The Normal and Exceptional Forms of Enclosure in Okinawa: Going Beyond the So-Called Base Problem


The reality of Okinawa as a hyper-militarized site that comprises 0.6 percent of Japan’s land mass but houses 75 percent of all U.S. military bases in the country is well known. To take one of many recent confrontations over the presence and actions of the U.S. armed forces on the island, the prefecture’s residents have voiced powerful criticisms after a CH-53 helicopter, outfitted with low-level radioactive materials, caught fire and crashed just a few hundred meters from residences in Takae, which lie in the middle of the U.S. Military’s Northern Training Area.1 While neither federal nor local courts or police have jurisdiction over base-lands, which comprise over 10 percent of prime agricultural lands of the islands, this most recent incident – immediately roped off and made “off-limits” to Okinawa’s officials and investigators – reminds us that the entire prefecture is essentially a space over which the United States has control in the last instance. This situation has led scholars like Gavan McCormack and Chalmers Johnson to characterize postwar Okinawa as a site that reveals the very limits of sovereignty, since law is subordinated to a logic of exception whenever it obstructs the ability of U.S. military forces to maneuver freely in the region.2 Okinawa can thus be understood as one of many regions in the world whose value is nothing more than a keystone – a site from which America’s overwhelming military strength can be viewed and deployed to potential conflict zones throughout the world.3 As Harry Magdoff, John Bellamy Foster, Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin, and others have shown, the U.S. complex of military bases functioned as launching pads for an endless stream of military interventions throughout the global South after WWII and as the armed might backing up the financial capital deployed in the form of foreign direct investments, loans, etc., that the Bretton Woods system organized in order to facilitate the U.S. imperialist project.4

While this mode of analysis has been extremely valuable in situating the condition of Okinawa within a global context, one of its drawbacks is that it unwittingly reaffirms capitalism’s self-image as operating through the free flow of commodities, people, and capital, backed by the specter of military force but largely free from its direct influence except in moments of extreme crisis when deployment is unavoidable. In addition to minimizing the violence that these bases inflict on populations that live with their presence throughout the world, this approach has the unfortunate consequence of rendering everyday struggles against dispossession, enclosure, gender oppression, and exploitation as local flare-ups that are ultimately extinguished by the overwhelming power of the United States or, in Okinawa’s case, its trusty proxy, Japan. In other words, the antagonisms that develop in the islands only register as moments of “blowback,” to borrow Johnson’s memorable phrase – a pure reaction to the unbearable conditions of hyper-militarization. The image of a self-regulating capitalist society remains relatively undisturbed and the exceptionality of base societies remains unchallenged. This mode of analysis is not only a misdiagnosis of the way that Okinawa and other hyper-militarized spaces have been thoroughly incorporated into the post-WWII American imperialist project; by focusing on them only as keystones, it limits the solidarities that can be directly forged or imagined with other populations. Most importantly, it may overlook the specific and often contradictory nature of the demands that different groups of people within the islands articulate within their cramped spaces of maneuver.

In order to arrive at a fuller understanding of Okinawa’s place within the American empire since the end of World War II and by extension, a deeper appreciation of the wide variety of struggles that its residents have participated in to envision and secure a life outside of its grasp, it is necessary to engage in an analysis that focuses not only on the exceptional forms of violence that continue to be required for the siting of bases, but also to shed light on subtler forms of compulsion that are part and parcel of capitalist social relations everywhere. I build upon the work of scholars like Mire Koikari and Nancy Kwak who argue that technical and scientific education and housing aid were integral, rather than ancillary, components of sustaining postwar American imperialism in places like Okinawa, South Korea, and the Philippines, performing important material and ideological work to secure a smooth space for U.S. financial and industrial capital globally. To supplement this observation that capital requires the state to provide assistance of this kind to reproduce capitalist social relations, I draw upon the writings of theorists who have recently rethought the concepts of primitive accumulation and social reproduction.5 While a thorough explication of the diverse range of works that link these two concepts together is beyond the scope of this article, I assume their common starting point: that extra-economic compulsion is central and not exterior to the “normal” processes of capital accumulation, which requires much more than a singularly violent act that marks a transition to a new stage or composition of capitalist relations.

