Researcher, Doshisha University
Ph. D. Candidate, Kyoto University
Akiko Mori is a researcher at the Amami-Okinawa-Ryukyu Research Center, Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan) and a Ph. D. candidate at the Department of Comparative Agricultural History, Kyoto University.
Her research focuses on the everyday lives of Okinawan people in Micronesia under the Japanese rule (Nan'yo gunto) and their memories of the Asia-Pacific War. She interviewed more than 150 Okinawan people who had lived in Colonial Micronesia and published their oral history in Lives' Polyphony Meeting the Okinawans having migrated to Micronesia under Japanese Rule (2016, in Japanese,) and Scenes of the Beginning : Oral history of Okinawans lived in Colonial Micronesia (2017, in Japanese).
“A History of the Excluded: Rethinking the Sugar Industry in the Northern Mariana Islands under Japanese Rule”
This paper examines the formation process of sugar plantation by Nan'yo Kohatsu Corporation (NK Co.) in Northern Mariana Islands under the Japanese rule. It focuses on the agency of Okinawan sugar plantation laborers, who struggled against the corporation’s management policy. From the 1920s to the early 1930s, Matsue Haruji, who established NK Co. devised the original sugar plantation system by utilizing the knowledge and experiences that he gained from his research at Louisiana State University, his work at Spreckels Sugar Company in California, and his management at sugar companies in Colonial Taiwan. In order to put this system into practice, he recruited field workers mainly from Okinawa, where was incorporated into Japan in 1879 and was well-known for the production of brown sugar from the early modern times. However, previous studies on the sugar history in Nan’yo gunto have mostly focused the roles of Matsue Haruji, NK Co. and the South Sea Government and the contribution of Okinawans as sugar plantation laborers has been underestimated. By examining the strike organized by Okinawa labor in 1927 and various struggles in their everyday lives this paper reexamine a history of the Nan’yo sugar production from an Okinawans’ perspective.