After the U.S. victory in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, devastated Okinawans lived off of U.S. military rations, including unfamiliar foods such as pork luncheon meat and corned beef hash. Okinawans incorporated these and other U.S.-made goods into daily life as “Amerikamun,” literally meaning “American products,” but loaded with postwar Okinawan perceptions of America, its military, and the social contexts of the goods themselves. Connotations have shifted over the postwar period, at times suggesting Okinawan appropriation of American power through consumption of “luxurious” (jōtō) U.S. goods, but throughout the postwar period reminding Okinawans of American domination during the occupation and the unwelcome aspects of continuous U.S. military basing. “American Village,” which is a hybrid, American-style shopping mall and resort, is a concretization of this ambivalence, as multiple generations of Okinawans now have the opportunity to inscribe and reinscribe the meaning of Amerikamun on their landscape.

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