Colonialism and Globalism: On Modern Japan and Internationalization of Japanese Sociology

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Kazuhisa NISHIHARA, Seijo University, Japan
In my presentation, I will talk about problems of colonialism and criticize the internationalization of sociology in the Okinawan context. To begin, I present a short historical overview of the Okinawa’s political climate.

Prior to 1879, Okinawa was an independent country called the ‘Ryukyu Kingdom’. In 1879, Japan annexed the Ryukyu Kingdom and governed the former kingdom until 1945. In 1945, battles between Japan and the US occurred in Okinawa. Following these battles, the US occupied Okinawa for 27 years. In 1972, Okinawa was returned to the ‘homeland’ (Japan). Okinawa’s return to Japan marked the birth of ‘Anti-Return Movements’.

Although the exact growth of Anti-Return Movements is unknown, the rape of a schoolgirl by American Marines in 1995 is known to have activated current interest in Anti-Return Movements. Interest in these movements involve the following orientations 1) pursuing Okinawan autonomy, 2) moving US bases to mainland Japan, 3) declaring Ryukyuan independence, 4) drafting Ryukyuan transnational constitutions, and 5) developing the cosmopolitan Anti-Globalism movement.

For this presentation, I will discuss orientations 3), 4), and 5) from a ‘methodological transnationalism’ view. This view represents an extension of U. Beck, who showed that Japanese sociology fits the framework of methodological nationalism. This extension and discussion involve a paradigm shift from ‘internationalism’, based on modern nation-states’ presence to ‘transnationalism’ toward cosmopolitan social design.

Recently, Sociological Review, the official journal of the Japanese Sociological Society, put together its first special issue on Okinawa. If this issue deals only with sociological problems within a narrow perspective of the nation-state, then Okinawan problems will not be resolved. Consequently, peace keeping efforts in the northeast will be adversely affected. Finally, to resolve Okinawa’s problems, I advocate for the transnationalization of sociology as opposed to its internationalization.