Download the full-sized PDF of Living on the Periphery: Ryūkyūan and Ainu Third-Space Identity under Japanese ColonizationDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

Living on the Periphery: Ryūkyūan and Ainu Third-Space Identity under Japanese Colonization Open Access


Other title
Ryūkyūan and Ainu
Third-space identity
Japanese colonization
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Li, Mengqi
Supervisor and department
Commons, Anne (East Asian Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Iwasaki, Clara (East Asian Studies)
Fried, Daniel (East Asian Studies)
Commons, Anne (East Asian Studies)
Department of East Asian Studies

Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-06:Spring 2017
Master of Arts
Degree level
This research focuses on the Ryūkyūan and Ainu third-space identity under Japanese acculturation from the Meiji period (1868-1912). The Ryūkyūans and Ainu are Japanese minorities and their territories were independent from Japan in the pre-Meiji period. The Ryūkyūans established a kingdom in the fifteenth century and the Ainu were self-governed in the land of Ezo. Japanese colonization over the Ryūkyūans and Ainu started in the Edo period (1603-1868), and it was strengthened in the Meiji period with the incorporation of the Ryūkyū Kingdom and the land of Ezo into Japan as Okinawa prefecture and Hokkaidō, respectively. Kōminka (皇民化, imperialization) education was implemented in Okinawa and Hokkaidō to cultivate loyal Japanese citizens. The Ryūkyūans’ and Ainu’s identities were profoundly affected by the acculturation. As people living on the periphery of Japan, many Ryūkyūans and Ainu were struggling within an ambivalent third-space identity formed under colonization: they were Ryūkyūans/Ainu and Japanese while simultaneously being neither Ryūkyūans/Ainu nor Japanese. In Chapter One, basic historical facts are provided to justify the foreign status of the Ryūkyūans and Ainu before the Meiji period, with a discussion of the terminology regarding Japanese colonization over the Ryūkyūs and the land of Ezo. The motivation for the Meiji government to incorporate the Ryūkyū Kingdom and the land of Ezo is also investigated in this chapter. Chapter Two examines how the kōminka education policies were carried out in Okinawa and Hokkaidō respectively, as well as how the Ryūkyūans and Ainu were differentiated in acculturation. As a transition to Chapter Three, the last section in this chapter investigates the connection between the discrimination in kōminka education and Ryūkyūan/Ainu self-alienation. In Chapter Three, Western post-colonial theories from Homi K. Bhabha (1949- ) and Franz Fanon (1925-1961) are applied to the Japanese colonial context to explain the Ryūkyūan and Ainu third-space identity, in combination with Iha Fuyū’s (1876-1947) and Hatozawa Samio’s (1935-1971) psychological analysis of the Ryūkyūans and Ainu respectively. The disruptive effects of the Ryūkyūan and Ainu third-space identity on Japanese colonial authorities will be discussed at the end of chapter three as well. Chapter Four provides a substantial analysis of the Ryūkyūan and Ainu third-space identity depicted in literary works created by Ryūkyūan and Ainu writers in the Taishō (1912-1926) and Shōwa periods (1926-1989).
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (PDF/A)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 1178121
Last modified: 2017:06:13 12:15:25-06:00
Filename: Li_Mengqi_201703_MA.pdf
Original checksum: e9e547714a93d642373a379380777a3a
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date