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AlegalBiopolitics and the Unintelligibility of Okinawan Life$
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Annmaria M. Shimabuku

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823282661

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823282661.001.0001

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Okinawa, 1952–1958: Solidarity under the Cover of Darkness

Okinawa, 1952–1958: Solidarity under the Cover of Darkness

(p.65) Chapter 3 Okinawa, 1952–1958: Solidarity under the Cover of Darkness

Annmaria M. Shimabuku

Fordham University Press

This chapter charts the position of the sex industry amidst mass social protest known as the “all-island struggle” from 1952 to 1958. The U.S. military attempted to contain this resistance by issuing off-limits orders on base towns that paralyzed the Okinawan economy. As a result, base town workers were pitted against popular political protest. This chapter addresses the sex worker as a subject who could not be mobilized under a political platform before the state, i.e., the lumpenproletariat. Instead of dismissing the lumpenproletariat as non-political and therefore not useful, it repositions politics as the interplay between a radical heterogeneity (i.e., alegality) attuned to the immediate struggle for life and political representation oriented toward an idealistic goal by examining the activities of Kokuba Kōtarō in the underground communist party. It was under the cover of darkness that this chapter locates moments of solidarity between women involved with G.I.s and Okinawans resisting U.S. military repression. This solidarity, however, dissolved along with the introduction of ethno-nationalism of pro-reversion political forces such as the Okinawa People’s Party. Kokuba’s understanding of politics as the merely instrumental representation of the masses was replaced by the assumption of a spiritualistic communion between the people and Japanese state.

Keywords:   all-island struggle, Kokuba Kōtarō, lumpenproletariat, Senaga Kamejirō, underground communist party

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