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Cultural Changes Among The Inhabitants of Okinawa

Article 1:

Morris, S. (1999, December). THE AINU: BEYOND THE POLITICS OF CULTURAL COEXISTENCE. Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine . Retrieved February, 2017, from https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/ainu-beyond-politics-cultural-coexistence

This article talks about how the protection law was placed on the Ainu people (indigenous group in the Ryukyu Islands). It shows that this law helped to protect their heritage and that their past history shows how they resisted colonization with protests. However, before the law was put into place they still were victims of colonization as many of their resources were engulfed in the modernization of the state.

Morris-Suzuki studies the history of Japan and Korea. She studied at the University of Bristol and has written books such as, Re-inventing Japan and Exodus to North Korea. This article falls well into her range of expertise as she has studied Japanese culture. Morris-Suzuki is also a professor at the School of Culture, History, and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific. These credentials show that she has a large focus on the research of other cultures. The goals of these institutions is to expand the knowledge they know on the cultures they are studying and to teach others what they have learned from these cultures. This article was originally published in 1999 which makes it out dated for my current research. I cannot know what has occurred in the many years that have passed since this article was published. The author is addressing the larger group of people who have colorized indigenous groups. They are trying to show the importance of the Ainu’s past and trying to head the larger group from erasing their cultural background.

This information in the article is fact. They talk about the history and laws put into place of the Ainu people. The only opinion in this article is the authors own feeling towards indigenous groups. The information is valid as they explain the history of the group and give definitions of the laws. They also use dates to support that their evidence is based in real time. This article is similar to other works I’ve read as they discuss how the indigenous groups fights the urge to be colonized but in term do have changes occur within the process. The colonization of this group seems similar to the others I have read about. I do believe the author is somewhat bias about the group as their research career has been based on people of this origin. However they do try to remain factually based for the most part, it only shifts to a more opinionated outlook when they start discussing the outcomes of what could happen to the Ainu people.

Article 2:

Figal, G. (2008, April & may). Between War and Tropics: Heritage Tourism in Postwar Okinawa. The Public Historian , pp. 88-107. Retrieved February, 2017, from http://tph.ucpress.edu/content/30/2/83

This article talks about how Okinawa was re imagined to look more like a tourist hot-spot after the war. The focus of the island was changed to appease those who visited and they re imaged it as more a tropical tourist spot which in turn has changed the islands heritage. However, World War II and the effects casted onto the island still remain to be a large part of its history among the people living there.

Gerald Figal has done many other studies on Okinawa and the war/tourism that occurs their. He is writing a book-length study on Okinawa currently. Figal is an associate professor who teaches about Japanese history, popular culture, and anime. He is part of the institution, Vanderbilt University, this school helps to promote the leanings of other cultures and what their effects are on the world surrounding them. This article was published in 2008 so it is somewhat out of date. It is almost 9 years old which is large amount of time for change to have occurred. The author is addressing a general audience towards those who have basis knowledge of Okinawa and what their views are on it.

This article is based on fact as it uses evidence of past events to show a cause and effect relationship that has now taken place on the current Okinawa. It does seem valid and well researched as it gives direct info on past events that are well documented and dated. This article is similar to the other cited article as they both examine the changes that have occurred over time. They also both support indigenous groups and want to preserve their history. The author isn’t completely free of emotion as when he talks about the war, he seems to extend some emotion towards the destruction that took place to Okinawa. I think it is clear the author knows a lot about this group but isn’t completely clear if he is a member of this group.

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Ryukyuans – Festivites Within The Islands

The Ryukyuan People

The indigenous group that interests me are the Ryukyuan people (also known as the Lewchewan people). This group is located in the Ryuku Islands, which is located between the islands of Kyushu and Taiwan. I have always been drawn to Asia’s culture, especially those located close to Japan. I though it would be interesting to learn more about the origins of the people who had first settled in these areas. I also thought it might be interesting to see how their cultural aspects may have effected modern day culture and beliefs. Ryukyuan people hold many activities throughout the year but some of their larger events take place during the summer months. For instance, Tanabata takes place in July. During this event wishes are written on paper strips which are hung to bamboo trees. The Obon Festival also takes place in July, during so people participate in Eisa Dancing. It is believed ancestors gather with their living relatives and over the course of three to four days, the families give offerings and dance with one another. In August they have harvest festivals. During these festivals Shishimai dances occur; a wooden lion mask and a wool costume is worn. The dance is preformed to loud music that include gongs, drums, bells, flutes, etc.

The map shows that the islands are quite small in comparison to Japan. Okinawa is the largest island that is part of the Ryukyu islands.

The second map shows the chain of islands. They are located southwest of Japan, are approximately 1,100 kilometers in length, and are made up of 55 islands in total.