The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

Who Are the “Indigenous”? Comparative Studies of the Sociohistorical Background of Minority/Indigenous Peoples

Joint Research Coordinator KUBOTA Sachiko

Reserch Theme List


The United Nations designated the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People (1993) and International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People lasting through 2004. During this period, efforts unprecedented in terms of scale and speed to expand the rights of indigenous people unfolded in various regions starting with North America and Australia. This seemed to result in a growth of understanding in mainstream societies of the socioeconomic positions of their indigenous peoples and the historical backgrounds from which they stemmed. At the same time, ideologies concerning the indigenous peoples were adopted and to a degree became more powerful, beginning to be regarded on a universal basis. However, the question is if that was the actual situation. Using the concept of indigenous also led to situations in which there was a lack of clarity about the relationship between a nation and ethnic diversity or about conceptual symbiotic relationships resulting from ethnic movements. This research will attempt to reestablish indigenous within a framework of diverse nations and societies, and adopt a broad perspective, ranging from the level of basic human security in terms of human rights, among other concerns to such things as systems for welfare, employment policies, among others, so as to be able to understand the concepts and ideologies related to indigenous.

Research Results

This joint research committee met on three occasions and all members and researchers who were scheduled to write reports announced their writing plans. Based on these announced plans, we held repeated debates paving the way for results publication, as well as discussions on how to summarize the overall results.
The results are scheduled to be published by Sekai Shisosha Co., Ltd. with publication support from this Museum. The table of contents is shown below.

Preface    The Aims of this Work KUBOTA Sachiko
Part I         Various Issues related to Indigenous Ideologies
Chapter 1   Movements of Indigenous Peoples in the 21st Century—Trends and Prospects (Henry STEWART)
Chapter 2   The Term Indigenous (Ethnic Groups) (UCHIBORI Motomitsu)
Chapter 3   Indigenous Research and Anthropology (TAKAKURA Hiroki)
Chapter 4   Indigenous Discourse and Local Phenomena (KUBOTA Sachiko)
Part II         Indigenous People Today
Chapter 5   What Will Happen to Indigenous Peoples? (OMURA Keichi)
Chapter 6   Unrecognized Indigenous Peoples in North America (KISHIGAMI Nobuhiro)
Chapter 7   Yupik Eskimos—Village Schools (KUBOTA Ryo)
Chapter 8   Indigenous Peoples as Portrayed on the Internet (SUGIFUJI Shigenobu)
Chapter 9   Textualization of Enlightenment and Culture for Cultural Tourism of Urban Aborigines (UEHASHI Naoko)
Chapter 10  Australian Indigenous Society and Australian Archaeology (KOYAMA Shuzo)
Part III         The Development of Indigenous Ideologies
Chapter 11  The Indigenous of Ethiopia (KURIMOTO Hideo)
Chapter 12  The Gap between Development Policies and Indigenous Movements (MARUYAMA Junko)
Chapter 13  Cultural Advocacy of Mountain Peoples in Thailand (HAYAMI Yoko)
Chapter 14  Policies towards Indigenous Peoples during the Initial Period of Japan’s Rule in Taiwan NOBAYASHI Atsushi, MIYAMOTO Maoko
Chapter 15  The Agony of Ethnic Groups Without an Indigenous Area YANG Haiying [ONO Akira]
Chapter 16  The Ainu as Indigenous Viewed through the Ioru Project NOMOTO Masahiro