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Exploring "Borderlity" on the Ogasawara Islands

Yuki Sato


This paper explores the "borderlity" on the Ogasawara Islands, also known as the Bonin Islands. A case study was conducted to examine why the inhabitants of the Ogasawara Islands are unaware that they reside within Japanese territory bordering neighboring countries, in particular the United States. Questionnaires were designed to inquire about local residents' perception on the "positionality" and "locality" of the Ogasawara Islands. "Positionality" refers to the geopolitical positioning of a place and "locality" refers to the attributes stemming from such geopolitical properties. Results indicate that the Ogasawara people's lack of awareness of "borderlity" is mainly due to a lack of historical connection to the Japanese society along with the fact that the US naval administration resides on the islands and the large separation by sea from both Japan and the US. Such positioning of the Ogasawara Islands results in the locality perceived by the inhabitants, i.e. being "neither Japanese nor American" or "nowhere," and therefore an unawareness of "borderlity" exists.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229