Wartime Experiences and Indigenous Identities in the Japanese Empire

Lin Poyer, Futuru C. J. Tsai


Further research on the operations of empire and on Indigenous histories offers the opportunity to examine how Indigenous communities in the Japanese Empire experienced competing currents of loyalty and identity during the Pacific War. This article examines how three Indigenous populations—Ainu, Indigenous Taiwanese and Micronesian Islanders—survived the ideological and social pressures of an empire at war and, despite the intense assimilationist demands of Japan’s kōminka program and traumatic wartime experiences, retained cultural identities sufficiently robust to allow expression at the end of the century in the form of action to maintain community lives apart from, while engaged with, the nation-state.

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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.