Citation

Sake, Stationery and Schools: Aid and Minority Education in 19th Century Japan

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Abstract:

Objectives:
To illustrate the transition in Japan’s early modern colonial education policies from food aid and gift exchanges to the establishment of public provisions of education for the Indigenous Ainu of Hokkaido, Japan, between 1853-1881. Implications for the study of contemporary aid regimes, and the politics of minority education funding are considered.

Theoretical Frameworks:
Marcel Mauss’ (1922) concept about ‘the gift’ suggests that exchanges, particularly of ‘gifts’ within societies are ritualistic, obligatory to both receive and give, and require reciprocity to rebalance the original present. With ritual gift exchanges central to the historical development of Ainu-Japanese relations from the 14th Century, this paper inquires into the ways that the state provision of food aid, writing supplies, and finally, public education, obliged the Ainu respect, if not adhere to, the wishes of Japanese authorities.

Analytical Methods and Data Sources
Four sets of historical records are analyzed (all in Japanese):
Records of the Kaga-clan (5 vols)
Yoichi City Library: Yamada Clan Records
Mombetsu Post Records
Historical Records of Foreign Relations in the Bakumatsu Period (70 vols)
As well as a wide reading of other primary and secondary sources. These documents provide a multi-level perspective on Japanese policy and practice. The Bakumatsu records are a nearly complete record of dispatches between the central government in Edo (Tokyo), the magistrate in Hakodate, and the fisheries where aid was distributed. Three sets of documents from small fisheries show the implementation of the policies, with detailed information about the recipients, and examples of local forms of exchanges and aid, as Japan and Hokkaido were rapidly and radically modernized.

Conclusions
From these records, I trace the distribution of gift-aid, in the form of rice, alcohol and tobacco, traditions that emerged from the earliest interactions between the Ainu and Japanese, into the late feudal tradition of ‘audiences’ (uimam) that extended Japanese authority over these intercultural ceremonies. When Japan was forced to end its policy of seclusion by the US government in 1853, Japanese interest in Ainu lands shifted the policy toward assimilation, in order to make a clear claim to the island as part of Japan proper. Japanese officials began distributing pens, paper, books, and reading materials to Ainu who practiced speaking Japanese, and earlier policies of cultural dissimilation were abandoned, in favor of rapid assimilation. The rapid colonization of Hokkaido after 1876, and the slow pace of Ainu assimilation, convinced Japanese officials to redirect Ainu-specific forms of aid to school funds, which were thought to be most helpful in civilizing the Ainu as rapidly as possible.

Connecting patters of aid and educational funding, particularly in relation to colonial and indigenous settings by analyzing what was given and expected in this historical frame can help us better understand historical and contemporary patterns of Japanese aid, minority education policy, and the politics of aid and obligation, all central concerns of our field of comparative education. This form of analysis is also fruitful to help us consider the politics of contemporary educational aid and the obligations it engenders.

Mauss, M. (1925/1966). The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies.

Author's Keywords:

Historical Studies of Education
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Association:
Name: Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference
URL:
http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p717485_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Frey, Christopher. "Sake, Stationery and Schools: Aid and Minority Education in 19th Century Japan" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Mar 10, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p717485_index.html>

APA Citation:

Frey, C. J. , 2014-03-10 "Sake, Stationery and Schools: Aid and Minority Education in 19th Century Japan" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p717485_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Objectives:
To illustrate the transition in Japan’s early modern colonial education policies from food aid and gift exchanges to the establishment of public provisions of education for the Indigenous Ainu of Hokkaido, Japan, between 1853-1881. Implications for the study of contemporary aid regimes, and the politics of minority education funding are considered.

Theoretical Frameworks:
Marcel Mauss’ (1922) concept about ‘the gift’ suggests that exchanges, particularly of ‘gifts’ within societies are ritualistic, obligatory to both receive and give, and require reciprocity to rebalance the original present. With ritual gift exchanges central to the historical development of Ainu-Japanese relations from the 14th Century, this paper inquires into the ways that the state provision of food aid, writing supplies, and finally, public education, obliged the Ainu respect, if not adhere to, the wishes of Japanese authorities.

Analytical Methods and Data Sources
Four sets of historical records are analyzed (all in Japanese):
Records of the Kaga-clan (5 vols)
Yoichi City Library: Yamada Clan Records
Mombetsu Post Records
Historical Records of Foreign Relations in the Bakumatsu Period (70 vols)
As well as a wide reading of other primary and secondary sources. These documents provide a multi-level perspective on Japanese policy and practice. The Bakumatsu records are a nearly complete record of dispatches between the central government in Edo (Tokyo), the magistrate in Hakodate, and the fisheries where aid was distributed. Three sets of documents from small fisheries show the implementation of the policies, with detailed information about the recipients, and examples of local forms of exchanges and aid, as Japan and Hokkaido were rapidly and radically modernized.

Conclusions
From these records, I trace the distribution of gift-aid, in the form of rice, alcohol and tobacco, traditions that emerged from the earliest interactions between the Ainu and Japanese, into the late feudal tradition of ‘audiences’ (uimam) that extended Japanese authority over these intercultural ceremonies. When Japan was forced to end its policy of seclusion by the US government in 1853, Japanese interest in Ainu lands shifted the policy toward assimilation, in order to make a clear claim to the island as part of Japan proper. Japanese officials began distributing pens, paper, books, and reading materials to Ainu who practiced speaking Japanese, and earlier policies of cultural dissimilation were abandoned, in favor of rapid assimilation. The rapid colonization of Hokkaido after 1876, and the slow pace of Ainu assimilation, convinced Japanese officials to redirect Ainu-specific forms of aid to school funds, which were thought to be most helpful in civilizing the Ainu as rapidly as possible.

Connecting patters of aid and educational funding, particularly in relation to colonial and indigenous settings by analyzing what was given and expected in this historical frame can help us better understand historical and contemporary patterns of Japanese aid, minority education policy, and the politics of aid and obligation, all central concerns of our field of comparative education. This form of analysis is also fruitful to help us consider the politics of contemporary educational aid and the obligations it engenders.

Mauss, M. (1925/1966). The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies.


Similar Titles:
Government-created minority written language and school education: A case of Wa minority schools in China

Lessons from School, Lessons for Life: Education of an “Invisible” Minority in Japan – The burakumin.


 
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