7:00-9:00 pm

Legacy Art Gallery 630 Yates St. corner of Broad St.

Second seminar in Professor Brannen’s ‘Japan and the Other: Societal Change from 1945 – Present’ series.
Presented in cooperation with the Landscapes of Injustice Project at the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives.

This event features a panel of researchers exploring various aspects of Japanese society that destabilize the national myth of homogeneity, including various Japanese societal demographics, cultural practices and policy issues. We hope that the panel presentations will be effective in highlighting the diversity that is often concealed by discourses of sameness, in order to reveal the complex and changing relationship with and approach to “Others” within Japanese society.


Panel Facilitator: Jordan Stanger-Ross, Landscapes of Injustice

Organizer, Mary Yoko Brannen, CAPI Jarislowsky East Asia Japan Chair, Gustavson School of Business, UVic
Professor Brannen will open the discussion with an overview of various minority groups in Japan, and the complex and changing relationship with and approach to “Others” within Japanese society.

Joel Legassie
Joel Legassie is a PhD candidate in the department of history. His research explores the colonization of Hokkaido, Japan in the late 19th and early twentieth century, with a focus on the exchange of information among Japanese, indigenous peoples and Western (primarily English and American) foreigners. He is also the Migration Program Assistant at CAPI. He has recently returned from a Japan Foundation Scholarship in Date City, Hokkaido, where he conducted research on Ainu communities local to the Iburi region of Hokkaido.

“From time immemorial the Ainu peoples have lived in the lands known to them as Ainu Moshir, to the North of the early Japanese state. The Ainu spoke their own language, and maintained a vibrant and complex culture supported by hunting, fishing, agriculture and especially vigorous and independent trade with neighbouring peoples. However, by the turn of the twentieth century, Ainu Moshir had been appropriated by the modern Japanese nation-state, while legal and social discrimination in a burgeoning Japanese settler society systematically excluded Ainu from both traditional and modern ways of life. Joel’s talk will explore how Ainu individuals and communities have resisted and managed this colonial onslaught to protect their distinct culture and identity within the powerful discourse of Japanese nationalism.”

Simon Nantais
Simon Nantais completed his doctoral studies at the University of Victoria in 2011. He has taught Japanese and East Asian history across the Lower Mainland and is presently at Simon Fraser University. His manuscript, under contract with UBC Press, is entitled Mistaken Identity: Race, Nationality, Ideology, and the Formation of the Korean Community in Japan

“My research examines Koreans in postwar Japan through the lens of nationality. Once treated as Japanese nationals in imperial Japan, after the end of the Asia-Pacific War, not only did Koreans lose their Japanese nationality but they struggled – and continue to do so – to find a home, and therefore a national identity, between the country of their birthplace (Japan) and a Korean ancestral home ruled by two ideological opposed states that few have ever visited or speak its language.” 

Masako Iino
Past President and Professor Emeritus of Tsuda College, Tokyo
As a professor she taught at Tsuda College for many years, having taught at McGill University and Acadia University and having been a visiting professor at University of California, Berkeley, and Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania.  She was President of the Japanese Association for Canadian Studies (1996-2000) and was awarded with the Governor General’s International Award for Canadian Studies in 2001.  She has published many books and papers in the fields of American Studies and Canadian Studies, as well as immigration studies, including A History of Japanese Canadians: Swayed by Canada-Japan Relations (Tokyo:  University of Tokyo Press, 1997) (Awarded with the Prime Minister’s Award for Publication), Thirty-Seven Chapters to Experience Canada (Tokyo: Akashi Shoten, 2012) (co-editor and author), Another History of US-Japan Relations: Japanese Americans Swayed by the Cooperation and the Disputes between the Two Nations (Tokyo: Yuhikaku, 2000), and Ethnic America  (Tokyo: Yuhikaku, 2011) (Revised version of Ethnic America, 1984 and 1997) (co-author).

“Japanese Canadians ‘repatriated’ to Japan during WWII”

“During World War II Japanese Canadians were removed from the West Coast of British Columbia, where more than 90 percent of them lived, to the interior of the province. Later they were given two options: either apply for voluntary “repatriation” to Japan or go ”east of the Rockies.”  Little research has been done on the more than 4000 Japanese Canadians who decided to sign up for “repatriation” to Japan, a country many of them had never even seen, instead of remaining in Canada.  My presentation tries to explore what they experienced upon going to Japan, a country devastated by the war.”

Marvin Sterling
Marvin D. Sterling is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington.  He is author of “Babylon East:  Performing Dancehall, Roots Reggae and Rastafari in Japan” (Duke University Press, 2010), in which he explores the popularity of a range of Jamaican cultural forms in the country. In a more recent line of research, he has shifted geographical perspectives from Japan to explore the Japanese community in Jamaica, one that has emerged primarily around an interest in learning Jamaican culture at its source. In another, new line of research, he traces the historical development of and ethnographically situates the discourse of human rights in Jamaican society today.

“In this presentation I explore Japanese reggae artists’ performances of their identities as ethnic minorities in Japan, in interviews, in the lyrics of their songs and music videos, as well as on stage. Focusing on Ainu, Okinawan, Koreans, Chinese, and burakumin artists, I argue that this discussion might be productively framed in the context of a Japanese society in which non-Yamato Japaneseness in entertainment and the arts hides, in Dick Hebdige’s (1989) metaphor, in the light, in which minority Japanese reggae artists situationally assert but also obscure their ethnic identities in the face of state and social surveillances both explicit and implied.”


For more information contact:Natasha Fox, Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives
Direct: 250-721-7661 | Centre: 250-721-7020 or visit website.