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Geographies of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Japan$
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David Howell

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520240858

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520240858.001.0001

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The Geography of Civilization

The Geography of Civilization

(p.131) chapter 6 The Geography of Civilization
Geographies of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Japan

David L. Howell

University of California Press

This chapter investigates the association between civilization and barbarism as mediated by customs in the early modern period. After a short introductory discussion of the place of the Ezochi and the Ryukyu kingdom as peripheries of the early modern state, it examines the relationship between customs and status in the core polity and the marking of the Ainu alternately as barbarians and as Japanese through the deployment of customs. It tries to show that the geography of civilization was rooted in a spatial understanding of Japan's place in East Asia. The connection between customs and notions of civilization had deep roots in Confucian thought. Matsumae's attitude toward visible symbols of Ainu identity similarly reveals the nature of the civilizational boundary in Hokkaido. The Ainu's perception of both ritual and labor as forms of trade reflects the organic quality of the relationship.

Keywords:   civilization, barbarism, Ainu, Matsumae, Hokkaido, customs

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