Dangerous Data

By now most of you have probably heard of the erasure of buraku — the segregated communities of Japanese outcastes — from Google Earth.1 The continuing discrimination against burakumin — hisabetsuminzoku2 is the phrase I was taught to use in the late ’80s, but it doesn’t seem to have stuck — which often uses their […]

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Sumo and tradition

The NYTimes Lede blog [thanks, Mom!] linked Michael Phelps’ marijuana scandal to a scandal in Japanese sumo1 which has resulted in four retirements. They almost got it right: they note that Sumo wrestlers are supposed to maintain “monkish” discipline, and there’s some real truth to that.2 They also made a classic error: I actually left […]

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Migration, Nationalism, Empire

Tessa Morris-Suzuki’s recent Japan Focus article, “Migrants, Subjects, Citizens: Comparative Perspectives on Nationality in the Prewar Japanese Empire” is an ambitious attempt to integrate identity, legal and strategic issues related to the problem of citizenship in the context of migrations within and between empires.1 The primary comparative material is to British examples, and students of […]

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Disparity Studies

In my discussion of the job market I said “I only saw two Korea positions, which seems about par for previous years: at some point, though, Korea positions should catch up with Japan ones.” Morgan Pitelka took exception, noting (correctly) that Other than UCLA, which continues to have one of the most productive Korean studies […]

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