An unknown history: Emigration of Okinawan seamen to Australia

1 September 2016

John Lamb deep amongst the photographic records of the Okinawans. Credit: N. Lamb

Sector: Society and Culture

Country location: Australia, Japan

Grantee: Mr John Lamb

Project Description

The project aims to present as comprehensively as possible the largely forgotten history of Okinawan emigration to the northern Australian pearling centres of Broome, Darwin and Thursday Island through historical text and an extensive array of photographic records, and through that to establish an ongoing interest in this shared heritage. Okinawan immigration extended over more than half a century and the arrival of a significant number of seamen not long after the Pacific War was a matter of considerable public and policy debate, as was their subsequent performance and treatment. It is hoped that publication of explanatory material, both in English and Japanese, will inspire considerable interest, better understanding between Australia and Japan and ongoing connections.

Key dates:

  • Launch of booklet in Japanese, Naha, 28 July 2017
  • Launch of booklet in English, Brisbane, 28 June 2017
  • Interim presentation, ANU, Canberra, 29 March 2017
  • Background exhibit, Naha, 27 October 2016 to 05 November 2016

Australia-Japan Foundation grant offer: $11,000.00

Total project value: $11,000.00

Last Updated: 16 August 2016