This point of departure calls for a reconsideration of the temporal relationship between the disruptive onset of capitalist relations and their ongoing, expanded reproduction. In Marx’s Temporalities, Massimiliano Tomba explains that the problem with designating a single moment of rupture, centered around a moment of enclosure as the central event that establishes the prerequisites for capitalist development – the separation of producers from their means of production – is that it grants capitalism a certainty and stability that is unwarranted.6 While he and others do not discount the importance of the seizure of communal lands in one locale for providing in some cases the prerequisites for the enactment of capitalist social relations, they argue for an understanding of capitalism as a system that requires the constant renewal of social relations, whether it is used to compel workers to sell their labor power, convince women to give birth to future workers and soldiers of the nation, to make sure that citizens and subjects comply with conscription orders in times of war, to encourage migrant workers residing abroad to send remittances back home to their families, to inculcate a desire in the masses for owning a single-family home, or to pressure landowners to lease their property to foreign militaries to house nuclear weapons. As social reproduction theorists have shown, each of these acts, mediated in capitalist societies through the nation-state and the heteronormative family form, do not end with so-called primitive accumulation understood as the moment of “capital’s arising,” but require constant compulsion, even in societies ostensibly constituted by free workers and capital.7 This observation leads us to think about extra-economic compulsion as central to, rather than outside of “normal” processes of capital accumulation and pushes us to analyze Okinawa’s postwar histories and current conjuncture in a manner that extends far beyond the base problem.

Finally, in a critique of representational strategies that render so-called primitive and ordinary forms of accumulation distinct, Massimo De Angelis argues that primitive accumulation implies the ex novo production of the separation of producers and means of production, while accumulation implies the reproduction on a greater scale, of the same separation.8 As he explains, citing Chapter 28 of the first volume of Marx’s Capital, “Bloody Legislation Against the Expropriated,” the key difference between the ordinary run of things and primitive accumulation is a matter of consciousness: whether or not there exists a “working class which by education, tradition and habit looks upon the requirements of that mode of production as self-evident natural laws.”9 Anti-colonial, feminist, or for that matter, anti-base struggles produce ruptures in this reified field and are often met with swift and violent responses that can take a variety of forms, including but not limited to physical repression or the redeployment of discourses that delegitimize alternative forms of social and economic organization.

What these theories enable us to do – which state-centered analyses often do not – is to take seriously the wide variety of antagonisms that developed in Okinawa as the United States built its military complexes there. It requires us to closely track the way that base-related enclosures were always accompanied by language and policies that emphasized the exceptional and temporary nature of this arrangement. What this in turn reveals is that the U.S. military in post-WWII Okinawa was not only interested in expropriating public and private lands in order to transform Okinawa into its keystone of the Pacific, but that it was also interested in allowing base enclosures to perform the constant ideological work of normalizing capitalist social relations in the islands. In other words, there was an articulation that complicates our understanding of how imperialist power operates; an articulation between military force and the restructuring of social life on a broad scale, namely through the redrawing of property relations. While Okinawa’s case may not seem meaningful if taken in its singularity, if we consider the fact that the islands were just one locale within a global military empire that was comprised of hundreds of military complexes containing thousands of bases scattered throughout 64 countries at the height of the Cold War, then the importance of military enclosures as material and ideological sites through which capitalist social relations were naturalized, in addition to their visible function as an enforcer of America’s finance capital-led imperialist project, should not be underestimated.10

