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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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American Soldiers and Okinawan Women

American Soldiers and Okinawan Women

(p.28) Chapter Two American Soldiers and Okinawan Women
Okinawa's GI Brides

Etsuko Takushi Crissey

University of Hawai'i Press

In September, 1945, with most Okinawans still in refugee camps, the U.S. military ordered elections for civilian leaders in which women were granted the right to vote for the first time, seven months earlier than in mainland Japan. Yet they were far more concerned about the many rapes committed by American soldiers. Women and girls were abducted from fields while searching for food, dragged away from their homes, and assaulted in front of their families. After months of inaction, the U.S. military decided to set up “special amusement areas” for prostitution in certain towns. Some Okinawans favoured this policy as a “breakwater” to protect women and children of “good” families, while others opposed it as exploitation of women. In 1967, at the peak of the Vietnam War, an estimated 10,000 women engaged in prostitution. In 1948 the U.S. military rescinded a ban on marriages between U.S. soldiers and Okinawan women that failed to prevent couples from having intimate relations and living together. Still, commanding officers pressured soldiers not to marry, threatening disciplinary transfers. By 1967, among thousands of biracial children in Okinawa, about half were raised by mothers or their relatives with little or no financial support from fathers.

Keywords:   Women’s right to vote, Rapes, “Special amusement areas”, Prostitution, Marriage ban, Bi-racial children

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