Legacy of Japanese Wartime Occupation in Guam

Japanese wartime occupation is politically contentious in Guam, even today, as it closely relates to the indigenous Chamorros' patriotic loyalty to the US. The dominant legacy is that of US liberation of the indigenous Chamorros, which ended the brutal Japanese occupation, and prepared for their patriotic loyalty: a social condition that has supported the post-war US military presence on the island. The Guam Chamorros' patriotic loyalty translates into the locals' friendliness to the military, and stability of Guam as a valuable strategic US base in the Western Pacific, 'a tip of the spear' pointing to China.

In order to understand the long term impacts left by the Japanese occupation with the occupiers and the occupied beyond the liberation narrative, this talk focuses on: What are the aspects of the Japanese occupation remembered in Guam but not represented in public? How is the storyline along the US liberation often challenged, contradicted and deviated from, in survivors' testimonies and recent research? How do such deviations challenge the dominant understanding of realities of Guam, especially in relation to the ongoing US military buildup?

Updated:  27 November 2018/Responsible Officer:  JI Management Group/Page Contact:  Japan Institute