The conquest of Ainu lands [electronic resource] : ecology and culture in Japanese expansion, 1590-1800 /
Brett L. Walker.
Berkeley: University of California Press, c2001.
xii, 332 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
0520227360 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Berkeley: University of California Press, c2001.
0520227360 (cloth : alk. paper)
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 275-297) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Brett L. Walker is Assistant Professor of History at Montana State University, Bozeman.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-04-01:
As Walker (Montana State Univ.) asserts in the introduction to this fascinating study, his purpose is to examine the absorption of Hokkaido by Japan during the 17th and 18th centuries. He approaches this task through a variety of features of Hokkaido's history--"human-animal relations, disease, medicine, inter-Ainu conflict, market growth, subsistence practices, shared ritual experiences, and environmental degradation." Particularly valuable is the author's view of Hokkaido not as part of Japan's periphery, or its frontier, but rather as a borderland between two civilizations in the process of encountering each other, after the paradigms of American New Western historians such as Richard White and Patrician Nelson Limerick. Rather than view Hokkaido as nothing more than the passive recipient of Japanese expansion, Walker concentrates on developments like those listed above, in the process granting Hokkaido and its indigenous inhabitants a degree of autonomy and agency they could never have if the approach were more in keeping with other studies of Japan's peripheries, where the Ainu serve as little more than occasions to exhibit the triumphalist progress of Japanese civilization. Thorough and authoritative, this study should be read by scholars of Japan and anyone interested in the dynamics of state formation, national self-conceptualization, or subaltern responses to absorption. General and upper-division undergraduates and above. C. L. Yates Earlham College
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Choice, April 2002
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Long Description
This model monograph is the first scholarly study to put the Ainu--the native people living in Ezo, the northernmost island of the Japanese archipelago--at the center of an exploration of Japanese expansion during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the height of the Tokugawa shogunal era. Inspired by "new Western" historians of the United States, Walker positions Ezo not as Japan's northern "frontier" but as a borderland or middle ground. By framing his study between the cultural and ecological worlds of the Ainu before and after two centuries of sustained contact with the Japanese, the author demonstrates with great clarity just how far the Ainu were incorporated into the Japanese political economy and just how much their ceremonial and material life--not to mention disease ecology, medical culture, and their physical environment--had been infiltrated by Japanese cultural artifacts, practices, and epidemiology by the early nineteenth century. Walker takes a fresh and original approach. Rather than presenting a mere juxtaposition of oppression and resistance, he offers a subtle analysis of how material and ecological changes induced by trade with Japan set in motion a reorientation of the whole northern culture and landscape. Using new and little-known material from archives as well as Ainu oral traditions and archaeology, Walker poses an exciting new set of questions and issues that have yet to be approached in so innovative and thorough a fashion.
Main Description
This is the story of the Ainu in what is today far Northern Japan, showing the ecological and cultural processes by which this people's political, economic, and cultural autonomy eroded as they became an ethnic minority in the modern Japanese state.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
The Consolidation of the Early-Modern Japanese State in the Northp. 17
Shakushain's Warp. 48
The Ecology of Ainu Autonomy and Dependencep. 73
Symbolism and Environment in Tradep. 99
The Sakhalin Trade: Diplomatic and Ecological Balancep. 128
The Kuril Trade: Russia and the Question of Boundariesp. 155
Epidemic Disease, Medicine, and the Shifting Ecology of Ezop. 177
The Role of Ceremony in Conquestp. 204
Epiloguep. 227
Notesp. 237
Works Citedp. 275
Indexp. 299
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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