Beyond Ainu Studies: Changing Academic and Public Perspectives

Hardback: $52.00
ISBN-13: 9780824836979
Published: December 2013

Additional Information

272 pages | 14 illustrations
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  • About the Book
  • In 2008, 140 years after it had annexed Ainu lands, the Japanese government shocked observers by finally recognizing Ainu as an Indigenous people. In this moment of unparalleled political change, it was Uzawa Kanako, a young Ainu activist, who signalled the necessity of moving beyond the historical legacy of “Ainu studies.” Mired in a colonial mindset of abject academic practices, Ainu Studies was an umbrella term for an approach that claimed scientific authority vis-à-vis Ainu, who became its research objects. As a result of this legacy, a latent sense of suspicion still hangs over the purposes and intentions of non-Ainu researchers.

    This major new volume seeks to re-address the role of academic scholarship in Ainu social, cultural, and political affairs. Placing Ainu firmly into current debates over Indigeneity, Beyond Ainu Studies provides a broad yet critical overview of the history and current status of Ainu research. With chapters from scholars as well as Ainu activists and artists, it addresses a range of topics including history, ethnography, linguistics, tourism, legal mobilization, hunter-gatherer studies, the Ainu diaspora, gender, and clothwork. In its ambition to reframe the question of Ainu research in light of political reforms that are transforming Ainu society today, this book will be of interest to scholars and students in Indigenous studies as well as in anthropology and Asian studies.

    Contributors: Misa Adele Honde, David L. Howell, Mark J. Hudson, Deriha Kōji, ann-elise lewallen, Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Hans Dieter Ölschleger, Kirsten Refsing, Georgina Stevens, Sunazawa Kayo, Tsuda Nobuko, Uzawa Kanako, Mark K. Watson, Yūki Kōji.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Mark James Hudson, Editor

      Mark J. Hudson is professor at Nishikyushu University (University of West Kyushu), where he teaches anthropology and environmental humanities.
    • ann-elise lewallen, Editor

      Ann-Elise Lewallen is assistant professor in the East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
    • Mark K. Watson, Editor

      Mark K. Watson is assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal.
  • Reviews and Endorsements
    • It is one of the world’s most comprehensive non-Japanese-language publications of its kind about Ainu studies based on the latest research results. . . . the book’s juxtaposition of perspectives in Japan and elsewhere is expected to provide a strong stimulus for consideration regarding efforts to resolve such issues, and the effectiveness of its methodological framework will be revealed in future Ainu studies.
      —Pacific Affairs