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(P23) Contributing to recent Ainu issues: possibilities through anthropological and archaeological studies

Time and place: TUESDAY 24/7/18, 9–10:30 AM; C23 conference room 

Convenors: Hideyuki Ōnishi, Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts; Shiro Sasaki, Preparatory Office for National Ainu Museum 

Discussants: Hirofumi Kato, Center for Ainu and Indigenous Studies, Hokkaido University; Mayumi Okada, Creative Research Institution, Hokkaido University; Tomo Ishimura, National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo 

Abstract: This session focuses on sociopolitical problems confronted by recent Ainu people and communities, and discusses possibilities of anthropological and archaeological studies to contribute to resolving these issues. In addition, it attempts to make comparisons with hunter-gatherers as sociopolitical minorities in other parts of the world. 

Keywords: Ainu, public anthropology and archaeology, indigenous rights, cultural heritage, cultural promotion  

Ainu studies based on anthropology and archaeology has produced various outcomes to no small extent. Nonetheless, it cannot be said that such studies have sufficiently supported and/or contributed to the resolution of sociopolitical issues regarding the Ainu up to today. 

This session focuses on specific problems confronted by recent Ainu people and communities, and discusses the potential of Ainu studies based on anthropology and archaeology for contribution to resolving these issues. Incidentally, the topics covered in this session are all notable issues concerned with sociopolitical rights or cultural revitalization and promotion of the Ainu, including cultural representation in museums, safeguarding cultural heritages, repatriation of human remains, rehabilitation of cultural landscapes and so on. Needless to say, such issues have a close and complicated relationship with both anthropological and archaeological factors; therefore, collaborations and finding common ground among studies is necessary as much as possible. 

Concerning these objectives, this session examines how anthropological and archaeological investigations on Ainu culture and history can contribute to resolve sociopolitical issues of the Ainu, and what kinds of responsibilities academic researchers must bear in mind. In addition, it attempts to make comparisons with case studies of hunter-gatherers as sociopolitical minorities in other parts of the world. Moreover, such an attempt will reexamine the findings of existing studies on Ainu and other foragers. 

These examinations and findings will furnish new perspectives, not only specifically to Ainu issues, but also to contemporary hunter-gatherer studies, since results of these studies can be shared with researchers of related studies of indigenous peoples in various fields throughout the world. Therefore, in this session we would like to openly invite any experts of other related fields.

 Papers

9–9:12 AM. Archaeology, research ethics and the Ainu: understanding indigenous past

Hirofumi Kato, Centre for Ainu & Indigenous Studies, Hokkaido University, Japan. h-kato[a]let.hokudai.ac.jp

Short abstract: This paper examines the relationship between the Ainu as Indigenous peoples in Japan, who is rapidly changing their surrounding situation in recent year, and archaeology and anthropology from the view point of Indigenous archaeology.

Long abstract: It was only ten years ago, in 2008 that the Ainu was recognized as Indigenous peoples in Japan. For that reason, the Japanese government has not long recognized the Ainu as indigenous peoples in Japan, still this moment, the law of Protection of Cultural Properties has not been clearly stated the basic right of the Ainu for their own cultural heritage and to participate to the evaluation process of own cultural property. In this report, I would like to confirm the essential difference between Japanese traditional archeology and Indigenous archeology. After that, I would like to show a proposal on the ideal style for archaeological practices in future Hokkaido Island, where the main home land of the Ainu culture. Specifically, first of all, I will critically review the position of archeology on Hokkaido Island in the school of Japanese archeology before 2008. After that, I would like to examine the crucial influence of archeological and anthropological studies for the Ainu since 2008, including repatriation, intellectual property issues and research ethics. Finally, I would like to give a view on measures that can be taken as a solution to the issues in front of us.

9:12–9:24 AM. A consideration of Hokkaido archaeology and the Ainu peoples from the viewpoint of public archaeology

Mayumi Okada, Hokkaido University, Japan. m-okada[a]let.hokudai.ac.jp

Short abstract: This paper aims to consider how archaeology(-gists) described and placed the Ainu in the history of Hokkaido, and discusses current initiatives of collaboration with the Ainu peoples and archaeology, applying the viewpoint of public archaeology.

Long abstract: Increased publications on Public Archaeology in Japan indicate a growing professional and academic interest in developing research methods and outreach programs to build partnerships with local communities. Growing awareness of Indigenous rights over heritage have also encouraged specialists in Hokkaido to conduct heritage management in collaboration with the Ainu communities. This paper aims to consider the historical and current relationship between archaeology and the Ainu in Japan. First, this paper provides a brief academic scheme for Public Archaeology. Second, how archaeology described and placed the Ainu in the historical context of Hokkaido is reviewed diachronically, referring to research results and arguments posed by archaeologists and anthropologists since the late nineteenth century. Third, the paper examines current events in research and more generally in society concerning the Ainu peoples and archaeology. In conclusion, I will discuss the potential of applying the pluralist approach to archaeological activities in Hokkaido, which is one of the four approaches to public archaeology—educational, public relations, pluralist, and critical—introducing initiatives of collaboration with Ainu communities and archaeologists over sites and unearthed materials with the aim of establishing a sustainable program supporting multivocal histories for the general public, academic research, and the Ainu peoples. 

