Footprints in Paradise
Ecotourism, Local Knowledge, and Nature Therapies in Okinawa
Andrea E. Murray
The economic imperative of sustainable tourism development frequently shapes life on small subtropical islands. In Okinawa, ecotourism promises to provide employment for a dwindling population of rural youth while preserving the natural environment and bolstering regional pride. Footprints in Paradise explores the transformation in community and sense of place as Okinawans come to view themselves through the lens of the visiting tourist consumer, and as their language, landscapes, and wildlife are reconstituted as treasured and vulnerable resources. The rediscovery and revaluing of local ecological knowledge strengthens Okinawan or Uchinaa cultural heritage, despite the controversial presence of US military bases amidst a hegemonic Japanese state.