Anthropology and Pacific Studies seminar 2019 (19 September 2019)

Date Thursday 19 September 2019
Time 3:10pm - 4:40pm
Where KG.06 (University of Waikato)
Presenter Professor Sachiko Kubota (Kobe University)
Contact Rachel Gosnell-Maddock
Contact email
Admission Cost Free

Ainu: Historical Change of an Indigenous People in Japan

Professor Sachiko Kubota (Kobe University)

‘Ainu’, the indigenous people of Hokkaido, have been marginalized since the colonization of the northernmost island of Japan. They have experienced assimilation and prejudice. Recently, their cultural revitalization has been accelerated by the Ainu people themselves with support from government. The new law recognizing Ainu as Japanese indigenous people is going to be passed in parliament this year. In 2020, the new national museum of Ainu is planned to be opened in Hokkaido. Even so, there is still resentment and frustration among Ainu people. One of the issues yet to be resolved is the repatriation of the human remains of Ainu. In this talk, I will first summarise Ainu history and then focus on the changes and problems they are facing today.

Dr Sachiko Kubota is Professor in Cultural Anthropology in the Graduate School of Intercultural Studies, Kobe University, a position she has held since 2009. She started anthropological research among Yolngu, Aboriginal people in north eastern Arnhem land in 1986, focusing on change of women’s roles in their society, which led to her PhD in Anthropology from the Australian National University. Her PhD work was published in 2004, and awarded a Daido Area Studies Award in 2011. She is widely published in both English and Japanese. Currently, she is a vice president of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) and an executive member of World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA). She is a member of the American Anthropological Association, the Australian Anthropological Society and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Studies. She is also a board member of the Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology, chairing an internationalization project focussed on East Asia, and a member of the Science Council of Japan, where she is chairing a committee developing recommendations for the government concerning repatriation of Ainu human and cultural remains.