Hokkaidō 150: settler colonialism and Indigeneity in modern Japan and beyond

Tristan R. Grunow, Fuyubi Nakamura, Katsuya Hirano, Mai Ishihara, Ann Elise lewallen, Sheryl Lightfoot, Mayunkiki, Danika Medak-Saltzman, Terri Lynn Williams-Davidson, Tomoe Yahata

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This roundtable presents the proceedings of the “Hokkaidō 150: Settler Colonialism and Indigeneity in Modern Japan and Beyond” workshop held at the University of British Columbia in March 2019. The sesquicentennial of Japanese settler colonization of the northern island of Hokkaidō or Ainu Mosir received only scant attention either in Japan or around the world. The goal of this roundtable is to reinsert settler colonialism into modern Japanese history while introducing the case of the Ainu into global conversations of Indigeneity. Katsuya Hirano draws attention to how the Meiji state manipulated ideas of ownership to enable exploitation of Ainu lands. ann-elise lewallen recenters Ainu women’s resistance to the sexual colonization of Hokkaidō. Mai Ishihara interrogates her own positionality and asks why many people with Ainu heritage remain silent. Sheryl Lightfoot reviews how the case of the Ainu in Hokkaidō complicates prevailing paradigms of settler colonial studies. Musicians Mayunkiki, Tomoe Yahata, and Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson discuss issues of Indigenous identity and their practice. Finally, Danika Medak-Saltzman concludes the roundtable by re-situating Ainu at the intersection of settler colonial and Native studies, challenging Japan scholars to more meaningfully engage and prioritize Indigenous studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-636
Number of pages40
JournalCritical Asian Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Hokkaidō 150 was made possible through the generous financial support of the Consulate-General of Japan in Vancouver, the Japan Foundation in Toronto, the Faculty of Arts, the Department of History, the Department of Asian Studies, and the Museum of Anthropology at UBC as well as the David Lam Centre for International Communication at Simon Fraser University. Hokkaidō 150 took place on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people and was hosted by the Centre for Japanese Research at the University of British Columbia.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 BCAS, Inc.


  • Ainu
  • Hokkaidō
  • Indigeneity
  • Japan
  • settler colonialism


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