Dissertation Title:

An Urgency for Okinawa/Ryūkyū Liberation Psychology: A Study of the Psychological Phenomena of Ongoing Violence in Okinawa and the Development of an Okinawa/Ryūkyū Liberation Psychology Method


Fujika Ariarakawa

Date, Time & Place:

March 7, 2023 at 10:00 am


Since 1879, Okinawans have been subjected to cultural genocide, forced migration, physical violence, a profound loss of their connection with ancestral spirits, wisdom and languages, land rights, identities, sustainable economic and peaceful cultural exchanges, and traditional community rituals and reparative processes. As an Okinawan researcher, I used an autoethnographic research in conjunction with cross-generational interviews of other Okinawans to listen to the psychological effects of ongoing violence and identify liberatory and decolonization approaches to Okinawan revitalization. Participants reported normalization of violence, an inability to grieve with their community, feelings of hopelessness, and an inability to resolve personal and community issues—all of which have been exacerbated by the recent pandemic. This research led to the development of an Okinawa/Ryūkyū Liberation Psychology grounded in traditional ancestral values of sukubun (a sense of community belonging) and araragama seishin (ancestral spirit). Such regeneration of ancestral spirits includes three steps: 1) reconnecting with ancestral roots; 2) recognizing the importance of causes and symptoms of psychological phenomena; and 3) reclaiming sukubun.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with Specialization in Community, Liberation, and Ecopsychology, P, 2013
  • Chair: Dr. Mary Watkins
  • Reader: Dr. Robert Ryan
  • External Reader: Dr. Wesley Ueunten
  • Keywords: Okinawa, Ryūkyū, Liberation Psychology, Indigenous Psychologies, Japanese Assimilation, U.S. Military Occupation, Transnational Colonization, Ongoing Colonization, Violence Normalization, Collective Complex Trauma, Autoethnography, Critical Decolonization Of The Mind