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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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Tokyo Ainu and the Urban Indigenous Experience

Tokyo Ainu and the Urban Indigenous Experience

(p.69) 4 Tokyo Ainu and the Urban Indigenous Experience
Beyond Ainu Studies

Mark K. Watson

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter addresses the long overlooked issue of Ainu migration to southern mainland cities. From the perspective of Ainu on the main island of Honshu, the symbolic conflation of Hokkaido's geographic borders with the cultural boundaries of Ainu society mistakenly isolates, contains, and defines Ainu ethnicity. In spite of the fact that the Ainu population in Japan's capital has steadily increased since the 1950s, Ainu migration or mobility toward the south has been consistently relegated to a footnote of twentieth-century Ainu history. In light of the Japanese government's 2008 resolution, scholars and politicians have begun to formally acknowledge and strategize about the national scope of Ainu issues. The remainder of the chapter focuses on the history and social organization of Ainu people in Tokyo and the wider Kantō region.

Keywords:   Ainu migration, Ainu issues, Kantō region, Japanese government, Hokkaido, Ainu ethnicity

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