Counter-Narratives and Issues of Indigenous Engagement in Representation of Ainu History and Culture in Contemporary Japan

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Counter-Narratives and Issues of Indigenous Engagement in Representation of Ainu History and Culture in Contemporary Japan
Stream: Anthropology
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Panelists:
Marrianne Ubalde, Hokkaido University, Japan (organizer, presenter)
Tatsiana Tsagelnik, Hokkaido University, Japan (presenter, discussant)
Ashleigh Dollin, Hokkaido University, Japan (presenter, chair)
Amanda Gomes, Hokkaido University, Japan (presenter, discussant)

Abstract:

In recent years we can observe several developments towards the improvement of the situation of the Indigenous people of Japan, the Ainu. These include the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the naming of Hokkaido in 2018, adaptation of new legislation recognizing the Ainu as Indigenous Peoples of Japan in May 2019, opening of the National Ainu Museum in April 2020, and the increasing interest of a manga/anime called “Golden Kamuy” which is popularizing Ainu culture. Despite all the above-mentioned changes which allude to a positive image of progress for Ainu rights, they tend to be one-sided developments which seem to lack the inclusion of Ainu voices. An impression that the Ainu standpoint is being under-represented has been formed by researchers on Ainu and also voiced by some members of the Ainu community due to a lack of participation by Ainu people in the decision-making processes directly related to Ainu affairs. This panel will discuss issues of self-representation and Indigenous participation in museum exhibitions, archaeological research, media, and the process of ancestral remains repatriation. These areas have been selected as they constitute spaces where a lack of dialog between the Wajin (ethnic Japanese) majority and Ainu people can be observed. The papers presented in this panel are taking an angle of critical discourse analysis and are discussing Indigenous narratives through community engagements in an attempt to capture the Indigenous voice.