September 16, 2017

After several weeks of an idyllic existence, cocooned from the rest of the world in the peaceful Amami islands, I found myself in Okinawa and rudely confronted by current and past geopolitics, history in the making, human rights and environmental issues to name but a few. I traveled up north today to Nago City to meet with Hideki Yoshikawa, an environmental activist/anthropologist who took me to Henoko and the protesters camp outside the US military base.

Desp...

September 14, 2017

I have had some pretty awesome community media encounters so far in my research here in the Ryukyu islands but this one with Mr Ikehara from Shimakutuba Broadcasting/Crest Company is hard to beat. And here is why: this man, an entrepreneur, innovator, inventor and fluent speaker of Uchinaaguchi was looking for ways to promote the island's fast declining language and he thought the best way of doing this is not by some top down government/ prefecture language p...

September 13, 2017

Island museum encounters: knowing the typhoon was coming fast, I run into the Okinawa Prefecture Art Museum before the grant deluge started. The building's outer form was fascinating but one of the things that caught my attention was the introduction to the Island's sea culture section, containing an expression I just heard this morning in an interview I had with a local FM person: "Nirai Kanai" (Happiness and plenty from the 'Out Beyond'".

The people of Okinaw...

September 9, 2017

Island in between port encounters: standing in front of this man with the Yoron t-shirt while waiting for the Okinawa ferry at Yoron port made me pay attention to what this small island's message to the world might be: here we are a dot along the line of many dots between Kagoshima prefecture in the Japanese mainland (the official boundary) and Okinawa prefecture (the natural boundary).

The official boundary forces the island to look to the north when the islan...

September 4, 2017

As I am getting closer to complete the first part of my data collection in the Amami Islands (I will be back!), I am reflecting on the many great meetings I had with many inspiriting media people, especially the local community radios and the young reporters who are keen to make sure their islands have a media presence.

As Miyuki Sakui said to me: "it's important to have Kikai-Jima stories in the newspapers for others to read, but it's more important that her i...

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