Hokkaido's Ethnic Tribe Gets Recognition; Indigenous Ainu Mark 'Turning Point'

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 8, 2008 | Go to article overview

Hokkaido's Ethnic Tribe Gets Recognition; Indigenous Ainu Mark 'Turning Point'


Byline: Takehiko Kambayashi, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

URAKAWA, Japan -- In a country long proud of being ethnically homogeneous, a decision by Japan's parliament in early June to recognize the ethnic Ainu as the country's indigenous people was a major step. But for the minority that claims years of discrimination, it is not enough.

I'm glad to learn the resolution [passed], said Saki Toyama, an 80-year-old Ainu woman who lives in Urakawa, a serene outpost on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido that the ethnic group had dominated for centuries. But I'd also like the government to apologize and make way for the sake of the Ainu people.

The Japanese government should reflect on its previous Ainu policies, and should issue an official apology to the Ainu people in clear language in a public forum, according to an appeal from the Indigenous Peoples Summit in Ainu Mosir 2008, which was held prior to this year's summit meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized nations in Hokkaido. The Ainu call the island Ainu Mosir, which means Land of Human Beings.

In the late 19th century, Japan advanced north and established a development commission on the island, which they renamed Hokkaido. That led to the migration of Japanese and the island's acquisition - followed by the forced assimilation and relocation of the Ainu. The ethnic group was also banned from practicing certain traditions, including men wearing earrings and women getting tattooed, and they were forced to learn the Japanese language and adopt a Japanese name.

When I think of having been treated like trash and discriminated against because of our ethnicity, I grow infuriated and feel like screaming at the sky, said Mrs. Toyama.

While the Ainu worship nature, the Japanese government also ravaged the island's environment, they said.

My father, Shigeru, used to say the Japanese turned woodland areas into money, said Shiro Kayano, president of Nibutani Ainu Museum. The government has failed to apologize in a serious manner and also long resisted creating laws to protect the rights of the Ainu.

Shigeru Kayano, the first Ainu lawmaker to sit in the Japanese Diet, founded the museum.

Local government estimates show that 23,782 Ainu people remain on the island, while Ainu leaders and experts say the number could be much larger because of many other Ainu people who are thought to hide their identity for fear of discrimination or who may have left the island.

According to a 2006 local government survey, 38.3 percent of the Ainu in Hokkaido are on welfare, compared with the local average of 24.6 percent. In addition, only 17.4 percent of the Ainu receive a college education, while 38.5 percent of the locals do.

The government's assimilation policy has turned many Ainu people ignorant of their culture, language and history. Ainu leaders, however, hope the resolution and the Indigenous Peoples Summit could help change that.

We are at a turning point, said Koji Yuki, a secretary-general of the Indigenous Peoples Summit, who is also an Ainu printmaker. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Hokkaido's Ethnic Tribe Gets Recognition; Indigenous Ainu Mark 'Turning Point'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.