Japan's Minorities: The Illusion of Homogeneity

Front Cover
Michael Weiner
Taylor & Francis, 2009 - Social Science - 234 pages

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.


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1 Self and other in imperial Japan
2 The Ainu
3 Mixedblood Japanese
4 Burakumin in contemporary Japan
5 The other other
Chinese newcomers in Japan
Looking through two exhibitions in 2004 Osaka
8 Zainichi Koreans in history and memory
9 Okinawa ambivalence identity and Japan
10 JapaneseBrazilian ethnic return migration and the making of Japans newest immigrant minority

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About the author (2009)

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

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