News & Politics
Ep. 230 “Lessons from Henoko ‘University’ ”
Ep. 230 “Lessons from Henoko ‘University’ ” (hosted by Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua and produced by Dance Aoki with assistance from Alan Grossman) was recorded in Nago City, Okinawa, in October 2015 and aired 12/18/15.
Okinawa is the main island in the Ryukyu Islands, which are the most southern prefecture of Japan. These islands comprise only 0.6% of Japan’s land mass, but 75% of all the U.S. military facilities located in the country. Due to this and the numerous negative impacts that result, the island has long been filled with protests seeking to close or remove the U.S. bases, and to protect the idea of Okinawa as an “island of peace.”
For the past 20 years, Henoko Bay, in the Nago City area of northern Okinawa has been the focus of most demilitarization activity. The U.S. military has argued that in order to close crowded bases in the south, they must be allowed to expand their base Camp Schwab in the north. This expansion would require back filling Henoko Bay, which sports irreplaceable, ancient coral life and is home to some of Japan’s most treasured native marine species. For more than 400 days protestors have been gathering outside the entrance to Camp Schwab seeking to stall construction of this base expansion. The protesters have dubbed this protest camp Henoko ‘University’ because of the lessons in peace and justice that take place there.
This episode features on-site interviews conducted by Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua, through a Japanese interpreter, Shinako Oyakawa, in October 2015 with ‘faculty’ from Henoko ‘University’. The interviews with Hiroko Oshiro, one of the main coordinators of the protest camp, and Kina-san, a 90 year old veteran activist were conducted outside the entrance to Camp Schwab. The interview with activist Yuri Soma, a scuba-diver/boat captain, was conducted at Uro Bay. They share their lessons on politics, linguistics and marine biology in contemporary Okinawa.
This episode concludes with a short appeal to the American people from a long-time Okinawan activist. Reverend Kuroyanagi, and the solidarity message of Dr. Bevacqua presented at the protest camp outside Camp Schwab. Several Okinawan protest songs, recorded on site, are also included in this episode.
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