This page was created by Hiroko Matsuda. The last update was by Kate McDonald.
Prejudice and discrimination
At school in Taiwan, Ara Kinue was also recognized as “exotic” because she was originally from the Ryūkyū Islands and Okinawa prefecture. Ara also became the target of discrimination and bullying at her primary school in Keelung because of her Okinawan background.
Japanese people at that time did not really understand Okinawa Prefecture. Okinawans were called “Ryūkyūans,” and became a target of discrimination. I know one Okinawan guy, who received a tertiary education and eventually became the principal of a middle school in Taiwan. Because the Okinawan label could be an obstacle to social mobility, he changed his registered address from Okinawa to Tokyo.
Okinawa used to be the Ryūkyū Kingdom, right? Okinawa's culture and language were different from those of the Japanese mainland, and Japanese respect the differences.
Indeed, it was not uncommon for Okinawan immigrants in colonial Taiwan to experience discrimination and receive insults from other Japanese immigrants. To avoid such unfair treatment, some Okinawan immigrants hid their identities or changed their registered addresses to another prefecture.