day Okinawa and it was colonized by Japan quite recently in terms of history.

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During this week’s lecture I enjoyed (unsure if that’s the right word) the content and learning a little more about marginalized groups within Japan’s society. The brief introduction to the history of Okinawa as a prefecture of Japan I found particularly fascinating. While having heard the name “Ryukyu Kingdom” before I wasn’t aware that this is present day Okinawa and it was colonized by Japan quite recently in terms of history. It was interesting to hear a little about the conflicted identity of Okinawa(ns) as a result, its relationship to “mainland Japan” as a result and some ways this can be observed such as the Okinawa Peace Memorial Park. Learning about this actually sparked a memory from a few years ago playing the game Yakuza 3 (2009) on Playstation 3. For the most part, at least for the start of the story, the (anti)hero Kiryu Kazuma resides in a fictional town in Okinawa after leaving behind his life in the yakuza that was played out in the previous 2 games. I remember being thrown by this location, this tropical paradise, my avatar as a hardened criminal in a Hawaiian shirt doing errands around the town to keep the orphanage he now ran operating as best it could for these children. It was, and still is, one of the most surreal and confusing openings to game I’ve ever played. Having no knowledge of this part of Japan it didn’t feel at all like the country I had experienced through other pop culture and media and I remember wondering why? The characters would even make reference, particularly those from Tokyo, about the “strange” ways people did things in Okinawa that at times felt dripping with racism and othering. I was puzzled. It felt like a whole different country, a different culture. Maybe that’s what the creators were going for, considering Kazuma was trying to leave his way of life behind. Regardless, their choice made me think a bit more about how I picture Japan and the intricacies of society.

Review containing an overview of Yakuza 3

day Okinawa and it was colonized by Japan quite recently in terms of history



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