Living with a military base : a study of the relationship between a US military base and Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5q47rr53c

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  • This thesis is an exploratory and descriptive study of the relationship between a US military base and Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan, presented in the form of ethnography. Guided by James Scott's theory of "weapons of the weak," it explores the relationship between the two in terms of how the townspeople deal with the hegemony of the military base in the context of their daily life. Especially, it attempts to examine whether the townspeople's strategies to live with the base can challenge the hegemonic claim that the base exists to help create peace in the world. This thesis first describes the historical process in which a complex relationship between the two has emerged. Focusing on three important characteristics of pre-war Kin, close knit communal membership, "the home of emigrant pioneers," and communal land management, it illustrates how Kin has changed and/or has not changed in relation to the construction of a military base in the town. Secondly, this thesis describes how the townspeople perceive the base and their relationship with the base. Pointing out that the base is never perceived by the townspeople as a mere military institution, it shows that the base is perceived as both "the root cause of problems" and the most important fmancial resource with imposing international power. It argues that this paradoxical situation has created many dilemmas in the town, including the townspeople's ambivalent view regarding the hegemonic claim. Thirdly, this thesis shows that, with such perceptions of the base, the townspeople have developed various strategies to live with the base. Non-native Kin bar owners have developed the "American Bar System" and practice the hiring of Filipino women to interact with military personnel. Native Kin people employ the strategies of disassociation from the base and "independent" protests to live with the base. In addition, this thesis also examines native Kin people's "money redistributing system" and their reconstruction of the town as "the home of emigrant pioneers" in the framework of strategies to live with the base. It argues, however, that while these strategies enable the townspeople to live with the base, they cannot challenge the hegemony of the base and its hegemonic claim. Finally, this thesis shows how the history of the relationship, the townspeople's perceptions of the base, and their strategies to live with the base are related to each other. It also presents a scenario of how the townspeople can challenge the hegemony of the base and its hegemonic claim by expanding James Scott's theory and the townspeople's present strategies. The scenario is then translated into specific recommendations for the town.
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