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A Genealogy of ‘Japanese’ Self-Images
by Eiji Oguma, translated by David Askew
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This book presents a counter-argument to the widely held view that the Japanese have believed that they are a homogeneous nation since the Meiji period. Oguma demonstrates that the myth of ethnic homogeneity was not established during the Meiji period, nor during the Pacific War, but only after the end of World War II. The study covers a large range of areas, including archaeology, ancient history, linguistics, anthropology, ethnology, folk law, eugenics and philosophy, to obtain an overview of how a variety of authors have dealt with the theme of ethnicity. It also examines how the peoples of the Japanese colonies, Korea and Taiwan, were viewed in the prewar literature on ethnic identity.

Translator’s commentary; Chronology; Central terms in the Kiki myths; An introduction to the English-language edition; Introduction
Part One: The thought of an ‘Open Country’
The birth of theories of the Japanese nation; The debate on mixed residence in the interior; The theory of the national polity and Japanese Christianity; The anthropologists; The theory that the ‘Japanese’ and Koreans share a common ancestor; The Japanese annexation of Korea
Part Two: The thought of ‘Empire’
History and the ‘Abolition of Discrimition’; The reformation of the national polity theory; National self-determination and national borders; The Japanese as Caucasians; ‘The Return to the Blood’
Part Three: The thought of an ‘Island Nation’
The birth of an island nation’s folklore; Japanese versus eugenics; The revivial of the Kiki myths; From ‘Blood’ to ‘Climate’; The collapse of empire; The myth takes root
Conclusion; Notes; References; Index

Published by Trans Pacific Press
Published 2002, 435 pp.
ISBN 1 876843 83 7, hardback, £48.00
ISBN 1 876843 04 7, paperback, £19.99