We welcome Nikkei in the U.S. to participate in GUA. For our Nikkei allies who participate in GUA, we wish for the following:
Nikkei in the United States
- As members of the Japanese Diaspora, it is important to recognize your position within settler colonialism and resist U.S. imperialism at home and around the world.
- Make space, don’t take space: Are you following the lead of Uchinanchu activists? Are you centering Uchinanchu voices and experiences in your work? Are you working with Uchinanchu folks in your spaces? Are you actively recruiting Uchinanchu to your work and encouraging them to take positions of leadership?
- The development of a Nikkei identity has at times served to flatten diversity and suppress dissent within the community, and ignore the experiences of discrimination that indigenous Uchinanchu went through in the diaspora. We must learn about this history of discrimination against Uchinanchu in the diaspora as a way by which to recognize the diversity within the Nikkei community.
- Know history, Know self: For those members of the Japanese American community that had experienced World War II incarceration, we know full well the experience of being persecuted as a racial and ethnic minority. Yet we often fail to recognize how the incarceration experience played a critical role in disconnecting us from homeland politics. We must learn about homeland politics, and especially the history of Okinawa before Japanese annexation as well as under U.S. military occupation.
- Many younger Japanese Americans have been involved in the critically important step of reconnecting with their homeland heritage as a way in which to reclaim their identity. Learning how to reconnect with the Japanese homeland does not mean that we have to somehow erase the awareness of minority issues that we learned by living in the United States. This is in fact one of the core strengths that we bring to our engagement with Japan. Learning about the struggle of Uchinānchu, Ainu, Hisabetsu Burakumin, Zainichi Koreans and Chinese, and other minority groups in Japan serves as a recognition of the ethnic and cultural diversity inherent in meaningfully understanding Japan.
- As U.S. citizens, we have access to political means and avenues that the Okinawan people do not. We must take advantage of our natural understanding of U.S. politics to pressure the U.S. government to withdraw from its insistence on building the new military base in Henoko as a way of protecting the natural heritage of Okinawa. Working in conjunction with and in support of Uchinānchu activists in the diaspora and in the homeland we can make a significant and vitally necessary contribution to the movement against the new military base.