military on Okinawa should be held to a higher standard due to the fact
that they are guests here, but the way things are being handled now are just insane.
it is sad how biases news agencies can be, just recently there was an article out there which said Okinawa Sailor was charged with rape. The fact is he was stationed here
months ago and is no longer here and this alleged crime Happened in the US. I am
just wondering how all this ties in to Okinawa? The fact that he was here in the past?
it amazing what to hear such garbage and even more amazing people take what is said
to heart.

Can I ask you what your point was when you mentioned the items which are not produced on Okinawa? If Japanese or foreign companies can come in an start up
companies then why can’t the Okinawa start them on their own? Its not that they cant, it’s the fact they just don’t do it, so there is no one to blame except for themselves. As long as theses businesses operate under the law, don’t blame them for seeing an opportunity and taking it.

The last subject I would like to touch on today is the defense of this part of the world!
The fact is Japanese used Koreans during the war as slaves! Another fact is Japan
wanted Taiwan as their own since 1592 and eventually took control of it and ultimately lost it in 1945. As you can see there have been power struggles in this are for hundreds of years and if you think it all has been forgotten the you are mistaken. It is true nothing may happen if the military is gone, however there is a chance it could and luckily people do realize this. You and I know this is not true but most of the world does not differentiate Okinawans from Japanese, as far as the they concerned Okinawans are Japanese. Which brings me to the last thing I would like to say, Okinawa should do
like Taiwan did in 2007 and separate themselves from their main government and
start their own, this way they have control over what happens on their own Island.

Thanks again for your time and I always enjoying hear your opinions.

Okihito69 said...

Hey everyone, I just stopped in to say hello! I am on my 21st year on Okinawa and I love everything about it, but we have people destroying Okinawa, when they actually are thinking they are protecting it. Just two short statements this time on my part. The military housing situation is the first! Over a year ago a group went around and did a study about how many Americans lived off base and how many house were open on base. Okinawan's said there are to many empty houses on base and they need to be occupied, Well now that the regulation has come out that all units on base will be filled, certain groups are complaining about losing money. Well it really isn’t the Okinawan's complaining it is a few fanatics and politicians, nothing more and nothing less! Enough said on that, you can't have it both ways. The next and the big problem I see is the Judicial System here. I tried to make my point in the past and Mrs. Avery questioned my morals and that is why I am here again! I said be fore and I will say it again. I don’t care what color, race, creed or religion a person is the punishment for a crime should be the same. I guess this last statement is what brought me back!!! A good friend of mine was on her bicycle on the way to her swim practice, she was hit on a 3 lane road at the time of day when there are few cars, she was thrown from her $4,000 bike and she had many minor injuries to her body to include some major ones, the major ones include a fractured vertebrae, pelvis and many wounds. They OKINAWAN guy did not stop and left her for dead. He did turn himself in the next day but to this day he has not paid for any damages!!! I do not defend any crime, I just wish all paid the same for the crimes they committed. All, if you write blogs about how poor Okinawa is, come here first before you make any judgment.