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Okinawa at times is like heaven and hell in equal measures: tropical beaches next to ammunition dumps. A garrison island where people come to take vacations, the most politicized region of Japan can seem like being teleported back to the agitprop heyday of the late 1960s.

Gregory Smits’ “Visions of Ryuku” examines the fallout from conflicting visions of Okinawa from its time as a kingdom, through its seizure by Japan in the Meiji Period (1868-1912), and up to the ambiguous position it occupies today.

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