Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/228878
Title: "ILLUSTRATING THE 'TRUTH' IN FICTION": THE CONTINUITY OF HOKKAIDO’S COLONIAL NARRATIVES IN GOLDEN KAMUY
Authors: SITI UMAIRAH BINTE ADNAN
Keywords: Japan
Ainu
media representation
manga
postcolonial
Issue Date: 8-Nov-2021
Citation: SITI UMAIRAH BINTE ADNAN (2021-11-08). "ILLUSTRATING THE 'TRUTH' IN FICTION": THE CONTINUITY OF HOKKAIDO’S COLONIAL NARRATIVES IN GOLDEN KAMUY. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Popular media in Japan, from the Meiji era (1868-1912) to the present, has contributed to and reinforced the hegemonic narrative on Hokkaido and the Ainu. This colonial Wajin (that is, non-Ainu)-centric narratives imagine Hokkaido as a place of wild, natural wonder brought into modernity by the Meiji era settler-colonial project, with the Ainu portrayed as a primitive disappearing race, doomed to a fate of subjugation under their advanced Wajin colonisers. Even today, where Ainu indigeneity has been recognised by the Japanese government, these visions of Hokkaido as a wild natural landscape ripe for adventure and the Ainu as a primitive people moored to the past are rife in Japanese popular media such as manga and film. Conversely, popular media has equally been used to publicise alternative narratives on Hokkaido and the Ainu to combat these long-standing colonial narratives and tropes. This thesis analyses two recent and popular Wajin-created works that extensively feature Hokkaido and the Ainu, namely Noda Satoru’s manga Golden Kamuy (2014- present) and Fukunaga Takeshi’s film Ainu Mosir (2020). Though acclaimed for its detailed and respectful depictions of Ainu culture, an examination of Golden Kamuy’s themes, setting, and characterisation in relation to Noda’s approach to the historical period and Ainu culture reveals an unquestioned acceptance and reproduction of hegemonic colonial narratives and tropes on Hokkaido and the Ainu. Postcolonial theory is then instructive in understanding readers’ reactions, whose cultural and historical backgrounds inform their feelings of pride, uncertainty, and derision towards the manga. Ainu Mosir then illustrates the possibility of creating popular media that recenters Ainu voices and disrupts the hegemonic narrative on Hokkaido by handing the power of interpretation and meaning making back to the Ainu themselves, giving them a platform to tell their narratives amidst the profusion of Wajin-centric ones.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/228878
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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