New Publication: The Rise of Indigenous Rights Movements in Japan

Harrison, Scott M. and Kimie Hara. “The Cold War, the San Francisco System, and the Rise of Indigenous Rights Movements in Japan.” Rivista italiana di storia internazionale” 2/2022: 217-240. 

Today, over three decades since it was believed to have ended, many remnants of the Cold War are found worldwide. The Asia-Pacific region is where such remnants are most densely concentrated, including their structural foundation, the «San Francisco System». Taking the San Francisco System as its conceptual grounding, this paper considers the impact of the Cold War on relations between states and local populations – the Okinawans and Ainu – in the two frontiers of Japan. The first section of this paper looks at postwar US consolidation of lands for military use and the growth of Indigenism (i.e., movements in support of Indigenous identity and rights) in Okinawa. The second section examines Japanese government policy on the territorial dispute with the USSR/Russia and Ainu Indigenism in light of the Cold War and its development in the Asia-Pacific. The paper argues that the shape and timing of Okinawan and Ainu Indigenism were intricately related to the Cold War in Asia and the San Francisco System

New Publication: Citizen or City Diplomacy?

Harrison, Scott Michael, & Huang, Quinton (2022). Citizen or City Diplomacy? Diplomatic Co-Production and the Middle Ground in Municipal Twinning Relationships, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy (published online ahead of print 2022). doi:

Here is our description of this article available on Kudos

Since their early origins in the Cold War, municipalities worldwide have engaged with each other through twinning relationships, also called sister cities or friendship cities, to form cultural links and business ties, and promote educational exchange. Creating and maintaining these relationships requires both official city and citizen initiative and participation. 

Scott Harrison and Quinton Huang, two researchers at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, a not-for-profit organization focused on Canada-Asia relations, have spent years examining global municipal twinning in Asia and the crossroads of Canada-Asia Pacific city twinning. Their work gets at the heart of how and why these networks form and their outcomes, benefits, and pitfalls. Harrison and Huang ask whether twinning is a quaint but outdated concept or a viable modern strategy for enhancing Canada-Asia and international relations in general? 

Findings are drawn from 18 interviews with official and domestic society actors involved in Canadian twinning relations with China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Using examples from Canada-Asia city twinning, this paper examines how cities and citizens work together and could better do so. Insights gleaned will inspire new approaches to designing and implementing twinning relationships and how cities and everyday citizens can work better together.

New Website Launch:

New Website Launch

News Release

June 16, 2021

AinuToday is the first English knowledge-sharing platform for an international audience to learn about contemporary Ainu voices, issues, and arts.

Dr. Kanako Uzawa founded AinuToday in 2021, supported by people throughout the Ainu community and like-minded colleagues Dr. Scott Harrison, Sabra Harris (MA), Michael J. Ioannides (MA), and Maria Victoria Diaz-Gonzalez. Dr. Uzawa is an Ainu scholar, advocate, and performer who engages with contemporary expressions and first-hand narratives of the Ainu people in Japan.

The Ainu are Indigenous people of Japan who were, and still are to some degree, considered of being in danger of extinction. Until recently, most Ainu-related literature and activities were dominated by non-Ainu scholars, and little information about the everyday lives of the Ainu was available. This is changing as Ainu-created, initiated, and co-developed research, art, and policy is increasing.

AinuToday celebrates, contributes to, and highlights information about living Ainu and promotes forward-thinking, respectful, and lively dialogue toward a better future. As the pandemic is making more people dependent on the internet for information and building community networks, AinuToday is a long overdue and well-timed initiative. 

For inquiries:

Dr. Kanako Uzawa, Founder


Invisible Indigenous Descendants in Hokkaido, Japan

In March 2021, I had the pleasure of hosting Professor ISHIHARA Mai from the Centre for Ainu and Indigenous Studies at Hokkaido University to talk about “Invisible Indigenous Descendants in Hokkaido, Japan.” She also introduced her new book Autoethnography of  Silence: The Story of the Pain of Silent Ainu and Their Care (Sapporo: Hokkaido University Press, Dec. 2020 [in Japanese]). Check out her talk here:

Thank you to these three organizations for making this event possible: the David Lam Centre at Simon Fraser University, the Centre for Ainu and Indigenous Studies at Hokkaido University, and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Hokkaidō 150 Podcast

This interview with Tristan Grunow for the Hokkaidō 150 podcast “[R]eviews international relations between Canada, Japan, and Northeast Asia from the perspective of Indigenous issues. We discuss Ainu-related ties between Canada and Japan, the Ainu perspective of diplomatic disputes between Japan and Russia, Ainu relations with minority groups in China, and issues arising from the recent bill recognizing Ainu as Indigenous”

Other episodes of the Hokkaidō 150 podcast can be found here:

The related Meiji 150 podcast can be found here:

Meiji Inspired Diplomacy and Politics for Japan’s Future

Facing numerous social and economic challenges, Japan in the twenty-first century faces uncertainty similar to that of the Meiji Era. Scott Harrison finds significant similarities between the two periods, and argues that Meiji style diplomacy, characterized by engagement with the external world and the development of alliances — particularly with the dominant or hegemonic powers of the time, are vital parts of protecting national interests. Without such outreach and global integration, he suggests, Japan’s domestic issues and international priorities will be much harder to address. Not only should countries and businesses around the world pay attention to how Japan addresses its contemporary challenges, but also, as the Meiji Era has shown, Japan may find many of the solutions to its issues from lessons learned around the world.

Click here for this chapter: “Meiji Inspired Diplomacy and Politics for Japan’s Future.” In Japan’s Future and a New Meiji Transformation: International Reflections. Ken S. Coates, et al., eds. London: Routledge, 2019.

Canadian Provinces and Foreign Policy in Asia

Non-central governments in Canada have become increasingly active on the world stage, most notably in the Asia Pacific region. The scholarly works on Canada’s foreign policy in Asia tend to focus either on the federal government as the main actor or on the “other diplomacies” of non-governmental actors; little attention has been paid to the increasing role of non-central governments in Asia. This article, therefore, contributes to the discussion by documenting and evaluating Canadian provinces’ international activities in the Asia Pacific. It also situates these activities within Canada’s foreign policy in the region and assesses how important provinces have become in Canada’s Asia relations. This paper first reviews the literature on non-central governments and foreign policy to expose the key forces pushing and pulling Canadian provinces to be increasingly active internationally. It then details the provinces’ international activities in Asia, and locates them within Canada’s foreign policy in the region. Click here for the full-length article: “Canadian Provinces and Foreign Policy in Asia.” International Journal Vol.73, No.3 (2018): 429-448. Co-author with Charles Labrecque.

Connecting Indigenous People in Canada to Opportunities in Asia

Pacific Partnerships: Connecting Indigenous People in Canada to Opportunities in Asia

In the lead up to the Nation 2 Nation Forum, held in Vancouver on March 30, 2017, BC Assembly of First Nations Acting Regional Chief Maureen Chapman stated: “As the economic importance of the Asia Pacific grows, B.C. First Nations face significant opportunities for economic development partnerships.” Continue reading “Connecting Indigenous People in Canada to Opportunities in Asia”