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Okinawa's GI BridesTheir Lives in America$
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Etsuko Takushi Crissey

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824856489

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824856489.001.0001

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Long Journey to a Huge Country

Long Journey to a Huge Country

Chapter:
(p.48) Chapter Three Long Journey to a Huge Country
Source:
Okinawa's GI Brides
Author(s):

Etsuko Takushi Crissey

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824856489.003.0004

Arriving in the U.S., women interviewed recalled worrying about leaving their parents and lacking English proficiency. They were impressed with the continent’s size compared to Okinawa Island and with America’s affluence. Yet some were disappointed that their husbands’ living standards fell short of what they’d seen in Hollywood movies. During the late 1940s and early 1950s women struggling to survive and support their children in Okinawa went into black marketing of commodities from Army post exchanges. One interviewee married the soldier who had been supplying her. When asked what had initially attracted them to their husbands, one woman recalled that, while she had hated Americans after the war, the soldiers she met impressed her with the courteous, gentle, and caring attitude they displayed toward women. Another remembered Americans as neatly groomed, smelling of soap, and well dressed in crisply starched uniforms. Some parents vehemently opposed their daughters’ marriages, even threatening to beat or disown them. But they later relented with the birth of their grandchildren, offering material and moral support to the family. As of 2010 there were at least thirty-eight Okinawa prefectural associations in the U.S., most founded by the wives of American soldiers they had met in Okinawa.

Keywords:   American affluence, English proficiency, Black marketing, Post exchange (PX), Parents’ opposition, Birth of grandchildren

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