Akibayashi, Kozue
Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence: A Feminist Challenge to Militarism
Ed.D. Dissertation, Columbia University Teachers College, 2002
USMVAW Category: Women’s Grassroots Activism

This is an assessment and analysis of Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence (OWAAMV) and their activism for peace and human rights.  Akibayashi provides a thorough critique of the issues addressed by OWAAMV and the evolution of their political activism to create social justice.  The five chapters include an introduction, OWAAMV’s methodology, an in-depth analysis of OWAAMV as an organization, followed by Akibayashi’s conclusions and recommendations for OWAAMV as they grow and develop.  The dissertation highlights OWAAMV successes and failures, important dates and events, and the ideologies that guide the organization. 

Akibayashi also examines the details of organizational membership and participation.  She offers a positive assessment of OWAAMV leadership, especially by Suzuyo Takazato, and evaluates leadership characteristics and styles.  Each section of the dissertation meticulously underscores the character and dedication of the women of OWAAMV and their ongoing struggles for peace and justice. 

The author suggests that the ideal solution for ending U.S. military violence against women and children in Japan would be the removal of U.S. military bases there.  Akibayashi highlights the steps OWAAMV has taken to move toward this goal.  The creation of OWAAMV broke the silence about U.S. military violence against women and girls and continues to highlight the ways in which the interlocking oppressions of racism, sexism, nationalism, and colonialism have shaped U.S. relations in Okinawa and Japan. – Summary by Jerrica Escoto

For an outline of the main themes and concepts of the dissertation click here.

 Asia-Japan Women’s Resource Center, et. al.
Protest Against the Series of Sexual Assaults by U.S. Soldiers.
Voices from Japan, No. 20 (Women’s Asia 21):34-37
USMVAW Category: Women’s Grassroots Activism


Discussion of sexual attacks on women and girls in Okinawa by U.S. military servicemen and the response of the Asia-Japan Women’s Resource Center (AJWRC)

Cornwell, Rachel, Gwyn Kirk, and Margo Okazawa-Rey
Women and the U.S. Military in East Asia.
Foreign Policy in Focus, eds. Barry, Tom and Martha Honey, 4(9):1-3
USMVAW Category: U.S. Militarism in Asia


Describes the negative effects of U.S. militarism on women and children in East Asia, including sexual exploitation, physical and sexual violence, and the dire situation of many Amerasian children.  Instead of U.S. troops going home and military bases closing after the collapse of the Soviet Union, East Asians have seen signs that the U.S. military is more entrenched.  The authors contend that the concept of security is unnecessarily militarized and does not include protection of the human rights of women, children, or the environment.

Desai, Manisha and Nancy A. Naples, eds.
Women’s Activism and Globalization.
London: Routledge.
ISBN-13: 978-0415931441
USMVAW Category: Women’s Grassroots Activism

Women’s Activism and Globalization is a broad and comprehensive collection that demonstrates how women activists across the globe are responding to the forces of the “new world order” in their communities.  The first-person accounts and regional case studies provide a global view of women working in their communities for change.  The essays examine women in urban, rural, and suburban locations in order to provide a rich understanding of the common themes, as well as significant divergences, among women activists in different parts of the world.  Chapter 14, “Redefining Security: Okinawan Women’s Resistance to U.S. Militarism,” by Yoko Fukumura and Martha Matsuoko, focuses specifically on Okinawa (Retrieved June 12, 2009, http://www.routledge.com/shopping_cart/products/product_detail.asp?curTab=DESCRIPTION&id=&parent_id=&sku=&isbn=9780415931458&pc=).

Donohoe, Martin
Violence Against Women in the Military
Sept. 14, 2005
USMVAW Category: Violence Against Military Women


Points to the correlation between violence against women, specifically within the military, and major health issues, including physical and psychological damage and PTSD.  Citing shocking statistics—1 in 7 military women are at risk for assault—Martin contends that this social problem is not simply a “military issue.”  Argues that the systematic toleration of violence against women within the military (by ignoring and not responding to allegations of assault) is a perpetuation of a dangerous culture of sexism and violence and has extensive detrimental implications for physical and mental health.

Enloe, Cynthia
A comprehensive bibliography of Dr. Enloe’s work has been compiled by our project team. It can be found on usmvaw.com at this link.

