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Integration of the Ainu Minority in Japan: Enlightened Localism Combined with Universalism

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

I examine the significance of enlightened localism for problems associated with the social integration of minorities, with special reference to the Ainu people in Japan. From the standpoint of multicultural coexistence in a liberal spirit, I show how the Ainu might be better integrated into mainstream Japanese society by taking into account the perspective of enlightened localism. I propose the idea of polymorphic integration as a golden mean between group rights and individual rights. It offers a pragmatic way toward a cultural respect and concern for the Ainu based on a right to cultural integrity and embedded in the basically liberal yet inadequately race-sensitive legal system in Japan today.

Affiliations: 1: Advanced Institute for Law and Politics, School of Law, University of Hokkaido Kita-9, Nishi-7, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0809 Japan, Email:


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