This introductory chapter presents a historical background of Okinawa's past in order to reveal the underlying tensions between the prefecture and mainland Japan. Like minorities elsewhere, Okinawans experienced prejudice and discrimination in Japan because differences—real and imagined—have caused them to be viewed as outsiders of inferior status. A history and culture distinct in many ways from the rest of the country has forced them to cope with a society in which such differences are often considered “strange” or “wrong,” and with a central government that has long imposed a monocultural standard in education, publicly priding itself on the nation's mythical “homogeneity.” Hence the chapter sets out the terms and methodology to be used in this research, at the same time employing these to debunk the fallacies employed in mainland discourse.
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