Maehara Social Street
In the summer of 2002, I was in Okinawa prefecture, Japan. When I was taking
a bus, I saw impressive scene. Low glide militarily plane was flew over
the dense populated residential area of Ginowan city. It's nearby Futenma
US air base.
Coincidentally, I found the gate which was written "Maehara Social
Street" when I look out through the window. I pressed the stop request
button without any moment. I was so attracted by the name of "Social
When I walked back to the gate where I had just passed by, a man talked
"Hey, wata ya doin' with hangin' the camera, uh? You'll have a trouble
with taking picture in such place. You wanna photo a woman? You come here
for photographing a woman, uh?"
I couldn't hear it well. Because air plane was flying over making loud
noise. But I heard something like that.
"Ah ... well ... I think so"
I responded to him although I could not make sense what he was saying exactly.
However I understood what he had said when I went thorough the gate of
Maehara Social Street. It's a red light (prostituting) area. The scenery
of the street was quite impressive to me. Side of the street was long flat
house which was divided into the compartments. Each compartment has a woman.
They sat on the stool crossing their legs. They looked out the street smoking
cigarette. It's hot and sticky afternoon of Okinawa. Day light of summer
was still left on the street. Then I looked up the sky. I saw the gigantic
figure of military plane every couple of minutes.
The scenery looked like the very old days. Of course, I didn't know the
post WWII period. But the scenery of Maehara, some how, made me imagine
that it must be like this.
To be honest, I got shock for seeing the street. I thought I had seen those
kind of red light districts all over the world so far. But I was surprised
with existing such area in today's Japan. Mehara looked like even resisting
the passage of time.
Days passed by. Few years ago, I read the article about Maehara on news
paper. It said " Okinawa's dishonored heritage Maehara Social Street
, which has grown with US military base after WWII, was strictly inspected
for illegal prostitution by the police dept. of Okinawa" Maybe the
quarter has been changed now.
However I think the cross of "Dishonored Heritage" was too heavy
for the people's lives in such a tiny quarter. Okinawa has a much bigger
dishonored heritage. Apparently, It's US military bases which occupies
20% of Okinawa main Island.
Now, the one of dishonored heritages which is nearby the Maehara Social Street, Futenma, is moving out. But Japanese government cannot get agreement for acceptance from any proposed community. Of course, everyone knows the reason.
" Low gliding military plane " Ginowan city, Okinawa Japan 2002
Far above the Straits of Hormuz