Journal of Urban Culture Research

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U.S. Military bases located in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan have caused various problems such as noise, accidents, crimes, and environmental damage. For military base towns, these problems have presented serious and long-term policy challenges. However, according to the 1996 final report of the Special Action Committee of Okinawa, substantial portions of several military bases are being "retuned" to Okinawa. In this new phase, issues of how to utilize the sites of bases and how to (re) develop areas around bases are emerging as new policy challenges for the pertinent towns. The author's previous work (Yamazaki 2008), drawing on the political geographic theorization of 'place' by Agnew (1987), compared the developmental plans of three base towns and identified key elements to (re) developing these towns. One of the identified elements is the incorporation of town's cultural uniqueness into development and the mobilization of 'sense of place' to encourage town residents to understand and actively participate in development. Following this work, this paper pays further attention to the mobilization of the sense of place in the Koza District of Okinawa City. Okinawa City attempts to systematically preserve and publically represent the postwar history of the district as a military base town and shows the possibility that the sense of place could be incorporated into redevelopment strategies. This paper explores how the memory and history of a military base town can be utilized as cultural resources to revitalize the District.



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