Seventh Asian Studies Conference Japan
    Saturday, June 21-Sunday 22, 2003
    Ichigaya Campus of Sophia University



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Contact the organizers: Asian Studies Conference (ASCJ) c/o Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, International Christian University 3-10-2 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181


Session 17
Morphing Movements: Change and Collective Action in Japan
Organizer: Christopher Bondy, University of Hawai'i

Using four different social movement groups in Japan, this panel explores the factors (internal and external) which affect changes or shifts in movement actions. As social movements undertake collective actions requiring a collective understanding, the panel also seeks to understand the role of collective understanding for those involved. Four papers examine the interaction between macro-level movement actions and the micro-level experiences of those involved. In the first paper, Mariko Ohyama looks at the historical shift in Ainu movement goals based on interactions with other movements, helping to (re)create ethnic consciousness. The second paper, by Akemi Nakamura, explores the creation of a broader identity of Koreans, beyond ethnic and national, which developed from cooperation between ethnic Koreans and Japanese citizens in the anti-fingerprinting movement. In the third paper, Julia Yonetani examines the importance of collective memory between national and local actions in the anti-base movement in Okinawa. The final paper, by Christopher Bondy, explains how culture is used to perform and build collective identity in a Burakumin community.

1) Mariko Ohyama, Ryukoku University. "The Ainu Movement: 1946-1997"

This paper covers the history of the movement for indigenous rights of the Ainu indigenous minority from 1946 to1997. After the defeat of Japan in 1945, the reestablishment or "recovery" of Ainu rights became possible and a grass-roots movement developed. Until the promulgation of a new constitution based on human rights, the Ainu people had experienced only a policy of forced assimilation. But the movement really only took on life in the late 1960s when the citizens' movement against the Vietnam War stimulated movements for change in the educational and political systems. At roughly the same time, various citizens movements opposed to environmental destruction caused by high economic growth also arose. It was in this context that the present-day Ainu Movement was formed. In the 1970s, young Ainu activists started an ethnic movement to press for a form of independence. From the 1980s, the Ainu movement broadened and became multifaceted. Consciousness as ethnic and indigenous peoples having a right to recover resources was strengthened by a movement centering on Hokkaido Utari Association to create a "New Ainu Law". The purposes behind this plan for a New Ainu Law were the abolition of the Hokkaido Former Aboriginals Protection Act, a recognition of Ainu People's existence with a distinctive culture, respect for the Ainu People as required by the present Constitution, and the protection of indigenous people rights.

2) Akemi Nakamura, University of Hawai'i. "The Anti-fingerprinting Movement in Japan 1980-1993: The Politicization of the Issue and the Construction of Political Opportunities"

This paper analyzes the politicization of the fingerprinting issue in the anti-fingerprinting movement among resident Koreans in Japan, 1980-1993. The limited, if not completely blocked, opportunities, resources, and cognitive framework, which contemporary theorists emphasize as factors for success, made the movement appear a most unlikely candidate for success. However, it is insufficient to apply only one of three major social movement theories ­ political opportunities, resource mobilization, and framing ­ to analyze social movements since none of these factors can on its own bring success. Moreover, each theory seems to be interrelated and complementary. Achieving micro-level success which may bring about meso-level success, it may be possible for the movement to create a macro-level opportunity. The paper argues that it is this interrelated nature of factors that ultimately brought the success to the anti-fingerprinting movement.

There are three stages in the development in the anti-fingerprinting movement. In the first stage, the "citizens of Japan" frame, which was claimed by the movement's participants, became relevant because generational changes among Koreans made their identity less diasporic. In the second stage, this claim was accepted by the Japanese, who were conscious of the larger issue of democracy beyond the fingerprinting issue. The successful mobilization of the Japanese majority in support activities made mass mobilization of the Koreans possible. In the final stage, the movement successfully made the Korean government involved in the issue to negotiate with the Japanese government to improve the condition, acting to create an opportunity.

3) Julia Yonetani, University of New South Wales. "The Politics of Time-Space in a Globalized 'Village'"

There is no global that does not exist in the local, just as varying locales are inscribed within hegemonic national/global spatio-temporal relations. On one level, the explosion of the Okinawa "base issue" after 1995 involved opposing concepts of past and place as competing visions of a regional and global future. On another level, the Futenma base relocation question became translated into a highly localized conflict over economic "stimulus" and "development." As Tessa Morris-Suzuki observes, as global capitalism transforms the way in which knowledge is generated, we are faced with a "crisis in the critical imaginary," and the urgent need to (re)conceptualize the interrelation between critical thought and political practice. This paper traces connections between a national "politics of memory" and local contests over the base construction. In doing so, I seek to find a dialogue between discursive critiques of (neo)nationalist narratives and contests fought out within the political economy of (g)local time-space.

4) Christopher Bondy, University of Hawai'i. "In with the Good Air, Out with the Bad: Culture, Collective Identity and Social Movement in a Burakumin Community"

This paper seeks to explain how culture was used to perform and build collective identity in a Burakumin community. Collective identity in a social movement is structured and reinforced through interactions, encouraging participation in movement activities. However if stigmatized by majority society, it may be harder for a minority group to achieve a collective identity, therefore social movement organizations must work to overcome a stigma of identity. When a member of a minority group accepts and internalizes the definitions provided by the majority society, building a sense of pride in membership becomes a central part of movement actions. Seeing worth in membership of a minority group is an important step in participating in a social movement organization. In an effort to overcome discrimination, the Buraku Liberation League (BLL) in Japan seeks to build a sense of pride in membership. The steps taken to build this pride also strive to show the majority society the positives in the Burakumin experience. This fostering of pride is encouraged at national and local levels. Cultural practices perform, construct, and re-construct these identities. The Kaiho Matsuri (Liberation Festival) follows culturally accepted patterns of Japanese festivals, making it a "safe" social setting to further movement goals. By shifting the meanings of a festival's symbols, such as dances and costumes, the Kaiho Matsuri creates a setting that allows for both an acceptance of culturally accepted definitions of a festival, while providing a venue to challenge assumptions of the majority society.


list of panels