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One of Okinawa International University's goals is serving the local community. With this purpose in mind, the Institute of Ryukyuan Culture, the Institute of General Industrial Research, and the Okinawa Institute of Law and Politics were established to carry out original regional research and to return the fruits of that research to the local community. In addition, the institutes hold lectures and classes for the general public.
The Institute of Ryukyuan Culture was established in April 1978 as a resource and research center.
Okinawa people of ancient times -through their exchanges with the Japanese mainland, China, Korea, and southeast Asia- absorbed the cultures of the surrounding area and fused these into a unique and highly valuable culture of their own. This history and culture has drawn the attention of scholars within and without the prefecture, and through the labor of scholars such as Fuyu Iha (1876-1947), the famous Okinawan linguist and folklorist, the value of Okinawan culture has become widely acknowledged.
The Institute of Ryukyuan Culture was established as a place for doing interdisciplinary collaborative research that will contribute to the understanding of the Southwest Islands, the arc of islands stretching from Kyushu to Taiwan. In the future, we plan to strengthen our ties to Taiwan, China, Korea, and other countries in southeastern Asia by carrying out comparative research on each of these cultures. As part of that endeavor, we have been making reports on Taiwan and Korea since 1994, and on Fujian, China since 2000.
The Institute has worked hard in putting together a valuable collection of reference materials and documents, which are made available to students and the general public.
In addition to our academic journal. we publish a yearly report on the island that has been chosen for that year's interdisciplinary investigation. In cooperation with newspaper companies, we hold classes on Ryukyuan culture in Naha, Ginowan, Ishigaki, and other cities, and we take students on field trips exploring the literature, history, nature, geography, and industry of various areas of Okinawa.
Other activities include meetings of the Island Research Society (held 155 times as of January 2008), meetings of the Modern Okinawa History Society, Ryukyuan research seminars, and lectures on our regional investigative reports.
The Institute of General Industrial Research was established in April 1991 in order to promote science, contribute to the development of industry, and carry out theoretical and practical research on industry from an international and interdisciplinary perspective.
In addition to the approximately forty Institute staff members (OKIU faculty members), the Institute has commissioned as special researchers over seventy specialists from the financial and industrial sectors, government, and Japanese and foreign universities. While envisaging the independent development of a geographically, historically, and culturally unique Okinawan economy, we have gone beyond local concerns to build a broad network of researchers from industry, government, and the academic world. Through this network, we are working hard to promote international and interdisciplinary collaborative research.
The scope of our research has been broad, with past projects focusing on the industrial, financial, societal, and environmental problems of China, Taiwan, Micronesia, and various other islands in the Pacific. In the future, we would like to maintain a balance of research from various fields, focusing on local, national, and international concerns. At the same time, we want to push forward with more substantive investigative methods that will promote academic research and contribute to the development of local industry.
In the past, we have publicized the results of our research and investigations by publishing our annual journal and our annual report and by holding seminars and symposiums. In the future, we would like to develop more flexible and coordinated ties with the community in determining the content of our public reports, so that we can make timely and effective proposals for the local community.
The Institute of General Industrial Research is proud of its unique role as the only institution that conducts comprehensive industrial research in Okinawa. Through the unconstrained involvement of diverse researchers in interdisciplinary collaborative research, we hope to continue to be an institute that contributes to the promotion of local industry.
The Okinawa Institute of Law and Politics was established in November 1997, the third OKIU institute after the Institute of Ryukyuan Culture and the Institute of General Industrial Research.
The Institute has narrowed its focus on areas not covered by the other two institutes-namely, the fields of Okinawa law and politics.
In 1972, Okinawa reverted to the Japanese mainland. This meant that residents of Okinawa prefecture had regained equal standing as Japanese citizens under the Constitution of Japan. Even so, Okinawa still faces many problems not seen in prefectures on the mainland. This disparity is symbolized by the fact that although Okinawa comprises only 0.6% of Japan's total land area, 75% of U.S. military bases in Japan are concentrated in Okinawa. In fact, this problem is the source of numerous political, economic, societal, and educational problems.
In addition, Okinawa has legal problems in dealing with the Japanese mainland that stem from Okinawa's historical, geographical, and cultural peculiarities: an inheritance and clan system peculiar to a kinship society, nationality and adoption problems resulting from post-war U.S. rule, and a territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands. These issues necessarily draw our attention to larger themes, such as comparative studies of Asian laws and politics.
The Institute's task is to shed academic light on these issues and to come up with specific proposals. To this end, we have gathered relevant literature and materials through our exchanges with numerous research facilities throughout Japan, hold seminars and lectures, publish the results of our research in our annual journal, and are striving to take a leading role in research in this area.