Indigenous people between empires: Sakhalin through the eyes of Charles Henry Hawes

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    In 1901, British traveller Charles Henry Hawes (1867-1943) made a journey down the Tym' River on the island of Sakhalin, visiting villages occupied by indigenous Nivkh and Uilta people along the river and at its mouth on the Sea of Okhotsk. The island was at that time under Russian control, and had become notorious as a penal settlement, but Japanese influence was also strong: four years after Hawes' visit, following Russia's defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, the southern half of the island would become the Japanese colony of Karafuto. Hawes had some ethnographic knowledge, but arrived in the island as an interested amateur, more concerned to record his encounters along the route than to develop any particular ethnographic theory. For that reason, he recorded what he saw with an unselective immediacy which sheds light on the fluid and dynamic interactions between indigenous communities, Russian colonisers, Japanese mercantile and fishing interests and other groups. While Hawes' published book, In the Uttermost East, has been used as a source by some scholars of the region, the notebooks that he kept on his travels have lain for years in the Bodleian Library, largely unnoticed by researchers. This article uses these notebooks, Hawes' published work, and photos that he took or collected on his travels, to shed light on aspects of indigenous society in Sakhalin at a crucial moment in its history.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-26
    JournalThe Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
    Issue number16
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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