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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Politics > History > WWII > Militarism > Controversy > Okinawa: The Afterburn (2015/First Run Features DVD)

Okinawa: The Afterburn (2015/First Run Features DVD)

Picture: C Sound: B- Extras: B Documentary: B+

For over a century, Okinawa has been a beachhead for American military bases. Since Matthew C. Perry forced opening of Japanese ports to American trade in 1852, Americans have used Okinawa as a staging ground for it's military forces, forcing Okinawan civilians to be ruled under American policy until it's return to Japanese administration in 1972 via post WWII terms. Throughout the century, Okinawa had to endure 2 World Wars and the Vietnam War, occupation in their own country by Americans, but the story isn't about how these countries came or even why they came ...but what they did in, as shown in John Junkerman's Okinawa: The Afterburn (2015).

Okinawa takes a look in to postwar history of how U.S. military bases and soldiers have effected it's people. Through the eyes and testaments of the civilians, veterans and soldiers there are two sides of the story and both sides painted a very different story. All the Americans said the same thing, that they were just following orders and came to Okinawa to protect American freedom and democracy, the military bases were justified and benefited Okinawa economically too, but the Okinawans have a different point of view, not only were they robbed of self identity, culture and self rule. They've had to endure American military occupation as well as related rapes, crimes, accidents and pollution they have caused and while they promise of change and of a better life, that so far has been an empty promise.

Over 1,000 military bases world wide the American government has set up bases for faster military response throughout the world, but at what cost and why? While some have praise such action, they have not always been welcomed or seen in a positive light. How is it any different from any other occupation by tyrants and dictators of histories past? To protect freedom and democracy they first take it away from it native people and others? American freedom and democracy loses it's charm when it is forced and at the end of barrel of a gun, though WWIi and Japanese Militarism as part of the Axis Powers caused this situation to begin with.

This very long, anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 presentation is a little softer than one would like, but some materials are rough in the defense of the makers, but the lossy Dolby Digital sound fares better despite some rough spots. Extras include Facing the Flamethrower, early postwar life, a piece on photographer Ishikawa Mao and Occupation Mentality.

- Ricky Chiang


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