Why hasn’t LDP Hokkaido prefectural assembly group member Masaru Onodera been asked to resign? The Ainu are among the most indigenous of people to ever dwell in the archipelago now called Japan since the Jomon era. It’s believed by many cultural anthropologists that the Ainu have lived in northern Japan for the past 8,000 years (or longer) and did indeed have have a very distinctive language and culture before Japan’s nation building Meiji authorities arrived from Honshu to confiscate their lands and redistribute such lands to Japanese settlers, while also aggressively forcing all Ainu to assimilate into mainstream Japanese society. Onodera is guilty of verbal “ethnic cleansing” by questioning whether the Ainu are an indigenous people of Hokkaido, a land the Ainu themselves called Ezo.

For Onodera to suggest that “our ancestors have not done reckless, unreasonable things to the Ainu” is just more right-wing revisionist nonsense, very much an insult to those Ainu who continue to take pride in their native heritage despite all the suffering and repression they’ve had to endure since the late Edo era and throughout the Meiji, Taisho and Showa eras.

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