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Cocktail Party:
Inspired by the Akutagawa Prize winning novella by Tatsuhiro Oshiro

Hiroshi Uehara is a prominent Okinawan, a leader of both civic and business communities – albeit in the poorest prefecture of Japan. He has made the most of the difficult post-war years and is a survivor with no visible scars. But things in Okinawa are on the move; and Uehara’s hidden wounds are soon to be reopened. The U.S. military is under pressure to move a controversial base that sits right in the middle of the main city so Uehara agrees to attend a “cocktail party” hosted by Major Porter, a dynamic new Marine officer in Okinawa.

Uehara’s Father had been a regular guest at Marine base cocktail parties in the sixties, before Okinawa was returned to Japan. In those days, just setting foot on base would prompt jeering from fellow islanders, who saw any Okinawan as a sellout for befriending the occupiers. But his Dad found a friend and mentor at these early cocktail parties, Mr. Yang, a Taiwanese businessman making a new life in occupied Okinawa, and very savvy around the US military administration.

The highlight of the evening is Porter’s introduction of Uehara and by the reaction of those in attendance; Porter knows he has found an ally. The strongest reception comes from Mr. Ohashi, a Tokyo businessman new to Okinawa. The party ends on a high note and the next morning, Uehara receives a call from Porter and the offer to meet again. Excited by this opportunity, Uehara makes a call to share the good news with Mr. Ohashi only to learn a sad truth. While Uehara and Mr. Ohashi toasted and celebrated the night before, a US serviceman at a popular nightspot allegedly assaulted the Mr. Ohashi’s daughter.

The news eventually makes its way to the base and Porter has to move quickly. Facing the prospects of seeing one of his men called up on serious charges and the media circus that will follow, Porter enlists Uehara’s support to urge Mr. Ohashi to remain calm, but Mr. Ohashi is determined the serviceman face charges for what he did to his daughter. Ohashi’s interest is absolute justice.

Powerless to calm waters around him, the great secrets of Uehara’s life surge up from his past. It is revealed that his sister had been the victim of a sexual assault during the occupation years that the family kept quiet. His Mother was shattered by the incident and never completely recovered. His sister left Okinawa after their Mother’s death but Uehara remained alone in Okinawa, holding together his fractured family from afar.

While Porter continues to press his Marine for the truth of that evening, Uehara must choose between his feelings or a decision that could potentially gain new business. Both men are resigned to put their fate in the power of truth and justice in the fragile world of Okinawa.



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