Title: The Afterlives of the Okinawan Community in Davao, Mindanao
Speaker: Mr. Ryan Buyco, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University
Date and Time: June 15th (Thurs.), 2017 16:00 – 18:00
Venue: Tonan-tei (Room No. 201) on the 2nd floor of Inamori Foundation Memorial Building, CSEAS, Kyoto University
Moderator: Dr.Caroline Hau (CSEAS)
The Okinawan community that existed in Davao, Mindanao, before the second world war has long been considered dead, due to the American repatriation policies at the end of the war which returned all Japanese nationals back to Japan, including those from Okinawa. Today, many of those who live in Davao have simply forgotten about this history where it remains outside the purview of many in public consciousness. Yet the Okinawan community in Davao lived on in other ways, in the form of stories found in newspaper articles, documentary series, and in the autobiographies of those who once lived there. This talk vivifies the lost connection between Okinawa and the Philippines through a reading of an overlooked short-story, “Davao Pilgrimage” (1997). Written in Japanese by Okinawan author Sakiyama Asao, “Davao Pilgrimage” is a ghostly narrative about a war memorial service tour in the Philippines and the search for a long-lost sister. Through the imaginative work of this story, this talk considers some of the historical connections between Okinawa and the Philippines, and what relevance they may have today.
Ryan Buyco is a Filipino-American Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University. His research interests include modern Okinawan literature in the Pacific, life writing, transpacific studies, postcolonial and indigenous studies, and critical geography. This year, Ryan is a Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellow conducting research in Okinawa and the Philippines for his dissertation on the literary, autobiographical, and oral history narratives of the Okinawan diaspora in the Philippines and Hawai’i.