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The first literary-cultural studies project on modern Hokkaido, this study examines the problematic ways dominant narratives cast Japanese as the main characters, agents, and even victims of the 'modernization' process, perpetuating a number of intransigent and troubling erasures. Michele M. Mason recasts the commonly dismissed colonial project pursued in Hokkaido during the Meiji era (1868-1912) as a major force in the production of modern Japan's national identity, imperial ideology, and empire. Critical readings of the textual and historical foundations of the (his)stories illustrate how representations of the island's colonization both obfuscate the devastating consequences on the indigenous Ainu and define the nascent nation-state of Japan as a timeless, unified, civilized entity.

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