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The State Construction of 'Japaneseness'
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For more than 140 years, Japan's koseki registration system has functioned as the official means by which an individual qualifies as "Japanese". Information concerning each family is entered into one koseki register record in a system that documents the status relationship information of Japan's population based on the notion of "bloodline". Tracing the history of the koseki registration system from its inception in the Meiji era through its use in Japan's colonial holdings in the pre-war era and to the present day, The State Construction of "Japaneseness" challenges the very foundations of the system, arguing that it promotes prejudice and discrimination and fosters a divisive understanding of the "Japanese" as a people. This significant work presents conclusive evidence on how the koseki registration system has used deeply problematic understandings of ethnicity, citizenship and the family to define "the Japanese", excluding and discriminating against those unable to fit into the framework of this highly politicised bureaucratic system.
Suntory Culture Award for Social Sciences and Humanities
About Editors and Authors
ENDO Masataka is a Japanese political scientist. He completed his PhD in Politics at the Graduate School of Political Science, Waseda University. Currently he is a part-time lecturer at Waseda University, Utsunomiya University and Toho University. His areas of specialization include political science, Japanese political history and the history of East Asian international relations. He is a leading analyst of the history of Japan’s household registration system and a winner of the Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities in 2017 for his work in this area.
Table of contents
1 Koseki Registration as Proof of ‘Being Japanese’
2 On Being a Citizen: The Close Nexus Between Japanese Citizenship and Koseki Registration
3 Modern Japan and Koseki Registration: The ‘Japanese People’ Defined by the Ie Family
4 Colonial Holdings and the ‘Japanese’: Koseki Register Control of ‘Ethnicity’, ‘Citizenship’ and ‘Bloodline’
5 Post-war Reconstruction of the ‘Japanese’: Koseki Registration and the Citizenship of ‘Subjects of the Empire’
6 Koseki as Distorted Reality: Towards an Open Institution
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