|[a] Expression RF|
|[b] Marked RF|
In 1986, Japanese prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone made a statement that received world-wide attention.
So high is the level of education in our country that Japan is an intelligent
society. Our average score is much higher than those of countries like the U.S.
There are many [minorities] in America. In consequence the average score
over there is exceedingly low.
Attempting to clarify these remarks when the situation proved challenging diplomatically, Nakasone continued:
But there are things the Americans have not been able to do because of
multiple nationalities there…On the contrary, things are easier in Japan
because we are a monoracial society.
|[c] Pedigree RF|
Beyond the imperial line, the history of Japan–much like that of Korea or China—shows an interplay between and among groups. That such assimilation or intermarriage is less common than in, say, China, is indisputable. On the other hand, intermarriage with Chinese and Koreans was so common during the period in which the Japanese state was solidified that, by the early Heian period (c.1000), it was said that a third of all aristocratic families had foreign ancestors. As we have seen, it is far easier to define an ongoing and resilient Yamato culture that has spanned the centuries than to pinpoint anything resembling a pure Yamato ethnicity.
|[d] Ongoing RF|
Perhaps the most difficult ongoing situation of this nature in Japan today has occurred with a group that is not, strictly speaking, ethnically distinct. The Buraku people (Burakumin) have been stigmatized for centuries. They were originally perceived as an employment group that was considered to be outcaste because members worked in ritually “impure” occupations ranging from tanners and butchers to undertakers. Although the caste system was abolished in the early years of the Meiji era, discrimination has remained in employment, marriage, and even—although far less commonly today—real estate purchases.
All of these groups have higher profiles within and beyond Japan than they have had in the past. Each one has also been defined to a very large extent by its interactions over the decades and even centuries with Japan’s “Yamato” culture. This is equally true of other groups in Japan today, many of which are larger. These include significant numbers from China (including the Republic of China on Taiwan), Korea (mostly South Korea), Brazil, and the Philippines. Even so, the total foreign population does not exceed two percent, and all ethnic politics takes place under assumptions of overwhelmingly numerical superiority.
|[e] Overwhelming RF|