Denny Tamaki

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Denny Tamaki
玉城 デニー
Denny Tamaki in 2009.jpg
Denny Tamaki in 2009
Governor of Okinawa Prefecture
Assumed office
4 October 2018
Preceded by Moritake Tomikawa (interim)
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
30 August 2009 – 13 September 2018
Constituency Okinawa-3rd (2009–2012, 2014–2018)
Kyushu PR (2012–2014)
Member of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly
In office
September 2002 – August 2005
Constituency Okinawa City
Personal details
Born 玉城 デニス
(1959-10-13) 13 October 1959 (age 59)
Yonashiro, Okinawa, Japan (now Uruma, Okinawa)
Nationality Japanese
Political party Independent
Other political
Alma mater Sophia School of Social Welfare
Website Official website

Denny Tamaki (玉城デニー, Tamaki Denī, born 13 October 1959) is a Japanese politician and the current Governor of Okinawa Prefecture. He became the first hāfu (Japanese-American) member of the Japanese House of Representatives in 2009, and later the first hāfu governor in 2018.[1]. Before assuming the governorship, he was a member of the Ichirō Ozawa-led Liberal Party.

Tamaki was born in Uruma, Okinawa,[2] to an Okinawan waitress and a U.S. Marine father named William,[3] who left Okinawa before Tamaki was born. He was born name Dennis Tamaki (玉城 デニス, Tamaki Denisu); he later changed his legal name to Yasuhiro Tamaki (玉城 康裕, Tamaki Yasuhiro) at 10 years old, "Denny" was a nickname since childhood[4]. Tamaki has never met his father, and his mother remained single throughout his youth and destroyed most materials related to his father;[1] Tamaki attempted to search for his father but was unsuccessful in locating him.

He left to attend a trade school in Tokyo but returned to Okinawa afterward, working as a radio disk jockey in Okinawa for several years, and later as an Okinawa city council member from 2002 to 2005.[1][2] He ran in the 2005 general election for the Okinawa 3rd district but lost to incumbent Chiken Kakazu. He returned in the 2009 general election and defeated Kakazu for the 3rd district seat.[2]

After his election to the Diet, Tamaki became a member of the Lower House Standing Committee on National Security and director of the Special Committee on Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs.[1] Tamaki called for a sharp reduction in American troop strength in Okinawa, stating that, "it's about time the Japanese government let Okinawa go back to its original self," and "we need to wean our economy from its dependence on the bases."[5] Tamaki joined Ichirō Ozawa in opposing the consumption tax hike proposed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in 2012, and was removed from the Democratic Party of Japan.

He lost the Okinawa 3rd district race to Natsumi Higa in the 2012 general election but retained a seat in the Kyushu proportional representation block with the Tomorrow Party, which collapsed and became the People's Life Party following the election.[2] Tamaki recontested the seat in the 2014 election. He regained the seat from Higa with a comfortable 20-point majority.

Tamaki currently lives in Okinawa City.[2]

He ran in the 2018 Okinawa gubernatorial election, and won.[6] Tamaki, like his predecessor Takeshi Onaga, wants a fundamental reduction of the U.S. presence in Okinawa.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Allen, David (12 December 2009). "Amerasian Diet member wants Futenma relocated off Okinawa". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e "プロフィール". Denny Tamaki. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  3. ^ Harlan, Chico (4 July 2010). "Identity issues permeate in Okinawa". Washington Post. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  4. ^ "第201回 自由党 玉城デニー 衆議院議員". 会いに行ける国会議員 みわちゃんねる 突撃永田町!! (in Japanese). 2017-02-22. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  5. ^ Hayashi, Yuka (22 September 2009). "Japan Lawmaker Pushes to Scale Back U.S. Bases". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  6. ^ Kageyama, Yuri (30 September 2018). "Denny Tamaki, critic of US bases on Okinawa, wins election". ABC News. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  7. ^

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Moritake Tomikawa (interim)
Governor of Okinawa Prefecture
October 4, 2018 – present
Succeeded by