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Pictorial exhibition reflects post-World War II life

Date Posted: 2012-05-04

The 40th anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japan takes place in May, and a special picture exhibition showing life in the 1950’s under American control is under way through the end of the month at Plaza House Shopping Center in Okinawa City.

It was a strong dream of many Okinawans that Okinawa would revert back to Japan from U.S. control after the World War II, a dream achieved 1972, when finally Okinawa again became part of Japan.

Long ago Okinawa was an independent country, the Ryukyu Kingdom, but it was invaded by the Satsuma clan from Kyushu in 1609. However, the Ryukyu Kingdom continued under the Japanese government until 1879, when it was formally declared a part of Japan, and renamed Okinawa Prefecture. Since then, Okinawa was one of Japan’s prefectures until the end of the World War II. For another 27 years after the war, Okinawa was under control of the US government until reversion in 1972.

That's why Okinawa has a unique culture, which is sometimes called “Champuru culture”, meaning a culture mixed with many ingredients just like a popular local dish. It has mixed features and influences from Chinese, Japanese and U.S. cultures.

The Plaza House Shopping Center, in what is now Okinawa City, opened July 4th, 1954, during the period of U.S. control, and was the first U.S.-style shopping center in Japan. The modern and literally American style shopping mall gives image to Okinawan people: gorgeous and bright. The shopping center was then too modern to Okinawans, and that architectural style is still there for everyone to see as the building is still the same as it was a half-century ago.

Now, the Global Gallery in Plaza House Shopping Center is holding the picture exhibition commemorating the 40th anniversary of Okinawa reversion, and the 15th anniversary of Fairmall of Plaza House Shopping Center”. Fairmall is the latest three-story building next to the parking area of the Shopping Center, added to the mall 15 years ago.

Admission to the exhibition is free. It is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through May 31st at the Global Gallery on the 3rd floor and the 2nd floor atrium of the shopping center. Free parking is available either in front of the building or on two floors in the basement.

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