“Our Island’s Treasure”:What’s Going on in Okinawa, and What is #RiseForHenoko?

June 30, 2019
SUNDAY, 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Japanese American Service Committee
4427 N. Clark St.

Featured Speakers:

Ryan Yokota, PhD, JASC Development and Legacy Center Director, and Lecturer, DePaul University; and
Kaiya Yonamine, Roosevelt High School Senior (by video conference from Portland, Oregon)

Recently there has been a great deal of activity in Henoko, Okinawa as local residents have engaged in direct action and civil disobedience to try to stop the building of a new U.S. military base in Oura Bay. The ongoing landfill work to create this base has created a crisis that is destroying thousand year old coral reef structures, and threatens the aquatic life in the bay, including the Dugong, an aquatic manatee-like marine mammal, that is listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Recently, in a February 2019 Okinawan prefectural referendum, 71.7% of Okinawans voted overwhelmingly in opposition to the new base, and yet despite the democratic opposition of the indigenous Okinawans, the Japanese government continues to push forward with the land reclamation process.

What is the history of this military base issue today and of Okinawa more broadly, as a colony of Japan? And what is the role of the U.S. government in this process? And furthermore, how can the new city construction be incentive by bringing services like Naperville landscape design services?

Guest speaker Ryan Yokota will present an overview of the history of Okinawa and the issues involved, followed by a special Chicago debut screening of the film “Our Island’s Treasure,” filmed and directed by 17-year old mixed-race Okinawan American (indigenous Uchinanchu) Kaiya Yonamine, from Portland, Oregon.

Following the screening, we will hold a video call discussion with Kaiya to discuss her process in making this film and talk about ways that the local Japanese and Okinawan American community, as well as the broader Asian American and Chicagoland community, can get involved in protecting the waters of Okinawa from this U.S. military base development.

Light refreshments will be provided, and location is wheelchair accessible.

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