A Result of American Bases
After World War II, the U.S. military built vast installations and imposed occupation rule until 1972. For all the post-war years Okinawans have lived next door to American bases. As one result, large numbers of Okinawan women married American military men and immigrated to the U.S. Couples had to overcome stubborn resistance to their marriages from the U.S. military in Okinawa, and a legacy of discriminatory immigration laws in the United States, especially targeting Asians. Couples also faced racial prejudice living in the U.S., where interracial marriages were illegal in several states until 1967. Negative stereotypes about international marriages abound in American popular culture, such as James A. Michener’s 1954 novel Sayonara about an American airman and his Japanese fiancee. Yet many women interviewed in this study had successful marriages and fulfilling lives, demonstrating extraordinary courage and perseverance in adjusting to a markedly different society and culture. Many have formed local Okinawa prefectural associations throughout the U.S. for mutual support and participation with their families in Okinawan cultural events.
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