The Journal of Japanese Studies



Building National Identity through Ethnicity:
Ethnology in Wartime Japan and After

This article exposes the role played by professional ethnologists associated with the Ethnic Research Institute in justifying Japanese intervention in Asia during World War II.  Major ethnologists worked closely with key government and military officials to guide imperial Japan's efforts at nation building throughout Asia.  By "liberating" people throughout Asia to their ethnic identities instead of citizenship in their own political states, Japanese ethnologists provided active support for Japan's military and imperialist activities.  After defeat and the loss of Japan's empire, this ethnological tradition was refitted for domestic consumption and provided a cultural theory for Japanese identity that continued the wartime discourse on nationality as an ethnic form of identity distinct from citizenship in a democratic state.

Volume 27, Number 1 (Winter 2001)
2001 Society for Japanese Studies


Marie Anchordoguy and Kevin M. Doak, Coeditors     Martha L. Walsh, Managing Editor
The Journal of Japanese Studies
University of Washington     Box 353650     Seattle, WA 98195-3650 U.S.A.
Phone 206-543-9302    Fax 206-685-0668    Email
Copyright 2004-2008  Society for Japanese Studies