Indigenous diplomacy: Sakhalin Ainu (enchiw) in the shaping of modern east Asia (part 1: Traders and travellers)

Tessa Morris-Suzuki*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Indigenous people are often depicted as helpless victims of the forces of eighteenth and ni neteenth century col oni al empi re bui l di ng: f orces that were beyond thei r understanding or control. Focusing on the story of a mid-nineteenth century diplomatic mission by Sakhalin Ainu (Enchiw), this essay (the first of a two-part series), challenges that view, suggesting instead that, despite the enormous power imbalances that they faced, indigenous groups sometimes intervened energetically and strategically in the historical process going on around them, had some impact on the outcome of these processes. In Part 1, we look at the story of one Sakhalin Ainu family over multiple generations in order to highlight the strategic place of the Sakhalin Ainu in cross-border relationships – particularly in the relationship between China and Japan – from the early eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number5512
    Pages (from-to)1-20
    Number of pages20
    JournalAsia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
    Issue number22
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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