Aaron Sherman Hopes
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationStanford U.
Grant numberGr. 10223
Approve DateOctober 7, 2021
Project TitleHopes, Aaron (Stanford U.) "Making Politics with the Maimed, Poached, and Extinct: Animal Care Networks and New Conservation Movements in Northern Okinawa and Japan"
Anti-militarization movements continue to proliferate worldwide and take new forms amidst the 21st century’s global rearmament. Since 1945, the U.S. has militarized the formerly independent Ryukyu Kingdom via bilateral treaties with Japan, launching much of the U.S.’s war in Vietnam from Okinawa Main Island. Today, Okinawa Prefecture hosts both the greatest concentration of U.S. military forces in Japan, and some of the largest intact swaths of subtropical rainforest remaining in Asia. Northern Okinawa’s Yanbaru rainforest hosts over a hundred endangered species, demilitarized zones, the U.S.’s only “Jungle Warfare Training Areas”, and a new national park seeking World Heritage status. Wildlife conservation and animal care practices have proliferated in the decade since the acceleration of militarization and demilitarization within the Yanbaru. Northern Okinawa’s ecological politics of wildlife conservation, and inchoate forms of public participation will be ethnographically studied to investigate how both institutions and non-specialists in Okinawa and mainland Japan generate intersecting discourses of ecological and political autonomy. The project asks if and how the protection and care of abandoned animals, demilitarized forest landscapes, and endangered species take on the character of previous Okinawan political formations or create media for re-imagining political participation and public life in a post-colonial, militarized place.