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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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Is Ainu History Japanese History?

Is Ainu History Japanese History?

(p.101) 7 Is Ainu History Japanese History?
Beyond Ainu Studies

David L. Howell

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses how Ainu history has been balkanized within the discipline of Japanese history. The idea that the Ainu are the subjects rather than merely the objects of history gained credence in Japan in the late 1970s and by now has become a matter of common sense among scholars. Recent scholarship on Ainu history has contributed importantly to the revisionist literature on Japanese identity, but by the same token it has been limited by its tendency to reduce the Ainu's story to a critique of the hegemonic discourse of Japaneseness. Recognizing this limitation, specialists now are taking another look at the relationship between Ainu history and Japanese history in an effort to craft a narrative that endows the Ainu people with agency and subjectivity while also acknowledging the enormous influence of the Japanese state over the Ainu and their homeland during the past four centuries.

Keywords:   Japanese history, Ainu history, Japanese identity, Japaneseness, Ainu people

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