The Coexistence of the Normal and the Extra-Ordinary

From the start of Okinawa’s occupation in the summer of 1945, the U.S. military headquarters balanced strategic needs with a desire to resume normal operations in Okinawa. Indeed, the first step to the resumption of the ordinary run of things took place soon after the U.S. military government began formulating plans for base construction on the islands in September 1945. On the 19th of that month, Rear Admiral JD Price stated in response to a question regarding land usage on Okinawa that American forces would return as much of the lands that they had initially occupied during the Battle of Okinawa that it could to original inhabitants so long as it did not interfere with their ability to fulfill their strategic commitments. In December of that year, they took the first steps toward meeting this promise by ordering district commanders to assemble and preserve any property records that had not been destroyed during the war.11 This was the starting point of the military government’s project of “recovery and reconstruction,” which proceeded lock step with the cordoning off of lands deemed essential for carrying out America’s strategic interests in the Asia Pacific.

The preservation and compilation of land records was followed by directive no. 121, issued in late February 1946 titled “Land Claims, Preparation of Data Concerning,” which moved one step forward to actually certifying titles to recognized owners. It mandated the establishment of land claims committees in every village that would be charged with the task of receiving claims from landowners regarding their prewar holdings and handling conflicting claims to ownership. An arbitral committee was also formed in order to settle these conflicts in a fair and transparent manner. Village heads who oversaw the process in their areas of jurisdiction were placed in charge of submitting declarations of ownership to the Okinawa Advisory Council, made up of Okinawans that the military headquarters appointed.12 The resumption of the currency system and the creation of a new wage system in the three months following this directive reveal the Occupation authorities’ desire to transform a war-torn Okinawa into a space within which capitalist social relations could eventually operate. In this sense, Okinawa was no different from the Europe of the Marshall Plan, or Japan, which was also subject to recovery and reconstruction policies immediately following its surrender. Part of this generosity was admittedly due to the fact that in 1946, the U.S. government was more intent on constructing bases in Korea and the Japanese mainland and had yet to designate Okinawa its keystone of the Pacific. But as I have argued, it was mainly because the reestablishment of capitalist social relations was a clearly articulated policy of the Occupation forces.

Okinawa’s strategic importance to America’s Cold War policy increased dramatically in October 1948, when, across the water, a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) victory became a serious possibility. At this time, the National Security Council recommended to President Truman in NSC 13/1 that the United States treat Okinawa’s military installations as long-term assets and ought to move quickly to develop them in anticipation of greater need, should Taiwan fall under the control of the CCP.13 Far from making the U.S. military headquarters reverse its stance on Okinawa’s recovery and reconstruction, the islands’ heightened strategic value accelerated the project to reestablish normal operations there.14

This is the context within which we should understand the U.S. military headquarters’ renewed dedication to upholding the private property rights of Okinawans, reiterated in its Special Proclamation 36, “Certification of Land Title.” Issued on April 14, 1950, it urged the people to “proceed to completion with the program of determination, certification and registration of title to all land on Okinawa” and set a firm deadline for the completion of this process.15 Local actors continued to be important for the process of confirming and adjudicating private ownership rights: village heads were placed in charge of determining and issuing titles, even on unclaimed lands, and were newly tasked with serving as trustees of any payments that the U.S. military made to landowners in exchange for the use of their lands, even in the event that the latter refused to sign their lease contracts.16 Occupation authorities thus went out of their way to solidify the terms of the debate over the military lands issue by making the determination, if not the full operation, of a system of private property one of its highest priorities in the first five years of military rule and made local government officials proxies for landowners who held lands within their jurisdictions. This consistent and aggressive confirmation of private property rights on the part of the U.S. military headquarters shaped the terrain of struggle that local activists, oppositional politicians, and landowners at times skillfully manipulated and at others became mired in from the 1950s on. The dominant mode of postwar struggles against land expropriation in Okinawa began from an implicit or explicit confirmation of the rights of ownership.

