Image Credit: via The Japan Times

Japan Research | Ainu

Japan’s Ethnic Discrimination Perception Gap

Two government studies have revealed discrepancies in perception of discrimination against the Ainu, an ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaido and nearby islands. Ainu individuals report experiencing inequality and discrimination at higher levels than non-Ainu Japanese recognize. While the Japanese government has long pursued assimilationist policies towards ethnic groups in areas taken over through centuries of imperialist expansion, in recent years, the government has officially recognized the Ainu as an indigenous group and planned to promote its cultural visibility. The surveys represent the first state-level research on public perception of Ainu Japanese.

72.1% (Ainu) vs. 17.9% (non-Ainu)

Percentage of respondents who believe anti-Ainu discrimination and prejudice persist

19.1% (Ainu) vs. 50.7% (non-Ainu)

Percentage of respondents who believe little to no anti-Ainu discrimination and prejudice persist

74.1%

Percentage of non-Ainu respondents reporting having never encountered an Ainu person or Ainu culture

51.4%

Percentage of Ainu respondents reporting having friends and family who have experienced discrimination

26.2%

Percentage of Ainu respondents reporting having experienced discrimination directly

57.5%

Percentage of those who have experienced direct discrimination reporting opposition to their marriage or relationships from their non-Ainu partner’s family

53.8%

Percentage of those who have experienced direct discrimination reporting discomfort due to discrimination in the workplace

Survey response:
707/1,000 (Ainu)
1,727/3,000 (non-Ainu)

Read more:
Discrimination of Ainu persists; Japanese people largely unaware” (Japan Today)
72% of indigenous Ainu sense discrimination 18% of mainstream Japanese are ignorant of: surveys” (The Japan Times)

Additional reading:
Everything you wanted to know about the Ainu, with photos and video” (RocketNews24)

(Image Credit: via The Japan Times)