Northeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

3 - The Re-Appearance of Okinawa in Takamine Go and Yamashiro Chikako’s Moving Image

Friday, July 6
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Kadamba, Lower Ground Floor

The representation of Okinawa in Japanese cinema and visual culture has always been a challenging issue (Ko 2010; Yomota & Ohmine 2008; Gerow 2003), given Okinawa’s peculiar position in modern Japanese history (Oguma 1998; Tomiyama 1990), as well as its complicated translocal/transnational socio-political connections with mainland Japan, neighboring Asian areas and the US. Whereas mainstream Japanese cinema tends to exoticise and even consume the Okinawa-ness (Hein, 2010; Hein & Selden 2003), emerging independent works in the recent decade, specifically documentaries have mostly turned to local activist movements chronicling waves of anti-US military base protests and demonstrations.


This project interrogates the politics of representation apropos “Okinawa” in the afore-mentioned visual genres by shifting focus onto works by two image-makers from Okinawa, namely independent filmmaker Takemine Go and video artist Yamashiro Chikako, regarding how they have modified the “mode of appearance” (Demos 2013) in redefining and distributing what may become visible, audible apropos of Okinawa, and for whom. Takamine’s works, acclaimed for their stylized “magical realism”, open up space for his protagonists to traverse across an intertextual landscape of layered narratives such as folktales, songs, popular performances, as well as personal memories and historical events, so that multiple temporalities are de-hierarchized and re-experienced. Yamashiro in her works reinvents the notion of “mokunin hama” (or “Shore Connivance”, Jennison 2014), and leverages the liminal landscape to enable Okinawans to appear amidst their intricate liaisons in-between the US power and Japanese authority.   

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