Dueling Definitions of Private Property at the Price Commission Hearings, 1955

This framing became an important tool that local activists, intellectuals and politicians used to make demands of the U.S. military that, at times, pushed conditions on the islands to their limits.17 One instance was in 1955, the height of struggles against a new round of enclosures that were announced in 1952. Local activists, members of the local government, the Government of the Ryukyu Islands (GRI), and dispossessed landowners articulated their claims for equitable compensation for their lands using the terms that the U.S. authorities had used to justify their expropriative tactics. They did so by deploying a critique that was strikingly similar to the one that Marx made of E.G. Wakefield and other political economists in his chapter on “The Modern Theory of Colonization” in the first volume of Capital, for their conflation of private property with capitalist private property: “It forgets that the latter is not only the direct antithesis of the former, but grows on the former’s tomb and nowhere else.”18 According to Marx, the consequence of this misrecognition was that “the political economist christens them [means of production and subsistence of the immediate producer] capital under all circumstances, even where they are its exact opposite.”19  

Indeed, Okinawa’s representatives refused to accept the assumptions from which technical experts employed by the U.S. military began: that the value of the lands that the military had to lease could be calculated as capitalist private property. They made their case for an alternative reading in a dramatic set of testimonies presented at a two-day hearing held before the Subcommittee of the Committee of Armed Services of the House of Representatives in Naha on October 24–25, 1955.20 They argued their point by first confirming that they, like the esteemed members of the subcommittee sitting before them, respected the rights of private property. Higa Shuhei, Chief Executive of the GRI kicked off the proceedings by issuing a warning that the respect for private property must not be subordinated to any state’s right of eminent domain: “We believe that when private properties are expropriated by virtue of the right of eminent domain, the loss resulting from such action must be equitably compensated with due respect to the rights of private property, according to the spirit of democracy.”21 He explained that the current rate of compensation that the U.S. government was offering to landowners did not align with the principles of equitable compensation – because most of the landowners who forced to move from their lands now had to pay much higher rents for their new residences than what the U.S. forces were paying them as rents for their lands. Kuwae Choko, the Okinawa Landowner’s Federation’s representative, then provided specific figures: “Lands at Futenma, which the USCAR property custodian office is administering, are rented to Okinawans in the name of the US Government. Annual rental is $612 per acre; however, for military requisitioned land which is just adjacent to same land, rental paid by the US government is only $82.” He concluded his testimony by reiterating, “I believe that it is quite unjust for the American Government to charge high rentals to the Okinawans and at the same time pay them lower rentals.”22

Furthermore – and this is where I see particularly strong echoes of Marx’s critique of Wakefield and classical political economy – Higa points out that the calculations that the district engineer of the U.S. forces made regarding land values were fundamentally mistaken because their determinations were “based on the assumption that farmland is capital and that compensation for it is the rental obtainable from leasing the land.”23 Higa explained that in reality, farmland for Okinawa’s farmers was not capitalist private property, since it continued to serve as valuable means of production and subsistence for the immediate producer:

The real value to the farmer of his farmland is not the rent that can be obtained from it; rather, it is the income that can be derived from the land. Farming is the only means that provides both income and employment for the members of the family. It absorbs the surpluses and unemployed populations, as well as unemployables, such as the old people and the women, whose help is necessary for a farm family to make a living.24

Since Okinawa’s farmlands had not been transformed into capitalist private property just yet, he explains, “compensation … should be based on the net agricultural income obtainable from the farm.”25 Here, Higa was not simply contesting the appraisal made by the military district engineer. Rather, he was insisting on significantly shifting the burdens of social reproduction – currently performed by agricultural households that were required to support the so-called surplus population created by the expropriation of lands without the attendant development of industrial work – to U.S. capital, or at the very least, on preventing local landowners from having to shoulder even more of it. It is on this basis that the GRI and the Okinawa Landowner’s Federation (Tochiren) rejected the U.S. army’s proposal for the establishment of long-term easements based on a one-time, lump-sum payment in the amount determined by the district engineer’s land value appraisals.

