International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship
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International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana and Robert B. Anderson

The comprehensive and thoroughly accessible International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship aims to develop a multidisciplinary theory explaining entrepreneurship as a function of cultural perceptions of opportunity. The Handbook presents a multitude of fascinating, superbly illustrated studies on the facets of entrepreneurship amongst indigenous peoples.
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Chapter 14: The Ainu of Japan and the Land Given by the River

Sandra Pennewiss


Sandra Pennewiss Introduction Much is known about entrepreneurship (Dana, 1999) and small business (Dana, 1998) in Japan. The indigenous Ainu of Japan, however, are a people less understood. As noted by Espiritu, ‘Traditionally, the Ainu hunted, fished, gathered, and engaged in subsistence farming. They also vigorously traded and forged alliances . . . The Ainu were important intermediaries among Japanese, Dutch, Chinese, Russian, Manchurian, and Korean markets’ (2005, p. 18). Time changes as humans try to fight their way towards a better world. Past centuries were filled with the pursuit of conformity and mostly forced integration. Individuals were measured on standardized rules of conduct implemented by those of power or majority. Any nation or individual who acted, behaved or could be singled out because of their physical traits were persecuted, suppressed and nearly extinguished. I dare say that Woodstock and ‘flower power’ had a considerable impact on changing the world’s view and rules from conformity to individuality. With it awoke an interest in minorities and indigenous societies who held their difference, language and heritage despite persecution and deprival of rights. Despite decades of hard struggle on the part of human rights activists, there is still plenty of discrimination and wrongdoing even in highly developed countries. Fortunately the law and the majority are now aware and in favour of those who are smaller, weaker and often unable to protect themselves. Many have understood that, sometimes, the smaller a minority group the stronger is the need to protect their rights, heritage and skills, as...

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