Japan's Minorities : The illusion of homogeneity book cover
2nd Edition

Japan's Minorities
The illusion of homogeneity

Edited By

Michael Weiner

ISBN 9780415772648
Published December 23, 2008 by Routledge
256 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

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

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


'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