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The Limits of Okinawa


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Table of Contents

Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

1. The Birth of Okinawa Prefecture and the Creation of Difference 27

2. The Miyako Island Peasantry Movement as an Event 49

3. Reforming Old Customs, Transforming Women's Work 79

4. The Impossibility of Plantation Sugar in Okinawa 115

5. Uneven Development and the Rejection of Economic Nationalism in "Sago Palm Hell" Okinawa 146

Conclusion. Living Labor and the Limits of Okinawan Community 182

Notes 189

Bibliography 247

Index 265

About the Author

Wendy Matsumura is Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies at Furman University.


"[The Limits of Okinawa] supplies a previously unexplored and highly convincing account of the historical struggles of small producer communities - analysing the interactions between their peasantries, local elites and the Japanese state.... Matsumura masterfully injects drama and intrigue to embellish what is already a rigorous analysis of Okinawa's pre-war socio-economic and political history." -- Ra Mason * History *
"Matsumura's compelling and theory-informed account of anticapitalist struggles by small producers and cultivators against both local and national agents of political, economic, and sociocultural transformation offers a new perspective on the relationships between colonialism, capitalism, and identity formation. The book is a valuable resource not only for historians, anthropologists, and sociologists who are interested in Japan and Okinawa but also for other scholars who are more broadly concerned with the micropolitics of socioeconomic transformation under colonialism." -- Taku Suzuki * Journal of Japanese Studies *
"...The Limits of Okinawa is indispensible to specialists simply for the stories that it tells. However, its attention to historiography and theory makes it equally relevant to nonspecialists." -- James Rhys Edwards * Marx & Philosophy Review of Books *
"This is by far the best history available in English of Okinawa between 1879, when it was forcibly annexed by Japan, and the depression years of the 1930s. Appropriately focusing on economics, Matsumura persuasively applies current interpretations of Marxist theory to show the political, social and cultural effects of corporate and government efforts to make of Okinawans what Marx called 'dead labor' for the sugar and textile industries, and describes how workers and farmers resisted them." -- Steve Rabson * Left History *
"Wendy Matsumura has crafted a well-documented, theory-heavy account of labor and identity along the colonial periphery of imperial Japan. . . . The Limits of Okinawa is a must-read for anyone interested in the co-production of industrialization and colonialism, in Japan and the world." -- Christopher Gerteis * American Historical Review *

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