Discussion Papers 2024


"Ambivalent Aspirations : Okinawans' Collaboration with the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere"

Author Name

Okubo, Yuri


May 2024

Full Paper PDF file


Focusing on Okinawan collaboration in the policy of migration to Southeast Asia in the 1940s to construct the "Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere," this presentation aims to explore the tension between the Okinawan people's aspirations for the empire and their resistance to it.

Okinawan intellectuals emphasized the importance of Okinawa as the “pioneer region of the southward advancement” based on its rich experience of their migration to Southeast Asia, because they wanted to be recognized a member of the Japanese Empire. The Okinawa Prefectural Office showed their collaboration by establishing training centers for southern migrants upon a request from the Ministry of Colonial Affairs which conducted the policy However, such collaboration was sometimes in conflict with the Okinawan identity.

In its twilight years, what did the Japanese Empire demand the Okinawans to construct the Co-Prosperity Sphere, and what did the Okinawans offer? How did the contradiction and ambiguity appear discursively? My presentation examines the idea of the southward advancement in the early 1940s proposed by Okinawan intellectuals in Gekkan Bunka Okinawa and explores the two training centers above by using newspapers, movies, and official documents.