First Advisor

Molly Benitez

Date of Award

Spring 6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Social Science and University Honors


Social Science




Women -- Violence against -- Japan -- Okinawa-ken, American military bases -- Japan -- Okinawa-ken, Feminists -- Japan -- Okinawa-ken, Militarization, Transnationalism




Off the southern part of Japan is the small archipelago of Okinawa. Of Japan's total land mass, Okinawa makes up only 0.6% of the country, yet it hosts over 70% of the land occupied by U.S. military bases. Since the end of World War II, Okinawa has existed under dual-subjugation by Japan and the U.S., which has created the grounds for systemic gendered and militarized violence. Rape and sexual violence perpetrated by U.S. military servicemen continue to be the primary concern of Okinawan feminists pushing for the demilitarization of Okinawa. However, these concerns often get lost within heteronormative and male-masculinist national agendas seemingly disconnected from the gendered experience of militarized spaces. From these sites emerges the stereotype of the Amejo. Amejo is a derogatory term used against Okinawan women with sexual or romantic relationships with U.S. service members. It translates to "an Okinawan woman with a sexual appetite for American men." Despite being among the groups with the most intimate connections to U.S. military service members, making them vulnerable to sexual violence, they are notably absent from the discourse about peoples' safety and security in Okinawa and even face exclusion from the anti-base movement. This study illuminates the Amejo stereotype as a versatile weapon to shame and silence victims of gendered and militarized violence. Through a mixed methods approach of critical discourse analysis and autoethnography, I utilize a transnational feminist lens to reexamine current anti-base discourse through Amejo in Okinawa.


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