The Japanese Cultural Imperialism

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At the beginning of era of Meiji, 1868-1912, the management of Ezo became the reclamation of Hokkaido due to the Meiji government that is new Japanese government of this era. This included a “nihonka” or “douka”, a transformation of nation-state. As a result of this transformation, Ainu people were forced to be considered Japanese. This management made the identity of Ainu people less important. First of all, Ezo changed its name to Hokkaido in 1869 by the Meiji government because Ezo became a formal territory of the Meiji government. The government made family registers for Ainu people who lived in Hokkaido to adapt Ainu people as Japanese people (Kazushi 22). This nihonka simply led to a cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism is a concept that is an imposition of a politically or economically dominant society’s culture onto another less dominant society. For example, the Ainu group was known for hunting, fishing, and gathering, but the Meiji government prohibited hunting and fishing most of area in Hokkaido. It made huge impact on the Ainu society because it made Ainu people weaker and sick due to being not able to eat food that they used to eat. They used to live with nature and nature was a part of their lives, but because of those prohibitions by the Meiji government the Ainu’s habitat was getting worse. The Ainu culture was taken away by the Meiji government to become as one nation, Japan. Moreover, most Ainu people were not familiar with farming because they had
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