Beyond Ainu StudiesChanging Academic and Public Perspectives

Beyond Ainu StudiesChanging Academic and Public Perspectives

Mark J. Hudson, Ann-Elise Lewallen, and Mark K. Watson

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780824836979

Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press


In 2008, 140 years after it had annexed Ainu lands, the Japanese government shocked observers by finally recognizing Ainu as an Indigenous people. In this moment of unparalleled political change, it was Uzawa Kanako, a young Ainu activist, who signaled the necessity of moving beyond the historical legacy of “Ainu studies.” Mired in a colonial mindset of abject academic practices, Ainu Studies was an umbrella term for an approach that claimed scientific authority vis-à-vis Ainu, who became its research objects. As a result of this legacy, a latent sense of suspicion still hangs over the purposes and intentions of non-Ainu researchers. This book seeks to re-address the role of academic scholarship in Ainu social, cultural, and political affairs. Placing Ainu firmly into current debates over Indigeneity, the book provides a broad yet critical overview of the history and current status of Ainu research. With chapters from scholars as well as Ainu activists and artists, it addresses a range of topics including history, ethnography, linguistics, tourism, legal mobilization, hunter-gatherer studies, the Ainu diaspora, gender, and clothwork. The book aims to reframe the question of Ainu research in light of political reforms that are transforming Ainu society today.

Table of Contents

1 Beyond Ainu Studies

Mark K. Watson, ann-elise lewallen, and Mark J. Hudson

Theme One Representation / Objectification

2 Ainu Ethnography

Hans Dieter Ölschleger

Theme Two New Critical Responses

5 Charanke

Uzawa Kanako

6 As a Child of Ainu

Sunazawa Kayo, foreword by ann-elise lewallen

Theme Three Academic Disciplines and Understandings of Ainu

9 Trade and the Paradigm Shift in Research on Ainu Hunting Practices

Deriha Kōji, translated by ann-elise lewallen

Theme Four The Discourse of Culturalism

10 Our Ancestors’ Handprints

Tsuda Nobuko, foreword and translation by ann-elise lewallen

11 The Gender of Cloth

ann-elise lewallen