A Conversation with Maedomari Hironori, Professor of Economics and Environmental Policy, Okinawa International University
by John Junkman, Film Director, Okinawa: The Afterburner
John Junkerman (JJ): I want to hear your thoughts about the history and policies that lie behind the present situation of the US bases on Okinawa, but first, could you tell us what you thought of our film? You watched the Japanese version, Okinawa: Urizun no Ame, and we included an interview with you in the American version.
Maedomari Hiromori (MH): As a journalist, I was impressed by how the reality of the Battle of Okinawa and postwar history emerge from the patient accumulation of eyewitness accounts. The testimony of the American veterans of the Battle of Okinawa gave me a new awareness. When we talk of war, we usually see it in terms of “enemies and allies,” but in fact there are no enemies or allies. This film forcefully expresses how soldiers on both sides are the victims of war. The American soldiers were equally terrified of combat, suffered casualties, lost many lives, and were left with deep spiritual wounds. How do soldiers and civilians experience armed conflict? And after the war ends, people continue to suffer the consequences. Once your spirit has been damaged, it is difficult to recover. As former Okinawa governor Ota Masahide says in the film, “The Battle of Okinawa never ended. It continues today.” That left a strong impression.
JJ: The English title of the film is “Okinawa: The Afterburn.” “Afterburn” is not a common English expression, but one of its meanings is that a burn continues to deepen after the flame is extinguished. As a psychological phenomenon, the damage from a trauma continues to deepen until the source of that trauma is resolved.
MH: That captures it well. It’s a very good title.
T O K Y P R O G R E S S I V E