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Regional Identity on Japan's Northern Periphery

Tsugaru: Regional Identity on Japan's Northern Periphery. N. Guo, S. Hasegawa, H. Johnson, et al.Nanyan Guo, Seiichi Hasegawa, Hidemichi Kawanishi, Kanako Kitahara, Henry Johnson, Anthony Rausch


Tsugaru is located in the northwest corner of Japan's main island, Honshu. With a rugged landscape and challenging weather, it was bypassed by Japan's industrial development after World War II. It has remained relatively rustic, with its countryside dotted with rice paddies and apple orchards. As a result, it is rich in culture and diversity, with people of many different dialects and traditions.

This book serves both as an introduction to the region and as an essay on regional identity in the modern state. The contributing authors, from Japan and New Zealand, began working together as academics located in unique regions: Tsugaru and Otago. In a series of interesting essays they examine many aspects of Tsugaru life and culture: some history (including the arrival of Christian missionaries in the nieneteenth century), the 'Tsugaru shamisen' (a unique folk musical instrument enjoying a revival in Japanese popular music), the region's distinctive lacquerware, sculpture, literature (looking at the work of writers Dazai Osamu and Osabe Hideo) and performing arts. The resulting volume is both interesting and comprehensive in examining Tsugaru's identity in modern Japan.



1 Introduction
2 Establishing Tsugaru Identity through Oura Mitsunobu
3 Christianity in the Tsugaru District
4 The Transformation of Tsugaru Identity
5 Nation and Region in the Work of Dazai Osamu
6 Osabe Hideo: Signifying Tsugaru's Music
7 Tsugaru Shamisen: From Region to Nation (and Beyond) and Back Again
8 Tsugaru Nuri Lacquerware: Nation-state Patronage and the Representation of a Local Craft;
Appendix: Performing Arts of Tsugaru
Notes and References.

Published with the assistance of the Japan Foundation.



Nanyan Guo, Seiichi Hasegawa, Henry Johnson, Hidemichi Kawanishi, Kanako Kitahara, Anthony S. Rausch, Takefusa Sasamori, Roy Starrs.


About the Authors

Nanyan Guo and Henry Johnson are both lecturers at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

Hidemichi Kawanishi is associate professor at Joetsu University of Education, Japan.

Kanako Kitahara lectures at universities and colleges in the Aomori and Akita Prefectures, Japan.

Anthony Rausch is a lecturer in the Faculty of Education, Hirosaki University, Japan.

Seiichi Hasegawa is currently professor in the Faculty of Humanities of Hirosaki University, Japan.


Publication details

ISBN 1 877372 08 0, paperback, 230 x 150 mm, 160 pages, $49.95
Colour illustrations
Release: April 2005