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Living Spirit: Literature and Resurgence in Okinawa
296pp. July 2011
Living Spirit: Literature and Resurgence in Okinawa
Editor: Stewart, Frank; Yamazato, Katsunori;
Living Spirit presents extraordinary writing from Japan’s southernmost prefecture—ancient lyrics to contemporary fiction, drama, and poetry—most never before translated into English and collected in a single volume.

The Ryukyu Archipelago comprises hundreds of islands, the largest being Okinawa, and for centuries was ruled by the Ryukyu Kingdom. This independent, peaceful, and highly cosmopolitan society lost its sovereignty in the seventeenth century, when it was invaded by a Japanese clan, and again in the nineteenth, when it was annexed by Japan. In 1945, the fiercest battle of World War II was fought on Okinawan soil. After the war, the islands were governed by the U.S. military until their reversion to Japan in 1972.

Throughout this difficult history, the Okinawan spirit has remained strong, and today it is more vibrant and dynamic than ever. Celebrating the cultural resurgence that began in the 1960s, Living Spirit presents acclaimed contemporary fiction and poetry, as well as drama, song, and essay. Also included are Higa Yasuo’s remarkable photographs capturing the timeless world of the islands’ maternal deities.

30 illus.
Manoa 23:1
Editor: Stewart, Frank; Yamazato, Katsunori;
Frank Stewart, a professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i and the editor of Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Literature, has published more than a dozen books of writing from Asia and the Pacific. Katsunori Yamazato is a professor of American literature and culture at the University of the Ryukyus and director of the Pacific North/South American Research Project “Human Migration and the Twenty-First Century Global Society.”