Ainu Identity

1490 Words6 Pages
Despite the careless mood that modern Japanese have towards the existence of Ainu community, the Ainu activists not only are striving for the removal of discrimination and improvement of living standards but are also rejecting douwa (assimilation) “in favor of a distinct identity as indigenous people and the revitalization of Ainu culture and language” (Siddle, 2011) Ainu ancestors have been residing in Hokkaido ever since the full-scale colonization in 1869 and their descendants can be found in homeland Hokkaido as well as in Kanto plain and other major urban centers. The hunting and fishing territories that encompassed their traditional ways of life were eradicated and transformed to agricultural lands by the large-scale immigrants. Ainu…show more content…
Due to the instability in their homeland, many stayed in Japan and still are seen in the contemporary industrial areas. By 1952 they lost their national identities however, their legal status was simplified in 1991 with the Republic of Korea by bilateral agreements. Many have naturalized as Japanese citizens by adopting Japanese nationalities. Especially the young Zainichi children identity and relate with Japan as their official use of language, called names and practiced culture is Japanese. Moreover, an increase in intermarriage between the Zainichi and ordinary Japanese have been adding more hybridity to the Zainichi community and the children born from it automatically acquire Japanese citizenship through Nationality Law. Although institutional and social discrimination issues never have left the Zainichi people, they now have the “right to retain a Korean name upon naturalization as a Japanese citizen. Activists are currently campaigning for the right for Zainichi Koreans and other permanent residents to vote in local elections.” (Siddle, 2011) It is rather outrageous that the Zanichi are still not given the opportunity to join the local elections when most of the young Zainichi children consider themselves as Japanese. From this, it can be noted that the…show more content…
In order to entirely grasp their situation, it is essential to know the their background information. Referring far back in to the Tokugawa era, the government banned Japan to mingle with exterior influences, as it was afraid of the spread of Christianity. However, due to the arrival and enforcement of American Comrade Perry in 1853, Japan had to open its country after almost 200 years. Although the Japanese government was reluctant of the emigration since the 1868, just after 10 years, the emigration was encouraged due to the inactive economy and increase in the unemployment rate. While in the beginning, United States and Canada were willing to accept many Japanese immigrants, they soon started to restrict and finally the migration companies had to find new destinations. Owing to the abolishment of slavery in Brazil in 1988, major source of their labor for coffee plantation from Africa were not available. They recruited European laborers form countries such as Italy yet, these were enough and so Japanese companies mutually agreed with the government of Brazil and signed a contract in
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