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Okinawa was a latecomer to the Japanese archipelago. It didn’t become part of Japan until the end of the 19th century, and no sooner had the Second World War ended than it was taken out of Japanese hands and placed under US occupation, where it remained until 1972.

In the years after the war, US troops poured into Okinawa in need of accommodation – fast. Off-base housing was thrown up all over the island; thousands of simple, single-rise concrete buildings, built in a functional style. Today, those humble houses, known as gaijin juutaku (“foreig…



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