These statements were part of a carefully crafted strategy that affirmed the holy trinity of U.S. capitalism: private property–democracy–free operation of market forces.26 At the same time, they rejected the designation of Okinawa’s agricultural lands as capitalist private property and insisted that land values reflect the concrete realities of the islands – that a real estate market did not truly exist and that there was not enough industry to absorb those landowners who were dispossessed from their own lands into waged work despite all of the pains the military government had made to clarify ownership records. This argument directly rebuffed the U.S. government’s initial offer of a lump sum payment to residents who owned lands as compensation for their dispossession resulting from the military’s long-term needs.

Higa’s point had actually been made before. A group of women from Isahama, a village in Ginowan in central Okinawa had succinctly and powerfully argued something similar earlier that year following the acceptance by their representatives of the terms of a lease that the military proposed for their relocation. As historian Yakabi Osamu explains, while local newspapers celebrated the conclusion of an “harmonious resolution” to the Isahama land issue, 20 or so women submitted a petition to the GRI objecting to their dispossession. They asserted that they, not the men who had agreed to the settlement, were in charge of their kitchens, the health of their children, and their own well-being. They asked their representatives to remember in their negotiations that “money lasts a year but land is for eternity.”27



Images of the Isahama struggle. The sign reads “Money lasts a year, land is for eternity.”


Nowhere can we see more clearly the difficulties that this appeal, which became Higa’s strategy, posed to the American government than in the infamous Price Commission Report of 1956, which rejected all of the demands that the Okinawan coalition made.28 On the one hand, the Report made crystal clear why the U.S. armed forces were there. It extolled the virtues of Okinawa as a land without sovereignty: “In the Ryukyu Islands the circumstances of our political control and the absence of belligerent nationalistic movement allow us to plan for long-term use of a forward military base in the offshore island chain of the Far East-Pacific area.… Here there are no restrictions imposed by a foreign government on our rights to store or employ atomic weapons.”29 On the other, it acknowledged the serious political challenge that the GRI’s proposal for compensations, which totaled $8 million in rental fees annually and a one-time compensation fee of over $14 million, posed for the government’s ability to maintain the façade of fair use in Okinawa: “This proposal transcends any socialistic theory of compensation with which the other members of this subcommittee are familiar.”30 The main justification for rejecting the GRI’s terms came in the form of a warning that relied upon colonial tropes of the lazy native who was both incapable of hard work and ungrateful for the benevolence that had been extended to them: “It would create a group of what might be called ‘landed gentry’ in as much as the dispossessed landowner would … receive without the expenditure of any labor, the equivalent of his total land productivity.”31

The publication of the Price Commission Report prompted island-wide protests that came out of solidarities forged through the early- to mid-1950s struggles over forced relocations. These struggles posed serious threats to the realization of Truman’s earlier vision of Okinawa as America’s military base in perpetuity. Relocation was considered, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff ultimately rejected its viability explaining, “Relocation of US bases elsewhere in the western Pacific … would result in the abandonment of approximately $1 billion in assets, with negligible salvage value, and require in excess of $600 million for the construction of alternate facilities.”32 Ultimately, only the reversion agreement with the Japanese government, which stipulated that bases would continue to be housed on Okinawa and that the Japanese government would pay for them, could paper over the contradictions of U.S. military rule in Okinawa, which had been kept at bay during the early years of Occupation by taking advantage of a warfare condition. Once the peace treaty with Japan, signed in 1951, required that “just compensation” be granted to local residents in exchange for the continued use of their lands, the reality of capitalism as a system that required various forms and differing degrees of compulsion in order to enact the capital–labor relation even in hyper-militarized parts of the world became difficult to ignore.

