Globalization always accompanies nationalism even though they look like mutually exclusive. Even in East Asia, in the era of so-called “early globalization,” with the global spread of racism and social Darwinism, people began to categorize human beings into “white, civilized, and superior races” and “colored, uncivilized, and inferior races,” and then ethnic minorities came to be looked down and discriminated against by the majority everywhere especially under colonial rule. In Japan minor aborigines such as Ainu people who were formally recognized as an indigenous ethnic group only in June 2008 by the Japanese Diet and Ryukyu people in Okinawa, had an unhappy encounter with each other by being displayed along in the Human Race Pavilion at the 5th National Industrial Exposition, an imperialist exhibition held in 1903.

It is important to understand that Japan is a multiethnic country containing heterogeneous ethnic people who can dissimilate nationalistic discourse. And it would be dangerous to pursue only one ethnic or national identity exclusively to close the doors to plural identities. Our route of life is more important than our roots. It would be better to create new networks of plural identities, instead of reconstructing an update “Human Race Pavilion.”


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 39-61
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.