Red/White/Yellow: Considering the Racial Situation in Japan from the Perspective of Marriage Discrimination Experienced by Ainu Women


Japan has an unusual and complicated history of engaging with concepts of race. In the past, many Japanese people asserted the concept of
Japanese racial superiority and justified colonialism by positioning indigenous people as racially inferior. In Western society, Japanese
people have historically been targets of racism, and racist ideologies within Japan persist today and, in many ways, have been made invisible.
In this lecture, I would like to discuss the discrimination experienced by Ainu women in marriage, and consider the racial symbols of “red,” “
white,” and “yellow” that have infiltrated the history and present of Japanese society.


Speaker Bio:

Dr. Mai Ishihara is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Ainu and
Indigenous Studies at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan. She
specializes in Cultural Anthropology and Ainu and Indigenous Research.
She is the author of Autoethnography of ‘Silence’: The Story of the Pain
of Silent Ainu and Their Care (Sapporo: Hokkaido University Press, Dec.
2020 [in Japanese]).