ドイツ・ハイデルベルク大学 Steven Ivings先生（当研究会特別報告者）による研究会参加報告です。
Steven Ivings (Heidelberg University, Germany)
Over a three day period in early March 2016, it was my great pleasure to attend two very fruitful research workshops in Okinawa which brought together a number of specialists conducting research on historical migration across numerous regions, and especially focused on migration in its varied postcolonial forms.
On the first day the Okinawa research group met at the Okinawa prefectural museum and included a varied programme of presentations which addressed postwar Okinawa as seen through the photographic lens; the so-called “overseas Chinese” community in Okinawa; and the life history of someone who lived this period. Not being a scholar of Okinawan history, I approached the workshop with openness, but I must admit I had many preconceptions of the area and its experience of migration. I had thought of Okinawa as periphery which, faced with a difficult economic situation locally, sent migratory laborers to work in the industrial centres of Japan, and as a result, became somewhat dependent on external labour markets. Whilst this type of migration did indeed exist, it was a simplification of the actual situation and my preconceptions were thoroughly challenged by the three presentations. In combination they presented Okinawa as a place which had long-established and enduring connections in multiple directions across Asia and the Pacific; connections which left their mark both visually (as captured in photographic collections) and in the experiences of individuals and communities in, or connected to, Okinawa. Viewed in this way, I felt it possible to see Okinawa as a center and not a periphery, and this served as a reminder that scholars who study migration need to be mindful of how binary concepts such as center-periphery can prove grossly misleading.
Over the next two days the participants engaged in a comparative workshop held at the University of the Ryukyus which addressed several instances of, and issues surrounding, postwar or postcolonial migration. Among the cases examined were the repatriation, flight, or return of French, Portuguese, German, and Japanese residents of their respective colonial and wartime empires, as well as research that examined the decolonization of the Philippines and refugee situation during the American withdrawal from Vietnam. Despite the wide geographic and temporal scope of the research covered, and the sometimes extremely detailed case studies, I was struck by the number of connecting points between all of the papers.
In each case it was clear that repatriation or postcolonial migration formed an important component of the formation of the postwar system. This is true both locally in each respective country—whether former colony or metropole—as it played out in issues of national identity and socio-economic integration, and globally as the human aspect of the unravelling of empires was never a perfectly smooth process. Despite attempts at a clean slate, many stayed on or continued to have a relationship with their former home, and as such they came to have a political significance beyond their numbers bilaterally or more broadly in the postwar international arena. The political significance of postcolonial migration appeared very strong and lasted longer than the decolonization process itself, with subsequent migrations, integration issues, and the political lobbying of migrants intertwined with the core issues of postwar/postcolonial history in Asia and Europe.
Overall, despite important differences between each individual case covered at this workshop, I was able to appreciate a stronger sense of the bigger picture: the global phenomenon of postcolonial migration. This appreciation I think adds greatly to our understanding of each individual case, and as such, I think there is much value in ongoing comparative research. The willingness of each participant to step out of their comfort zone, i.e. their own object of study, and flesh out the contours, mutual connections, and impacts of several instances of postcolonial migration made for a very productive workshop, with the result that I have benefited greatly from participation and so I would like to congratulate and express my gratitude to the organizers. I hope these endeavors will continue in this vein, and I urge participants to consider publishing their work in English as well as Japanese. This is not cultural imperialism on my part, rather an expression of my view that the quality of research conducted warrants an international readership.