Events | 19 February 2018

Alumni: Travel to Japan with the Gail Project


Okinawa, Japan: August 16 – 26, 2018

In a first-of-its-kind UC Santa Cruz travel experience, alumni are invited on a Japanese adventure, led by Professor Alan Christy, co-director of the Gail Project. Participants will delve deeply into the history of Okinawa, spending 10 days with Dr. Christy, a cohort of Gail Project undergraduates and fellow travelers exploring the history, tradition, and culture of this unique and significant island.

About the Trip

We will visit caves that were once forts in the heart of battle, winding markets with all of the tastes, smells, and colors you can imagine, shrines that will fill you with peace, and artisans who will immerse you into their craft. We will overlook military bases as we think about the American Occupation and the impacts of that relationship. We will eat Okinawan soba (noodles with pork), sample Goya (bitter melon), learn the intricate steps that create the dyed cloth known as Bingata, and dance to traditional Okinawan music. Gail Project students, while still working on their own undergraduate research, will make special appearances with the travelers and act as docents and guides at various sites along the way. This experience will allow travelers to meet and learn along with the students, and will offer insight into UC Santa Cruz’s commitment to hands-on research opportunities for undergraduates.

Click here for more information and a full travel itinerary.

If you wish to join the trip or have questions, please contact Sarah Caldwell at (831) 459-1536 or at

The Gail Project

The Gail Project is a collaborative, international public history project that explores the founding years of the American military occupation of Okinawa. The project is inspired by a collection of photos taken in Okinawa in 1952-53 by an American Army Captain: Charles Eugene Gail. The photos were generously donated to Special Collections at UC Santa Cruz McHenry Library by Charles’ daughter, Geri Gail, and have since been made available for student research. Our team of faculty, artists and undergraduate students at the University of California, Santa Cruz, are developing a traveling exhibition of Gail’s photographs with an accompanying digital archive that is comprised of the photos, key texts and documents, oral histories from both American and Okinawan voices, as well as undergraduate student research and writing. We believe that using the photographs as a lens through which to view this crucial time is relevant to populations throughout Okinawa, Japan, the United States and the entire Pacific region. We hope this project encourages a broad public dialog across the Pacific about the past, present, and future of the Okinawan-American relationship. The project emphasizes hands-on research and creation of stories and art by undergraduate students. Professor Alan Christy is the project director, Shelby Graham of the Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery is the exhibition director and curator, and Tosh Tanaka is media director.