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This is the first in-depth study of the "other" Japan - the diverse and complex culture that belies the conventional portrayal of Japan as a homogenous entity. Moving, fascinating and surprising, this book sets out the largely untold story of the cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity found in Japan today, where members of marginal societal groups are ignored by the mainstream on the grounds of physical, ethnic, religious or other differences. Among them are the Ainu, Koreans, "Buraku", women, returnees and the deaf, for all of whom this work serves as a forum to give eloquent voice to their history and present situation. This unique study describes the existing plurality in Japan in order to start balancing the perspectives which currently exist in the non-Japanese literature about Japan; to challenge the myth of Japanese uniqueness by focusing on very common experiences that Japanese people share with peoples in other parts of the world; and above all, to counteract the common tendency to see complexity as a threat by illustrating the value to society as a whole of diversity and cultural plurality.

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