Images of the Ainu
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Today, peoples of the world live in a new phase of history with the acceleration of globalization. Massive quantities of global flows now require us to study a culture with observation of interrelations between societies. In addition to the synchronous perspective, the axis of time is also indispensable in order to understand the dynamism of culture. In this dissertation, the Ainu, an indigenous people of the northern part of Japan, are studied from the perspective that culture and manifested forms of culture are continuously in the process of creation. The relationship between the Ainu and the Japanese is focused to know how they affected each other throughout the history. In addition, the relations between Japan and other countries are taken into consideration since the Japan's foreign situations affected the manner with which Japanese treated the Ainu. Images of the Ainu are employed as clues to study the process of producing culture. The study is based on fieldwork in Nibutani, Hokkaido, Japan. Also, as the study applies historical perspective as a methodological principle, literature research is conducted in Hokkaido, Tokyo, and Buffalo. In Chapter 1, basic information of the Ainu is provided, such as brief accounts of history, the traditional culture, the Ainu language which is considerably different from Japanese, and recent data of social status of the Ainu. In Chapter 2, images of the Ainu in the past from ancient times to the Edo period (3 rd Century BC ∼ 19 th Century AD) are discussed emphasizing on what created images of the Ainu. The image as 'savage' was created by Japanese to draw a clear boundary between Japanese and non-Japanese. Chapter 3 deals with the shifts of images from the Meiji to Showa periods (1867∼1980s). The created image of the Ainu as 'inferior race' was needed by Japanese who suffered from inferiority complex toward the West. In Chapter 4, the manner and reasons of changes and persistency of current images of the Ainu are argued. The positive images for the Ainu as 'naturalist' and 'spiritualists' emerged although the contrast of Japanese and Ainu as 'civilized' and 'primitive' persists. In Chapter 5, contemporary Ainu identity is discussed. The Ainu have been severely affected by the Japanese in the course of history. Today, many Ainu learn to live as 'Ainu' with transformed identity to negotiate with recent multi cultural/ethnic environment.