Okinawa Hai fallback


Just wanted to let you guys know about two books that might interest you if you are moving to/ living in Okinawa.  One is called  Women of Okinawa: Nine Voices from a Garrison Island by Ruth Ann Keyso.  This is compilation of interviews with nine Okinawan women from different generations, who tell us about growing up sharing the island with Americans.  Although the voice of the editor, Ruth Ann Keyso, was annoying to me, she pretty much keeps her views to the introduction.  The rest is the women of Okinawa and they are definitely worth hearing.

The other book I just saw in the Kadena PX.  You can also find it in the library.  It’s a memoir called  The Girl With the White Flag by Tomiko Higa. She writes about her struggle, as a girl of seven, to survive the war in Okinawa.  While the writing (or translation?) isn’t stellar, the description of the sheer scope of the tragedy that took place at that time is enlightening to an outsider like me.  By the way, it’s a really slim volume often assigned to school children (according to amazon)…in case you are crunched for time.

Got any books dealing with Okinawa that you can recommend?


  1. The Okinawa We Lost is published by Camphor Press Ltd and is also available on The novel is set in the early 1960s and is written true-to-life based on the personal experiences of E. A. Cooper. It is a lovely period piece full of authentic color. The descriptions and dialogue are very good, and the characters realistic and sympathetic. The plot works well. And the subject is one that has not been written about. And, icing on the cake, though the story is set 55 years ago, it’s still extremely relevant. The author, who went on to become a college dean, served for four years in the Marine Corps. He also wrote, Vietnam By The Light Of The Moon, a human interest account of his tour of duty in South Vietnam with the Third Marines, Third Tank Battalion.

  2. Also echoing “Yokota Officers Club” and will also add that I *just* finished reading “The Ugly American”, which isn’t actually about Okinawa or Japan but about American Foreign Service Officers and military personnel in Southeast Asia, set in the late 1950s. It’s a fictionalized account of what the authors perceived to be typical American ambassador behavior and was a fast and interesting read that I think applies to any American traveling or living abroad.

    Another book that I fell in love with years ago that’s Japan-related but not Okinawa-related was “Memoirs of a Geisha”. Although the movie based upon it was actually pretty good, the book is completely absorbing. I’ve read it several times.

  3. I second the recommendation for “Yakota Officers Club.” While it is a fictionalized story, it was written by an Air Force brat who grew up in Oki post WWII. Part of it is set in that era. Very good read!

  4. I’ve read the Girl With the White Flag. It’s excellent. It’s also a good way to get Middle School kids into history. If you’re in Okinawa (I left last year, bummer) go to Peace Prayer Park, take the recorded tour, and join that experience with this book. If you try it, you’ll know what I mean. Very moving.

  5. Here’s a nice list of books about Okinawa:

    In addition to the ones you mentioned (both of which are good), I also enjoyed these two:

    “The Yokota Officers’ Club”
    It’s a quick read, fictional account of a military family living in Okinawa.

    And an ethnography (my love is anthropology) “Women of the Sacred Groves: Divine Priestesses of Okinawa”. Very fascinating and that little island is a wonderful spot to visit (great beach view cafe and beautiful beaches)

  6. Read both and they are both really good reads. The Girl With the White Flag is probably better in my opinion because you really take an emotional ride with Higa-san. Another book I am reading is The Battle of Okinawa: The Blood and The Bomb by George Feifer; more of a military book.