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ainu

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Race, ethnicity and identity in Japan

JAPAN’S MINORITIES: The Illusion of Homogeneity, edited by Michael Weiner. London: Routledge, 2008 (1st edition 1997), 234 pp., £19.99 (paper). Jeff Kingston writes for the Japan Times: “Japan is a multiethnic society largely in denial about its diversity. Here we can examine the contradictions and consequences of this discourse. This second edition published a dozen… Keep Reading

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Eight Languages in Japan Could Disappear

With only 15 speakers left, the Ainu language is “critically endangered” while seven other languages in Japan are also at risk of disappearing, according to a UNESCO report. These eight languages in Japan are among about 2,500 around the world that have become or could become extinct, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s… Keep Reading

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Japan's Ainu Finally Gets Recognition

In the 19th Century, Japanese people called the northern island of Hokkaido “Ezochi”. It meant “Land of the Ainu”, a reference to the fair-skinned, long-haired people who had lived there for hundreds of years. The Ainu were hunters and fishermen with animist beliefs. But their communities and traditions were eroded by waves of Japanese settlement and subsequent assimilation… Keep Reading

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