Japan’s Ethnic Minorities

In the Barrows Hall Barbara Christian Conference Room on February 11, 2010, the University of Shizuoka Center for Global Studies and the Center for Japanese Studies, the Asian American Studies program, and the Center for Race and Gender Asian American Studies at Berkeley co-sponsored a workshop titled “New Ethnic Identity for Sustainable Citizenship in Japan: Searching for the Meaning of ‘Belonging’” to discuss contemporary concerns among Japan’s ethnic minority groups and the dominant population and the Japanese state’s responses. Mitsuhiro Fujimaki of the University of Shizuoka spoke about indigenous people (Ainu) and repatriation of Asahikawa City museum’s artifacts; Hwaji Shin of USF and Stanford University presented on the colonial legacy of inequality for zainichi or permanent resident Koreans in Japan; Takahito Sawada of the University of Shizuoka discussed labor, economic recession, and identity among Japanese Latino immigrants; and Wesley Ueunten (Ethnic Studies PhD 2007) of San Francisco State University addressed the topic of Okinawan performing arts, music, and diaspora identities. The event was coordinated by Duncan Williams of the Center for Japanese Studies and Keiko Yamanaka of Asian Studies and Asian American Studies.