Many Americans are showing up to support Okinawa, but Japan isn’t talking about them.
On May 26, a civilian employee of the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa was arrested after allegedly admitting to raping and stabbing to death a 20-year-old Okinawan woman who had been missing for almost a month after she went out for a walk at night.
This incident has rightfully caused an eruption of anger and protest by the Okinawan people, where the overwhelming U.S. base presence has long been a controversial issue. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of the victim of this horrible event.
However, one dangerous possible outcome of this event is the furthering of an “us vs. them” mentality, and a misconception that all Americans in Okinawa are inhuman monsters. Just like racial profiling in the West has caused unjust anger toward millions of people when only a few are at fault, Japanese media portraying Americans as silent or complacent on this issue only incites more anger.
This is especially relevant when the opposite is true. Americans in Okinawa are out in droves to show their support for the Okinawan people they live with.
▼ “When I was on Route 58, I saw all these Americans out in the intense heat with their heads bowed. I felt like I was going to cry. There are so many good people.”
ホテル出て58号線に入ったら炎天下の中アメリカ人が頭下げて来た。 胸が痛みますな。 いい人もたくさんいるのに。 https://t.co/0vgwUrTEcd—
hajiuson 2016 (@hajiuson_0118) May 28, 2016
▼ “I now understand how disappointing the Japanese media is
after seeing that they’re not showing any of these Americans.”
このアメリカ人達の行動を メディアなどが取り上げてないという 日本のメディア関係の残念さがはっきり分かりますね https://t.co/VPBCiP5w7F—
レヴィン(仮) (@A_sReViN) May 29, 2016
▼ “We are praying for Okinawa.”
▼ “Done with the mass media that doesn’t broadcast this
and the others who ignore it.”
(@NOVTELL) May 28, 2016
▼ “We are grieving together with Okinawa.”
According to Japanese netizens, these images are not being shown by the Japanese media. Here’s what they had to say:
“Why doesn’t Japanese news show this?!”
“I wish they would show both the good and the bad on TV.”
“If it doesn’t fit the image the news wants to portray, they don’t show it.”
“There are good people in every country.”
“So because there are good people in every country, that means we Okinawans have to continue to put up with the crimes committed by U.S. personnel?”
Of course, even Americans coming out and showing their support with the best intentions doesn’t change the fact that this horrible incident still happened. It’s important to be sensitive to the victims, and Americans supporting Okinawa doesn’t make what happened okay. Showing it would help make it clear that everyone condemns what happened, though, American and Japanese alike, and that we are all human – not monsters.