The Ainu of Northern Japan: A Study of Conquest and Acculturation

The Ainu of Northern Japan: A Study of Conquest and Acculturation

The Ainu of Northern Japan: A Study of Conquest and Acculturation

The Ainu of Northern Japan: A Study of Conquest and Acculturation

Excerpt

While the definition of "colonization" varies among scholars, even those who interpret that word in its broadest sense hold the following to be necessary factors: that a social group migrates to a new land and that there they engage in social and economic activities. Very seldom is this new land uninhabited. There are always, with varying population densities and degrees of civilization, aborigines and, from the contacts of colonists with natives, there arises the "native problem." The solution to this problem, i.e. "a native policy" is, along with land problems, the greatest concern of a Colonial policy. The purpose of this research is to present some data concerning the study of native policy within the frame of colonial policy.1

From one standpoint, the history of Japan is that of the continuous expansion by colonization of the Yamato race. Japan's colonial activities had been especially vigorous in recent years. Formosa and the Pescadores Islands were taken in 1896; southern Saghalien was added in 1906 and Korea was absorbed in 1910. Now, comparing Japan's situation prior to the acquisition of Formosa with its situation after the inclusion of Korea, we find an increase in land area of approximately 300,000 sq.km., or 76.6 per cent and a population increase of some 17,200,000 Koreans, 3,700,000 Formosan Chinese and Formosan tribes and 1,520 Saghalien natives. Japan's policy towards these people has not only a significant bearing on their lives but will determine whether or not our colonial management is successful. The sudden development of our nation in recent years has made it inevitable then that there be frequent contiguity with natives and the success of our native policies affects the success of our continental venture and therefore the existence of the Japanese nation. Now, as systematic study is needed to rationalize a colonial policy, so is scientific study needed in order to form an ideal native policy. However, since the systematic study of colonization is a recent development and still in the process of establishing itself as an independent discipline, the study of native policy, which is a division of colonial policy, is only occasionally referred to and then merely in individual cases and, as yet, no consistent principles have been established by the processes of gathering materials and conducting comparative studies.2 The natural procedure ought to be one of analyzing the individual cases and then proceeding to comparative studies and synthesis, always avoiding undue haste in both comparison and synthesis. Such care in procedure is particularly needed in native policy studies for they are not only affected and complicated by the nature of the colony and of the individual settlers, but depend, to a great degree, upon the state of aboriginal civilization which is difficult to observe and this consequently renders more difficult any comparison and synthesis based on such observations. In recent years those Japanese who studied colonization have followed the example of other countries and adopted European and American methods of study. It is true that the acquisition of Formosa in 1896 is the beginning of the modern period of Japanese colonization. But colonization or colonial activity has been a phenomenon in Japanese history since the founding of our country and we Japanese have had abundant experience, in native policy, without turning elsewhere for cases and methods. . .

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