Inculcating National Identity: Voices of School and Youth on Chichijima Island, Japan

Moskowitz, Nona Danielle, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia
Danziger, Eve, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia
Contini-Morava, Ellen, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia
Shepherd, John, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia
Hoffman, Diane, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Chichijima Island, located 600 miles off the coast of mainland Japan, lies at the extreme periphery of the nation. In the two hundred years the Island has been inhabited, the political administration on Chichijima has shifted from British to Japanese to American and back to Japanese again. Each administrative shift engendered cultural, linguistic and social changes which transformed daily life on Chichijima. Moreover, with each shift, native English and native Japanese speakers found themselves in a cultural and political "majority" or "minority" position vis-à-vis the administration in power. Forty years after the Island's 1968 Reversion back to Japan, what are the national and local identities in place on this ethnically mixed island? Motivated by this question, my research examines the everyday life, organization, and discourses in circulation at Ogasawara Middle School, a site where local and national systems of meaning interact. In particular, this dissertation examines the school as a multidiscursive site in order to understand the local processes by which national inclusion is imagined and performed on Chichijima Island, Japan. It unravels the tensions that the local middle school faces in its attempts to simultaneously inculcate a particular "Japanese" identity while trying to incorporate local practices and ideologies which are sometimes at odds with the ideal values of the national school system. The analysis in this dissertation focuses on the discourses woven into the voices of the school through three levels of interaction-nation-Island, teacher-student, and student-student. Specifically, this research investigates, first, the mainland norms institutionalized in the school curriculum and structure; second, mainland teachers' ii reactions to the school's non-Tokyo-standard norms of interaction; and third, the ways in which Island middle school students appropriate and exploit different linguistic forms for self-reference (their choice of "I"). Through these multiple layers of interaction, this analysis demonstrates that the school's discursive voice is not realized solely in a unidirectional, direct hegemonic imposition, but in a complicated blending of practices. The reproduction of mainstream Japanese values on Chichijima is a give-and-take process in the context of this peripheral Island's on-going incorporation into the Japanese nation.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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