What? Such culture exists in Okinawa

Interview with Uchināguchi activist FIJA Bairon at Japan Focus, complete with introduction to the Ryūkyūan language situation in general. Great reading. One-question/one-answer summary:

Japan is not a country with one culture, one nation, one language then?

It’s not and from now on also the Japanese will have to accept this. . .

Does everyone else remember Aso’s “一文化、 一文明、一民族、一言語” speech in late 2005?

(Via Pinyin News.)

Matt
February 17, 2008

4 Responses

  1. W. David MARX Says:

    Japan is a country that originally had an astounding amount of linguistic diversity in terms of dialect, and if also considering Okinawa/Ryukyu, in terms of language. Then the government steamrolls this after the Meiji Period and has the balls to say, “We are a country of linguistic unity” as if to say, “This road was always paved.”

  2. Matt Says:

    Don’t forget Ainu! It’s not Japonic, but it’s still Japanese.

    My impression is that the initial architects of 標準語 weren’t trying to deny anything about the linguistic situation in Japan– defining and promulgating a national standard was necessary precisely because there wasn’t one. It wasn’t until after they were done, 標準語 was a generation or two deep, and Kansai-ben etc. were safely marked “+quaint variation” that people started forgetting (or “forgetting”) that 標準語 hadn’t always been around. (The fact that most ancient texts and certainly the most famous ones are written in a fairly standard Heian/capital status dialect also encourages the myth of an unbroken chain of increasingly ancient 標準語s going back to earliest antiquity, I think)

  3. Aceface Says:

    Any of you have seen the film”Untamagiru”directed by Takamine Go?
    It is sort of an irony that Takamine start making film in Okinawan when he was in Kyoto and this movie was funded by SAISON.
    http://streaming.yahoo.co.jp/p/t/00026/v01409/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjA6BWMbeko

  4. Aceface Says:

    Just finish reading the interview on Japan Focus.

    I decided,the very day my son graduate from college,I’m off to the U.S and settle there,buying a house and a flag and a gun.