Fukumura, Yoko, and Martha Matsuoko.
Redefining Security: Okinawa Women’s Resistance to U.S. Militarism.
In Women’s Activism and Globalization: Linking Local Struggles and Transnational Politics, eds. Nancy Naples and Desai Manisha,
New York: Routledge.
Pages 239-265.
ISBN-13: 978-0415931458
USMVAW Category: Women’s Grassroots Activism

Analysis of the origins, development, and activist strategies of Okinawan Women Act Against Military Violence (OWAAMV).

Goldstein, Dana.
War with Ourselves: Sexual Violence in the Military
RH Reality Check
April 8.2008
USMVAW Category: Violence Against Military Women


Unveils the prevalence and broad dimensions of rape in the military, addressing numerous double standards in military reporting practices and failure to act upon reports. Based on a first-hand report of rape and cover-up by military officials, Goldstein argues that rapes within military are not only institutionally ignored but also intentionally concealed.  She discredits the argument that women should simply remove themselves from “dangerous situations” by reminding us that the real problem is not the women who are victimized, but rather the men who assault them.


Holmsteadt, Kristen.
Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq.
Mechanicsberg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2007.
ISBN-13: 978-0811735667
USMVAW Category: Women in the U.S. Military

This book includes the stories of women in the U.S. military who were deployed to Iraq during the current war.  Rather than focusing on a branch of service or a particular rank or occupational specialization, the author examines the lives of women with varied backgrounds, educational experiences, and degrees of military service.

Inoue, Masamichi S.
Okinawa and the U.S. Military: Identity Making in the Age of Globalization.
New York: Columbia University Press 2007.
ISBN-13: 978-0231138901
USMVAW Category: U.S. Militarism in Asia

Using the 1995 rape of an Okinawan girl by a U.S. soldier as a point of reference, Inoue explores how Okinawans began to regard themselves less as a group of uniformly poor and oppressed people and more as a confident, diverse, middle-class citizenry embracing the ideals of democracy, human rights, and women’s equality.  As this identity of resistance has grown, however, the Japanese government has simultaneously worked to subvert it, pressuring Okinawans to support a continued U.S. presence. Critically engaging social-movement literature, along with postmodern/structural/colonial discourses and popular currents and themes in Okinawan and Japanese studies, this analysis is rich in historical and ethnographical detail, a nuanced portrait of the impact of Japanese colonialism, World War II, and U.S. military bases on the formation of contemporary Okinawan identity (retrieved June 11, 2009, http://www.cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-13890-1/).

Johnson, Chalmers

Summaries of Chalmers Johnson’s trilogy on the American Empire; Blowback (2000), The Sorrows of Empire (2004), and Nemesis (2006) can be found on the usmvaw.com web site at this link.

The Costs of Empire: a Review of  The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle Against U.S. Military Posts, edited by Catherine Lutz
USMVAW Category: Impact of U.S. Military Bases


The effects of U.S. Militarization on a global scale. “In her foreword to “The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle Against U.S. Military Posts,” an important collection of articles on United States militarism and imperialism, edited by Catherine Lutz, the prominent feminist writer Cynthia Enloe notes one of our most abject failures as a government and a democracy: “There is virtually no news coverage—no journalists’ or editors’ curiosity—about the pressures or lures at work when the U.S. government seeks to persuade officials of Romania, Aruba or Ecuador that providing U.S. military-basing access would be good for their countries.” The American public, if not the residents of the territories in question, is almost totally innocent of the huge costs involved, the crimes committed by our soldiers against women and children in the occupied territories, the environmental pollution, and the deep and abiding suspicions generated among people forced to live close to thousands of heavily armed, culturally myopic and dangerously indoctrinated American soldiers. This book is an antidote to such parochialism.” (http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/print/20090514_chalmers_johnson_on_the_cost_of_empire/)

Kaisa-Ka Or Pagkakaisa Ng Kababaihan Para Sa Inang Bayan (Unity of Women for the Motherland).
Women and the U.S. Military Presence. Briefing Paper, March 8, 2002.
USMVAW Category: Violence Against Women in Japan & Okinawa


Position paper focusing on the U.S. military occupation of the Philippines and sexual assaults of local girls and women by U.S. military personnel.

Keyso, Ruth Ann.
Women of Okinawa: Nine Voices from a Garrison Island.
New York: Cornell University Press 2000.
ISBN-13: 978-0801437885
USMVAW Category: Violence Against Women in Japan & Okinawa

Since the last major World War II battle between the United States and Japan was fought on Okinawa, the island has been the staging area for U.S. military operations in Asia.  In conversation with Keyso, three generations of Okinawan women reflect on Okinawa’s history and how their lives have been affected by U.S. military presence, which continued after the island reverted to Japanese control in 1972.  The older women, whose families perished or were displaced during the conflict, recall the hardships of life before, during, and immediately after the war.  Women who grew up during the U.S. occupation discuss living and working on the U.S. bases and the differences in women’s roles in Japan, Okinawa, and the United States.  The younger women reflect on their identity as Okinawans, a marginalized group within Japanese society.  A glossary and explanatory notes are provided, but readers wanting more details of Okinawa’s geography (including a map of the island) and culture will need to search elsewhere.

