The economic imperative of sustainable tourism development frequently shapes life on small subtropical islands. In Okinawa, ecotourism promises to provide employment for a dwindling population of rural youth while preserving the natural environment and bolstering regional pride. Footprints in Paradise explores the transformation in community and sense of place as Okinawans come to view themselves through the lens of the visiting tourist consumer, and as their language, landscapes, and wildlife are reconstituted as treasured and vulnerable resources. The rediscovery and revaluing of local ecological knowledge strengthens Okinawan or Uchinaa cultural heritage, despite the controversial presence of US military bases amidst a hegemonic Japanese state.
" [...] a wonderful ethnographic work [...] As readers navigate through shared narratives and collective histories, they cannot help but feel they are immersed within the Okinawan culture. Libraries with anthropological collections focusing on Pacific Island studies (with a primary focus on Japan) or cultural heritage tourism should have a copy of this work. Highly recommended."
"A solid contribution to the anthropology of tourism and to ecotourism studies in general that offers a variety of interesting case examples. This book successfully attempts to reconsider the primacy of the visual in touristic encounters, and to place Okinawa's current tourism economies in a larger historical context of exploitation and dependency."
– Erve Chambers, University of Maryland
"Murray's work is comprehensive, thorough, and surprisingly moving. Her impassioned ethnography, centered upon the "slow" vulnerabilities of Okinawa, demonstrates anthropology as an art and science of commitment."
– Christine Yano, University of Hawai'i
List of Figures
Introduction: "We Want Them to Know Nature
Chapter 1. Okinawa's Tourism Imperative
Chapter 2. Slow Vulnerability in Okinawa
Chapter 3. Knowing and Noticing
Chapter 4. Ecologies of Nearness
Chapter 5. Healing and Nature
Conclusion: Yambaru Funbaru!
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Andrea E. Murray is an Associate in Research at the Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies. She received her PhD in Social Anthropology from Harvard in 2012, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology and Asian Studies at Hamilton College.