Red Flower: The Women of Okinawa

Mao Ishikawa Japanese

Not on view

Between 1975 and 1977, the Japanese photographer Mao Ishikawa, then in her early 20s, worked as a barmaid in establishments that catered to African American GIs stationed in Koza City and Kin Town, Okinawa. At the time, black soldiers still faced considerable discrimination at home and within the military, and Okinawan women, like Ishikawa, who had relationships with these men were derided as pan pan (prostitutes). Ishikawa produced a body of photographs that document with diaristic intimacy the friendships, love affairs, wild nights, and domestic accord shared among her social circle. The resulting images, published as Hot Days in Camp Hansen!! (1982), are a defiantly frank and joyful exploration of the freedom of youth and personal connection.

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