Keyso, who has taught in Japan and trained at the Center for Japanese Studies of the University of Michigan, provides interviews with nine women with very different experiences and attitudes.  Three of Keyso’s subjects, now senior citizens, lived through the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.  Three, now in their 50s, were too young to remember the war but vividly recall the U.S. occupation and the campaign, successful in 1972, for “reversion” of control from the U.S. to Japan.  The remaining interviewees, 35 or younger, experience the continuing U.S. military presence and the struggle for equality with mainstream Japanese society from yet another perspective (retrieved June 12, 2009, http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/cup_detail.taf?ti_id=3427).

Kirk, Gwyn, Rachel Cornwell, Margo Okazawa-Rey
Women and the U.S. Military in East Asia
Foreign Policy in Focus 4(9):1-4
USMVAW Category: Violence Against Women in Japan & Okinawa


Explores the negative effects of U.S. militarism on East Asian women and children including sexual exploitation, physical and sexual violence, and the dire situation of many Amerasian children. Offers an overview of the results of U.S. military policies in the region. (http://www.fpif.org/briefs/vol4/v4n09wom.html)


Lutz, Catherine, Ed.
The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle Against U.S. Military Posts
New York University Press: Washington Square, N.Y., 2009
ISBN-13: 978-0814752449
USMVAW Category: Impact of U.S. Military

“A quarter of a million U.S. troops are massed in over seven hundred major official overseas airbases around the world. In the past decade, the Pentagon has formulated and enacted a plan to realign, or reconfigure, its bases in keeping with new doctrines of pre-emption and intensified concern with strategic resource control, all with seemingly little concern for the surrounding geography and its inhabitants.

The contributors in The Bases of Empire trace the political, environmental, and economic impact of these bases on their surrounding communities across the globe, including Latin America, Europe, and Asia, where opposition to the United States’ presence has been longstanding and widespread, and is growing rapidly.” (http://www.nyupress.org/books/The_Bases_of_Empire-products_id-11032.html)

Moon, Katharine H.S.
Military Prostitution and the U.S. Military in Asia.
Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus 3(6).
USMVAW Category: Violence Against Women in Japan & Okinawa


Short overview of the history of U.S. military involvement in Asia and conflicts/issues arising from U.S. military occupation.  Offers analysis of linkages between U.S. militarism and the exploitation of and violence against women.

Morris, Madeline
By Force of Arms: Rape, War, and Military Culture.
Duke Law Journal 45(4):651-781. 1995
USMVAW Category: Violence Against Military Women


Contends that militarism and rape go hand-in-hand.  Analyzes the significance of sexual assault practiced by military personnel and the interconnections between institutional military ideology and violence against women.

Shaffer, Robert.
A Rape in Beijing, December 1946: GIs, Nationalist Protests, and U.S. Foreign Policy.
The Pacific Historical Review 69(1):31-64.
USMVAW Category: Violence Against Women in Japan & Okinawa

Discussion of rapes by U.S. soldiers in China in the 1940s; also mention the sexual assaults in Okinawa by U.S. military personnel in the 1990s.  Highlights the resentment about the U.S. occupation of Asian countries.

Solaro, Erin.
Women in the Line of Fire: What You Should Know About Women in the Military.
Seal Press: Emeryville, CA, 2006.
ISBN-13: 978-1580051743
USMVAW Category: Violence Against Military Women

Wright, Ann
U.S. Military Keeping Secrets About Female Soldiers’ “Suicides”?
August 26.2008
USMVAW Category: Violence Against Military Women


In an analysis of alleged cover-ups by the military to protect criminal actions, Wright discusses the “unusual” circumstances surrounding the death of 14 women whom the military declared to have committed suicide.  Suicide by military personnel should never be taken lightly, but concealing suspicious deaths by labeling “suicides”—potentially to protect criminals—is even more sinister.  Wright explains that the characteristics of most of these women do not match the “typical” profile of suicide victims in the military:  they were older, more accomplished, five were women of color, and two were mothers.  At least two of the women had been raped prior to their deaths, and another was raped on the night of her death.