The GRI-landowner-anti-base activist coalition demonstrated in their testimonies before the Price Commission that they understood what Marx called the “great secret” of capitalism, revealed through an analysis of colonialism: that the very notion of a “sufficient price for the land” was a fiction. Capitalist private property was in “nothing but a euphemistic circumlocution for the ransom which the worker must pay to the capitalist in return for permission to retire from the wage-labor market to the land.”33 They used this insight to pressure the United States to live up to its promise of reviving the ordinary run of things in Okinawa, and to reject the calculations made by the military’s appraiser as beginning from a fundamentally mistaken premise of social relations in agriculture – a compelling example of political coalition-making and resistance to the detrimental effects of imperialist-capitalist projects on their livelihoods.

  1. For English language reporting on this crash and the prefecture’s response, see “Okinawa assembly protests crash-landing of US military helicopter,” The Mainichi, October 16, 2017. See also the protests over the past year against the construction of a new base in Henoko. 

  2. Chalmers Johnson, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of US Empire, (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2000); Gavan McCormack, Client State: Japan in the American Embrace, (London/New York: Verso, 2007). Jim Glassman also makes this point in his article, “The new imperialism? On continuity and change in US foreign policy,” Environment and Planning A 37, no. 9 (September 2005): 1527–44. He explains that U.S. militarism is just “one face of a long-standing and complex development of US capitalism” (1540). 

  3. The phrase came from a notice board at Kadena Air Force Base, which said, “Welcome to Okinawa – Keystone of the Pacific – Kadena Air Base. Home of the 313th Air Division.” 

  4. Harry Magdoff, The Age of Imperialism, (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969); John Bellamy Foster, Naked Imperialism, (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2006); Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin, The Making of Global Capitalism, (London/New York: Verso, 2013). 

  5. Mire Koikari, Cold War Encounters in US-Occupied Okinawa (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015); Nancy Kwak, A World of Homeowners (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015). On the relationship between social reproduction and re-theorizations of primitive accumulation, to start see Werner Bonefeld, “The Permanence of Primitive Accumulation: Commodity Fetishism and Social Constitution,” The Commoner, no. 2 (September 2001); Silvia Federici, Revolution at Point Zero (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2012); Maria Mies, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale (London: Zed Books, 1986); Susan Ferguson, Genevieve LeBaron, Angela Dimitrakaki, and Sara R. Farris, “Introduction,” Historical Materialism 24, no. 2 (2016): 25–37; and Cinzia Arruzza, “Functionalist, Determinist, Reductionist: Social Reproduction Feminism and its Critics,” Science & Society 80, no. 1 (2016): 9–30. Cynthia Enloe’s Bananas, Beaches and Bases (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014) is also an important feminist critique of the geopolitically focused nature of studies of societies that have a strong base presence. 

  6. Massimiliano Tomba, Marx’s Temporalities (Leiden: Brill, 2012). 

  7. The phrase “capital arising” comes from Kalyan Sanyal’s Rethinking Capitalist Development: Primitive Accumulation, Governmentality and Post-Colonial Capitalism (London: Routledge, 2007). 

  8. Massimo De Angelis, “Separating the Doing and the Deed: Capital and the Continuous Character of Enclosures,” Historical Materialism 12, no. 2 (April 2004): 1–25. 

  9. Karl Marx, Capital, trans. Ben Fowkes, vol. 1 (London: Penguin, 1976), 899. 

  10. The figures are from Henry Magdoff, The Age of Imperialism

  11. HQ USN Mil Govern Okinawa, Directive 60, “Land Records – Assembling and Preservation of,” December 6, 1945. The Real Estate Branch of the Okinawa Engineer District was entrusted with taking care of the logistics. For details, refer to Arnold Fisch, Military Government in the Ryukyu Islands, 1945–1950 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1988), 172. 

  12. For the document, Papers of James T. Watkins IV: Historical Records of Postwar Okinawa and the Beginning of U.S. Occupancy, Vol. 47, ed. Hiyane Terou et al. (Ginowan, Okinawa: Ryokurindo Shoden), 133–34.  Of course, the collection of this data and the issuing of certificates of land ownership were accompanied by a detailed mapping of lands, which indicate that a primary purpose of this process lay in facilitating the process of expropriation for base construction. 

