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Redressing injustice of the past: the repatriation of Ainu human remains

Nakamura, Naohiro (2018) Redressing injustice of the past: the repatriation of Ainu human remains. Japan Forum, TBC . TBC. ISSN 0955-5803

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This article addresses the controversies surrounding the repatriation of Ainu human remains ‘unethically’ collected by Japanese researchers and stored in university institutions throughout the twentieth century. Some 1653 Ainu remains are held at Japanese universities, and Ainu rights advocates have demanded the return of these remains to their lineal descendants. In 2009, the Japanese government proposed to transfer all unidentified Ainu remains from universities to a memorial hall to be built in Shiraoi, Hokkaido, by 2020. This plan was met by disdain by Ainu advocates for two reasons. First: there was concern that Japanese academics would continue to do research on the remains. Second: the Ainu wished for the remains to be laid to rest in the burial grounds they were originally excavated from. This article discusses the repatriation policies initiated by the Japanese national government, how Ainu representatives have responded, and the ethical debate that surrounds the use of the Ainu remains for research. The article closes by looking at how the conciliation agreement in the legal case by Ainu plaintiffs against Hokkaido University in 2012 for the return of Ainu remains opened up possibilities for community members to petition for the return of ancestral remains for reinternment.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
K Law > KZ Law of Nations
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
Depositing User: Naohiro Nakamura
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2018 00:00
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2018 00:00

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