Japan's Minorities: The illusion of homogeneity, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Japan's Minorities

The illusion of homogeneity, 2nd Edition

Edited by Michael Weiner


234 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415772648
pub: 2008-11-25
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Hardback: 9780415772631
pub: 2008-11-26
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Based on original research, Japan's Minorities provides a clear historical introduction to the formation of individual minorities, followed by an analysis of the contemporary situation.

This second edition identifies and explores the six principal minority groups in Japan: the Ainu, the Burakumin, the Chinese, the Koreans, the Nikkeijin and the Okinawans. Examining the ways in which the Japanese have manipulated historical events, such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the contributors reveal the presence of an underlying concept of ‘Japaneseness’ that excludes members of these minorities. The book addresses key themes including:

  • the role of this ideology of ‘race’ in the construction of the Japanese identity
  • historical memory and its suppression
  • contemporary labour migration to Japan
  • the three-hundred year existence of Chinese communities in Japan
  • mixed-race children in Japan
  • the feminization of contemporary migration to Japan.

Still the only scholarly examination of issues of race, ethnicity and marginality in Japan from both a historical and comparative perspective, this new edition will be essential reading for scholars and students of Japanese studies, ethnic and racial studies, culture and society, anthropology and politics.


'There is much to savor in this fine collection, one that is ideal for undergraduates and any readers curious about the dynamics of diversity in supposedly "homogeneous" Japan.' -Jeff Kingston is director of Asian Studies at Temple University, Japan campus, The Japan Times: Sunday, April 19, 2009

Table of Contents

1. Self’ and ‘Other’ in Imperial Japan Michael A. Weiner 2. The Ainu: Indigenous People of Japan Richard M. Siddle 3. "Mixed-Blood" Japanese: A Reconsideration of Race and Purity in Japan Robert A. Fish 4. Burakumin in Contemporary Japan Ian J. Neary 5. The Other Other: The Black Presence in The Japanese Experience John Russell 6. Creating a Transnational Community: Chinese Newcomers in Japan. Gracia Liu-Farrer 7. Multiethnic Japan and Nihonjin: Looking through Two Exhibitions in 2004 Osaka Eika Tai 8. Zainichi Koreans in History and Memory Michael Weiner & David Chapman 9. Okinawa, Ambivalence, Identity, and Japan Matthew Allen 10. Japanese Brazilian Ethnic Return Migration and the Making of Japan’s Newest Immigrant Minority Takeyuki Tsuda

About the Editor


Michael Weiner

Aliso Viejo, California, United States

Learn more about Michael Weiner >>

Michael Weiner is Professor of Modern Japanese History and Director of International Studies at Soka University of America

About the Series

The University of Sheffield/Routledge Japanese Studies Series

This well-established series with one of the pre-eminent institutions for Japanese Studies in Europe publishes cutting-edge research and authoritative introductory texts on modern Japan and the Japanese. Editorial policy encourages leading and promising younger scholars to contribute especially social scientific analysis on a wide range of Japan-related subjects.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies