Questions of Japanese ethnic history, as a rule, involuntarily lead the researcher to the problem of the internal controversy of Japanese culture, expressed on the one hand, in its unification, and on the other, in the presence of a multitude of ethnic and cultural layers. This article analyzes the issue of the frontier history of Japan. Although in the foreign historiography of the problem of the Japanese frontier is well studied, this question is practically not covered in the domestic historical science. In his article the author tries to discuss this problem in several aspects: historical and ethnic. The historical aspect is uncovered in the analyses of a number of territories and tribes, which can be referred to the concept of "frontier", i.e. connected with a certain zone of cultural contacts of Japanese with non-Japanese. In the north of the country, they are the Emishu, the Ainu and other groups, and in the south – various ethnic groups of the Ryukyu Islands.
Ethnic aspect is analyzed through the prism of Ainu history and through the process of their incorporation into the all-Japanese national culture. Using as an example the relationship with the Ainu, the author identifies three periods (models) of the Japanese frontier policy: archaic, colonial and modern. The archaic model was a continuation of the Chinese model, built on the dichotomy of the center and periphery. It was dominated by mythopoetic parameters, prescribing a relation to the barbarian in accordance with his place in the world picture. Modernist (colonial) approach was a kind of synthesis of the traditional Japanese and Western style of acting. The modern model is characterized by a revision of a number of events in the past Japanese history and the recognition of some old mistakes.
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