Participating Scholars
Makoto Arakaki

Project Description


Institutional Participants



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Japanese American
National Museum

Graduating from Asian American Studies program, UCLA, Makoto Arakaki is currently a Ph.D candidate and research associate at University of Tsukuba. His research focuses on Okinawan experiences in Okinawa and overseas, especially in Hawai'i. In this project, he explores the possibility of Okinawan diasporic identity which is de-centered, hybrid, non-essential and mutually constructed.

Research Proposal Abstract
The Formation Process of a Diasporic Uchinanchu Identity:
A Case Study of Okinawan Identity in Hawai'i

In this era of globalization, a number of new phenomena involving Nikkei communities are emerging, some of which require transnational and global frameworks for their analysis. One phenomenon in which Makoto Arakaki has special interest is the Okinawan diaspora; that is, the Okinawan diaspora community on the global level, deterriotorialized from any one particular nation state. Attempts to establish or strengthen networks among Okinawans, including both Okinawans in homeland and immigrants and their descendants
overseas, are observed in various arenas, such as the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival in 1990 and 1995 held in Okinawa, and the Worldwide Okinawan Business Association which was established in 1997.
In particular, he focuses on the transnational relations between the Okinawan community in Hawaii and the homeland Okinawa, the relations which have been creating an innovating community, not based in Hawaii nor in Okinawa, through mutual interactions and influences. Through network building and exchanges, a discursive position of uchinanchu identity has become more de-centered and diasporic. This research investigates the formation process of diasporic uchinanchu identity, focusing on transformation of Okinawan identity in Hawai`i as a case study.