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Beyond Ainu StudiesChanging Academic and Public Perspectives$
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Mark J. Hudson, Ann-Elise Lewallen, and Mark K. Watson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836979

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836979.001.0001

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Beyond Ainu Studies

Beyond Ainu Studies

An Introduction

(p.1) 1 Beyond Ainu Studies
Beyond Ainu Studies

Mark K. Watson

ann-elise lewallen

Mark J. Hudson

University of Hawai'i Press

This introductory chapter examines the passing of a resolution recognizing Ainu as “Indigenous to the northern part of the Japanese archipelago, and especially Hokkaido.” This legislative triumph was tempered by conditions attached to Japan's 2007 signing of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Firstly, it was made clear that the Japanese government took an exceptionalist position to international discourse by stating that what the international community regarded as “Indigenous” did not apply in Japan. Secondly, in a 2009 report drafted by a panel of experts charged with assessing the resolution, questions such as colonial history, Hokkaido settlement, and Ainu identity were carefully framed to sidestep calls for decolonization or recommendations for constitutional reform.

Keywords:   United Nations Declaration, Indigenous Peoples, Ainu, Hokkaido, Ainu identity, decolonization, constitutional reform, Japanese government

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