By Michael Weiner
Offers transparent ancient introductions to the six crucial ethnic minority teams in Japan, together with the Ainu, chinese language, Koreans and Okinawans, and discusses their position in modern jap society.
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Extra resources for Japan's Minorities: The illusion of homogeneity
Festivals and ceremonies, such as those enacted each year before the new statue of Shakushain in Shizunai, became occasions to celebrate this heritage and link the present struggle to the feats of past heroes. At a new festival by the Shakushain memorial, Narita Tokuhei was impressed by the Ainu dancing, ‘not that seen in tourist areas, but real dancing from the heart’, that had enabled him to see ‘a splendid Ainu people’, and led him to feel that the gathering had ‘lit the lamp of the solidarity that the Utari have long lost’ (Narita 1972:38–9).
There are also some who have Ainu: Japan’s indigenous people 27 married for such humiliating reasons and suffered many years of unhappy married life. (Kaizawa 1972:145) ‘Racial’ categorization as an essentialized Other was accompanied by the continuation of the negative images associated with the subordination of the Ainu as colonized and inferior. Negative stereotypes and discrimination were rife in the integrated schools that the Ainu leaders of the pre-war period had fought so hard for, including a continued identification of Ainu with dogs; most children of this period were taunted with the words ‘Aaa—inu’ (Ah–—a dog).
With the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and the establishment of the Kaitakushi (Colonization Commission) in 1869, Ezochi was renamed Hokkaid) and transformed into an internal colony of the new Japanese state, a strategic ‘empty land’ to be settled by immigration and developed along capitalist lines. Both of these policies required the dispossession of the Ainu as a prerequisite. This was initiated with the appropriation of Ainu land as terra nullius by the Kaitakushi under the Land Regulation Ordinance (Jisho Kisoku) of 1872.