9:24–9:36 AM. Ainu historical heritage as common property of the local community

Hideyuki Ōnishi, Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts, Japan. honishi[a]dwc.doshisha.ac.jp

Short abstract: This paper examines the potential of Ainu historical heritages as common properties for all residents of both the Ainu and other ethnicities, including the majority population of Japanese in the local community.

Long abstract: Representative Ainu historical heritages have been built as national or public historic parks and maintained to preserve their culture. This kind of cultural improvement project is carried out as one of several administrative services based on laws by national and/or local governments in Japan. Therefore, those parks can be recognized as common properties, not only for the Ainu, but also for other ethnicities including the majority of Japanese. Such understanding, however, has not yet been shared within Japanese society sufficiently.With consideration to these situations, this paper focuses on the natural park of Po-gawa historic remain in the eastern Hokkaido. This park is where the Ainu Group has practiced a ritual to console ancestors’ spirits, named Icharupa, in recent years. At the same time, it is a place where local residents of mainly the majority population of Japanese have held various events for their own recreation. Thus it can be recognized as the common property for the local community. Through the examination of this park, this paper investigates the possibilities of Ainu historical heritages as common properties for all residents, both the Ainu and other ethnicities, including the majority population of Japanese in the local community.

 

9:36–9:48 AM. Ainu and safeguarding for intangible cultural heritage

Tomo Ishimura, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Japan. ishimura09[a]tobunken.go.jp

Short abstract: In this paper I discuss current situation of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage related to Ainu. The issue is that several measures are implemented separately by different sectors, so a comprehensive approach towards safeguarding Ainu intangible cultural heritage must be needed.

Long abstract: In this paper I discuss current situation of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage related to Ainu. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology designated "Traditional Ainu Dance" as Important Intangible Cultural Property in 1984. It was also inscribed on the Representative List of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009. This is currently only one registered element as intangible cultural heritage in national and/or international protection framework. In the meantime, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry designated two crafts in Mibudani area, namely "ita" (wooden dish)and "attus" (textile), as Traditional Crafts in 2013, to promote and revitalize the traditional craft skills and industries. In addition, the initiative for restoration of "iwor", that is living and cultural space of Ainu, has been carried out by several agencies including the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the prefectural government and the Ainu Association, since 2004. The issue concerning safeguarding intangible cultural heritage of Ainu is that these measures above are implemented separately by different sectors, so a comprehensive approach towards safeguarding Ainu intangible cultural heritage must be needed.

 

9:48–10:00 AM. Construction of a national museum for revitalization of the Ainu culture

Shiro Sasaki, Preparatory Office for National Ainu Museum, Japan. ssasaki[a]idc.minpaku.ac.jp

Short abstract: This paper focus on the issues concerning the construction of a national museum, which aims at the revitalization of the traditional and present Ainu culture and creation of new one.

Long abstract: This paper focus on the issues concerning the construction of a national museum, which aims at the revitalization of the traditional and present Ainu culture and creation of new Ainu culture. Since the adoption of the “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” in the United Nations General Assembly in 2007 and the “Resolution to Recognize the Ainu as an Indigenous People” in the Diet in 2008, the Japanese government has accelerated the policy for the right recovery and culture revitalization of the Ainu people. As a part of such policy, Agency for Cultural affairs, Japanese Government, decided to construct a new national museum specialized in exhibition, research, dissemination, education, and human resource development on the Ainu culture in Shiraoi town in Hokkaido, which is one of the towns and villages, in which comparatively many Ainu people are living. This museum will be expected to be a center for different activities of all the Ainu people and a base of academic research on the Ainu culture. However, it contains some problems concerning the right and dignity of the indigenous people.

10:00–10:10 AM. Learning traditional salmon fishing of the Ainu

Takanori Nakai, Preparatory Office for National Ainu Museum, Japan. nakaikani7771[a]gmail.com

Short abstract: In this report, I will show how I learned traditional fishing method of the Ainu and how I reviewed my ethnic identity through the culture training program.

Long abstract: The salmon fishing by a hook named "marek" is one of the traditional fishing methods of the Ainu. After catching a fish, the fisherman beats the salmon on the head with a cudgel named "isapakikni" or "ipakikni". All the tools including the hook and the cudgel are self-made. Though such traditional fishing method and tools represented an important part of the Ainu culture, they were forgotten in the process of the modernization and the cultural assimilation that the Ainu people had experienced since the mid nineteenth century. Recently, in the process of the revitalization and recreation of the Ainu culture, the traditional fishing methods and tools began to be reevaluated as an essential part of the culture. A course work for learning the hook salmon fishing is offered in the training program of the traditional culture for young Ainu people, which is managed by FRPAC and which is done in the Ainu Museum in Shiraoi. The course consists of learning how to make the tools (a hook and a cudgel) and how to catch fish in a river. In this report, I will show how I learned this fishing method and how I reviewed my ethnic identity through the program.

10:10–10:30 Discussion

 

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