Weeks 7 & 8 Discussion

How do you think the trauma that Okinawan women experienced during the Battle of Okinawa impacted their responses to the military base construction that the US military Occupation authorities enacted during the early 1950s that we see in the Isahama struggle? What traumas have to be dissociated from the Battle of Okinawa and understood as new to the time of US military occupation?

The Battle of Okinawa and other wartime efforts left Okinawan women with a collective sense of trauma as they ultimately learned to equate the loss of their land to the United States military occupation with death — whether it be of their husbands, fathers, brothers, cousins, cultures, ways of life before the wars and occupations, or even their sense of self-worth. As Okinawan women were forced to adapt to these changes, many found themselves tasked with heavy responsibilities of providing for their family, moving forward while carrying emotional conflict and pain, and preserving any remnants of their pre-war cultures, traditions, and livelihoods.

When considering the toils these women endured, it becomes understandable why they would oppose the US military occupation on their land, as these experiences likely fueled their collective opposition. They already had to endure sudden, emotionally scarring changes to their entire livelihoods, and this occupation of a powerful country would only make their homeland a stronger breeding ground of even more inevitable changes. Understanding how Okinawan women must have felt, both on an individual and collective level, is crucial to grasp the opposition they felt towards the US military occupation of their homes.

How does Kwon’s exploration of “the work of waiting” impact the way that we think about immigration policy in a specific country? What kind of map of global migration patterns would be adequate to express the range of labors that people engage in to support one migrant worker?

In her piece “The Work of Waiting: Love and Money in Korean
Chinese Transnational Migration,” Kwon explains the “work of waiting” in the context of many Korean Chinese families migrating back to Korea for both personal aspirations and economic opportunities. Often, this led for many families to be torn and separated as they have to “wait” for each other’s return or for remittances.

For me, understanding the emotional, financial, and political stress that Korean Chinese were forced to bear made me look at immigration policies with a more humanistic framework. More specifically, I used to see immigration policies in black and white: just immigrate if you can do it legally and abide by the set policies, and don’t if it’s illegal. I realize now that I never considered the people themselves, as Kwon, in her piece, specifically reveals that many people like Ms. Kang simply have no more options to provide for herself and her family because of factors beyond her control (policies, economic shifts, financial strains, etc.), so they see undocumented immigration and labor as a last resort.

I believe that a map of global migrations that would be adequate of expressing the range of labors that people do to support one migrant worker would include the migration flow of immigrants to and from certain countries, as well as the jobs that they hold. I believe that this would be a crude method, as it may often be difficult to find this information out (whether they want to keep confidential or not), but it would definitely explain the various ways immigrants may support themselves.