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The Ideology of KokugoNationalizing Language in Modern Japan$
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Yeounsuk Lee

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833053

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833053.001.0001

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What Is Assimilation?

What Is Assimilation?

(p.170) Chapter 12 What Is Assimilation?
The Ideology of Kokugo

Lee Yeounsuk

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter explains the connection between the idea of assimilation and the language policies of modern Japan. During the upsurge of Japanese imperialism the ideology of the assimilation policy was justified under homeland extensionism (naichi enchō shugi): the relationship between Japan and its colonies was not that of forcible ruler and the ruled, as seen in the West, but a natural expansion of the uniformity of the imperial reign. Thus the assimilation policy had to be retained to justify the colonial rule itself. At the same time, assimilation by Japan advanced, paradoxically, discrimination. In such a discriminatory assimilation, language played a powerful role in surmounting the central paradox. The intrinsic role of language here is to interface interior and exterior, nature and human deeds.

Keywords:   language policy, assimilation, linguistic assimilation, modern Japan, imperial Japan, assimilation policy, homeland extensionism, discriminatory assimilation, naichi enchō shugi

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