The Aug. 13 Community page article, “Ainu fight for return of plundered ancestral remains,” interested me very much. When Japan basked in the world’s attention because of its strong economic growth, it would often be described as a “homogenous” society, a result of the Japanese being composed of a single race.

The notion seemed plausible to some people, but it was wrong. As the article points out, this society includes the Ainu.

It is deplorable to have to say nowadays that telling the Ainu people from other Japanese could be difficult because of the discriminatory assimilation policies adopted by authorities after the Meiji Restoration. I think that more Japanese people should become aware of Ainu history and their tragic stories. As the Ainu language does not have a writing system, maintaining and preserving their unique manners and culture has been difficult.

These days many Japanese people seem hooked on the idea of catching up with the “globalization” movement. It is also important to contemplate who the Japanese really are and their history.

shuichi john watanabe

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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