East Asian Studies
Japan is, as former Prime Minister Asō Tarō once put it, commonly described as being “one race, one civilization, one language and one culture.” This statement reflects a popular conception of Japan as a homogenous nation. However, the purpose of this paper, building on earlier research, is to assess what exactly Japanese identity is, how it is constructed / maintained, and who is and is not considered “Japanese.” The impetus of this inquiry comes from my research of the hisabetsu burakumin, a Japanese social outcaste group, who have undergone significant changes throughout their long history as a socially-constructed “minority.” This particular study of Japanese identity and its “Other” should help illuminate how ideology, discourse, and discrimination fuse with social institutions to create a means of self-identification and Other-identification. Using the particular cases of the Zainichi Koreans and the hisabetsu burakumin, I intend to analyze how different identities are incorporated into the larger social apparatus of Japanese society, which recognizes only one notion of “Japanese.”
Lopez-Duran, Rosendo, "In the Shadow of Japanese Identity" (2018). East Asian Studies Honors Papers. 2.