Departmental Bulletin Paper The Ainu Identity and Japanese Human Rights Education: Part Two
The Ainu Identity and Japanese Human Rights Education: Part Two

James MAHONEY, Brian  ,  鈴鹿大学  ,  Suzuka Universitiy

In Part Two of this research paper, Shigeru Kayano's story, Our Land Was a Forest: An Ainu Memoir, continues to figure prominently in uncovering the many facets of the Ainu, their unique and once vibrant culture, and the horrors they ultimately met as their civilization was systematically torn apart. Additionally, extensive question and answer surveys with Japanese high school teaching staff in Japan, and with both Japanese university students and foreign university students studying in Japan, help inform an important part of the content that seeks to gage an understanding of the Ainu in general and current attitude towards the plight of the Ainu people asrepresented in Japanese public high school education and in Japanese society. Furthermore, the nearly total disregard for the Ainu, coupled with the ongoing historical side-stepping of Japanese government-sponsored genocide in China, including the sexual slavery of tens of thousands of Korean and Chinese nationals during World War II, lends further credence to the idea that the current education policies in Japan are based upon fiction rather than fact. The author contends that this current idea of negating and burying information serves only to distort history, as it is understood by the present generation and those yet to come.

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