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Writing Postcolonial Histories of Intercultural Education

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Edited By Heike Niedrig and Christian Ydesen

Bringing together a group of international researchers from two educational sub-disciplines – «History of Education» and «Intercultural Education» – the contributions to this volume provide insights into the (pre-)history of intercultural issues in education across a vast range of historical, national-geographical and political contexts. The anthology takes its readers on a fascinating journey around the globe, presenting case studies from Asia, Africa, Europe and America. The coherence of the journey is found in recurring themes and questions, such as: How does the discourse on «multiculturalism» or «intercultural learning» construct the norm and the Others in these educational settings? Who has the power of definition? And what are the functions and effects of these processes of Othering?

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Christopher J. Frey: Yoshitsune Legends in Ezo-Hokkaido: Myth and the Teaching and Learning of Colonialism in Japan’s North

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Yoshitsune Legends in Ezo-Hokkaido: Myth and the Teaching and Learning of Colonialism in Japan’s North Christopher J. Frey, Bowling Green State University, USA This chapter explores the development, deployment and reception of a popular medieval Japanese legend, “Yoshitsune in Ezo” as an example of intercultural education between Japanese and Ainu. The Ainu are a people indigenous to the land once known as “Ezo”, which included what is now Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaid, as well as Russian-held Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands (see map below). The “Yoshitsune in Ezo” legend centers on the purported travels of an exceptionally famous prince, Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159-1189CE), who to this day is the subject of films, video games, and a wide variety of Japanese visual novels (manga). Briefly, the “Yoshitsune in Ezo” legend paints Yoshit- sune, as he is usually called, as a tragic hero who overcomes death and escapes to live among the Ainu. This particular legend is but one small part of an enor- mous cultural corpus devoted to Yoshitsune, but as this chapter will argue, it can also illustrate some deep historical truths about Japan’s colonial expansion, and the creation of intercultural spaces and stories by the Japanese that justified their authority over Ainu people. Over many centuries, this legend of “Yoshitsune in Ezo” was carried north in the minds of Japanese officials, surveyors, sailors and seasonal laborers, who planted and cultivated it in the Ainu lands of Ezo, and appropriated the Ainu legend of another mythic hero, Okikurumi, to...

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