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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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The US Military in Okinawa

The US Military in Okinawa

(p.11) Chapter One The US Military in Okinawa
Okinawa's GI Brides

Etsuko Takushi Crissey

University of Hawai'i Press

The Battle of Okinawa, which began in late March and ended in late June, 1945, took the lives of 94,000 Japanese soldiers, 28,000 Okinawans in local defence corps, which included middle school boys, 12,500 Americans, and an estimated 122,000 civilians, between one-fourth and one-third of the prefecture’s wartime population. Most of the survivors ended up in refugee camps for several months. It was the only battle of the Pacific War fought in a Japanese prefecture. With the congealing of the Cold War in the late 1940’s, the U.S. government decided to hold strategically located Okinawa for the long term, stationing some 30,000 troops there. The U.S. created civilian administrative agencies, but the military maintained ultimate authority until reversion to Japanese sovereignty in 1972. The result was an economy heavily dependent on jobs and incomes generated by the bases, such as auto mechanic, janitor, maid, taxi driver, bar hostess, and prostitute. To make room for the rapidly expanding bases, the U.S. military forcibly evicted Okinawans from their land with “bayonets and bulldozers.” Massive protests led to Congressional hearings and marginally increased, though still wholly inadequate, “rental payments” to landowners. Reversion restored Japanese administration to Okinawa, but the bases remain to this day,

Keywords:   Battle of Okinawa, Refugee camps, Cold War, Military rule, Base economy, Protests over land seizures, Reversion

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