Event Recaps | 17 December 2021

50th Anniversary of Okinawan Reversion


This event series featured a lecture from Yoshikuni Igarashi (Dec. 17, 2021) and a roundtable discussion (March 4, 2022) focused on the 50th Anniversary of Okinawa’s return to Japan. After 27 years of U.S. Occupation, and 66 years of being a Japanese colony, Okinawa was formally returned to Japan on May 15, 1972, but this was not simply a singular moment. The term ‘reversion’ encapsulates the lived experiences of thousands of Okinawans across the country who experienced a major political, economic and social shift.

The Okinawa Memories Initiative (OMI) is a community history and dialogue project focusing on Okinawa and all the ways that its people, culture, and crises are central to understanding the world today. The team is driven by a spirited collaboration of college students, researchers, oral historians, and artists based at UC Santa Cruz with partnerships with Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal State East Bay, and in Okinawa, Japan.

This event series was made possible thanks to The Gilbert and Margaret Nee Fund in Asian Studies.

Watch videos of the events here.

Yoshikuni Igarashi Japan Circa 1972: Setting The Stage For Reversion (Dec. 17, 2021)

Yoshikuni Igarashi is Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945-1970 (2000) and Homecomings: The Belated Return of Japan’s Lost Soldiers (Columbia, 2016), and recently Japan, 1972: Visions of Masculinity in an Age of Mass Consumerism.

“Mobilizing the Reversion: A Geo-Political Perspective” (March 4, 2022)

This roundtable discussion featured Professor Mike Mochizuki from George Washington University and Dr. Fumi Inoue, a recent doctoral graduate from Boston College, in conversation with OMI Directors, Professors Alan Christy and Dustin Wright. This is the second event in our series on Okinawan Reversion, in which the speakers will be focusing on Reversion from a geo-political perspective, and the politics behind the Reversion Agreement between the United States and Japan.