Last Name: Ishikawa
Nominated by: Taro Amano
The U.S. military landed in Okinawa in 1945 during the Pacific War, and moved forward with a plan to establish a base here. 74 percent of the U.S. military bases in Japan have been concentrated in Okinawa, despite the fact that the prefecture only accounts for a scant 0.6 percent of the country’s total area.
The fact that Okinawan society relies on a great deal of government subsidies, and the prefecture, whose primary industry is tourism, receives preferential treatment in urban development and public works projects is all related to the presence of the bases. But the wages of regular salarymen and part-time workers are the lowest in the nation.
As with many island nations, Okinawa has a complicated history. Open-air burial is still practiced, and modern buildings and graves display the influence of the Ryukyu Kingdom, which continued for a period of 450 years beginning in 1429, and trade with China.
Okinawa’s economy and society are changing at a staggering rate due to the U.S. military’s plan to build a new base and the protest movement against it, a new runway for the Self-Defense Forces built as part of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, and plans for new facilities and a casino on a former base site. I used regional qualities and speed that are mixed in with the regular living environment that is being affected by these changes to shed light on the complex layers of scenery, accumulation of history, and the humanity of the people living in the area. By considering the identity of Okinawa, I am asking viewers to consider how social changes affect people, and how people and landscapes are related.
Shot with a 50-megapixel, medium-size digital camera, these images were made for the exhibition with a B0 12-color printer.