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Could colonial settlers who repatriated from colonies to metropole after the empire’s fall be considered ‘diaspora’? How do these migrants of decolonization maintain their collective memory of the past and solidary identity as a group? This article explores the historical experiences of Okinawan colonial migrants to Japanese mandate Micronesia (which includes the Northern Marianas, Palau, and Chuuk) and these migrants’ forced repatriation to Okinawa after the devastating battles in the Western Pacific in 1944–45. It also ethnographically examines the Okinawan repatriates’ pilgrimages to the islands throughout the post-WWII years to visit their childhood homes and locations of their loved ones’ deaths. These Okinawan repatriates, who had been twice-displaced in their lifetimes and survived the brutal war, continue to visit the islands to reminisce about their childhood and pray for the loved ones who had died on the islands. This article argues that such migrants of decolonization could not only be considered a diasporic group but also a group who retain a strong sense of solidarity and collective memory. Further, this article claims that formal and informal ritualistic practices, such as those ethnographically portrayed in this essay, play a pivotal role in creating and recreating collective memory and identity among the migrants of decolonization as a diaspora.
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