If someone in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, tells you to go fly a kite, don’t be hurt. They are probably just inviting you to the Odako Matsuri or Giant Kite Festival! And with hundreds of years of history, 13-meter paper and bamboo kites, and a bonfire using said kite as the finale, you’ll be glad you were invited.
It’s easy to understand why residents of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa would be upset with the deployment of twelve new Osprey hybrid aircraft to the Futenma U.S. military base.
While the U.S. assures the Japanese government that the aircraft are safe, an accident in Morocco that killed two U.S. Marines in April and then another in Florida in June make them a hard sell for Okinawans, especially since the Futenma base is surrounded by crowded residential areas.
So it wasn’t surprising when hundreds of protesters raised banners and chanted outside Futenma on Monday to show their concern over the safety of the aircraft, the first six of which arrived at the base that morning.
It was surprising, however, when, the next day, two groups of Okinawans gathered at a park near Futenma to protest the arrival of three new Osprey by flying kites near the aircraft as they attempted to land.