  13. See acting Secretary of State Robert A. Lovett’s missive to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council, October 26, 1948. 

  14. See the full text of NSC 13/3 of May 6, 1949. 

  15. It was following this that a renewed round of land expropriations for military base construction began. The reason for the refinement of this bureaucratic process to confirm land ownership rights was revealed in a December 5, 1950 directive (shirei), which stated that regardless of nationality, those properties or facilities that the American government deems necessary will be purchased or expropriated and its owners will receive the benefits of ownership in the form of rents or other forms of compensation. To formalize the process further, in place of arbitral committees, a Circuit Court was established to hear disputes, determine ownership, handle certificate transfers, and so on. For more on early Occupation policies, see Kabira Nario, Okinawa Kuhaku no Ichinen (Tokyo: Yoshikawakobunkan, 2011); Kurima Yasuo, Okinawa no Beigun Kichi to Gunyochiryo (Ginowan: Yojushorin, 2012) and Wakabayashi Chiyo, Jipu to Sajin (Tokyo: Yushisha: 2015). 

  16. This system turned out to be really important in allowing the military to have their proxies authorize lease agreements and continues today. 

  17. For more on this tumultuous period in Okinawa’s postwar history, see an excerpt of an English translation by Douglas Lummis of Ahagon Shoko’s 1973 classic, Beigun to Nomin. Also see Mori Yoshio, Tsuchi no Naka no Kakumei (Tokyo: Gendai Kikakushitsu, 2010) and Symbol Lai, Decolonizing Okinawa (Ph.D. diss., University of Washington, 2017)

  18. Marx, Capital, vol. 1, 931. 

  19. Ibid., 933. 

  20. Okinawa Lands: Hearings before the United States Committee on Armed Services, Eighty-Fourth Congress, first session, on Oct. 24, 25, 1955,” (US GPO, 1957). 

  21. Ibid., 2. 

  22. Ibid., 20. 

  23. Ibid., 2–3. 

  24. Ibid., 3. 

  25. Ibid. 

  26. As Symbol Lai notes, by the time the GRI and Tochiren representatives came to the table in Naha, they had already been through multiple rounds of hearings, interviews, and discussions with military authorities, as well as their constituencies throughout the islands that were being threatened with forceful eviction. The “strategy” that I’ve outlined here, though meaningful in its challenge of the characterization of Okinawa’s lands as capitalist private property and by extension, exposing the fallacy of the idea of a ‘free land market’ under capitalism everywhere, was the product of complex negotiations whose consequences, including the way the centering of the discourse of private property exacerbated gender inequalities in Okinawa, still requires serious research. For a feminist critique of how the redistributions of compensation on military lands have largely excluded women from the right to ownership and have in fact exacerbated gender inequalities, see Kiriyama Setsuko, “Sengo Okinawa no Gunyochiryo no Haibun to Josei Jyumin Undo,” Shakai Kagaku 44, no. 3 (2014): 31–61. 

  27. Yakabi Osamu, Okinawa sen, Beigun Senryoshi o Manabi Naosu: Kioku o ika ni Keisho Suruka” (Yokohama: Seori Shobo, 2009), 307–08. 

  28. Report of a Special Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, House of Representatives, following an inspection tour, October 14 to November 23, 1955,” (GPO, 1956). This is the infamous Price Commission Report. 

  29. Ibid., 7657. 

  30. Ibid., 7659. 

  31. Ibid. 

  32. Memorandum from the JCS to Secretary of Defense McNamara,” July 20, 1967. 

  33. Marx, Capital, vol. 1, 939. 

Author of the article

is Assistant Professor of History at UC San Diego. She recently published "Rethinking Japanese Fascism from the Politics of the Household" in Marxism 21, a South Korean journal. She is currently working on a project that analyzes transformations of the Japanese empire through social reproduction theory.