Indigenous Yaeyama People
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This public article was written by StrawberryMilk, and last updated on 12 Nov 2020, 22:57.
14. Marie Kang
15. Mikyoan English
18. Mikyoan Spanish
21. Women in Mikyo
Indigenous Yaeyama People
henkey ngay yayeyama
Indigenous Yaeyama woman in Gyumeipa-shima,
Outermost Islands County
56,798, 0.98% of the total population
(Mixed and Non-Status Indigenous not included)
Regions with Significant Populations
Mikyo (Outermost Islands and Ishigagi City)
Mikyoan and Kampanamgapay
Christianity, Irreligious, Shamanism, and Buddhism
For decades after the first Japonic peoples arrived in Mikyo, the Indigenous Yaeyamas experienced military conflict with the settlers. Over time the Japonic peoples gained the upper hand which led to the ghettoization and discrimination of the Indigenous Yaeyamas throughout much of Mikyoan history. It was not until 1998, with the fall of the Yobosu Regime, that Indigenous Yaeyama people were even considered citizens.
Due to the long history of ghettoization, discrimination, open hostility from the rest of the population, and attempted forced assimilation of the Indigenous Yaeyamas, most of the languages formerly spoken by the people are extinct, with the exception of Kampanamgapay, which is spoken by small communities in the Outermost Islands and by small enclaves in large cities like Ishigagi and Gullu.
As a result of centuries of both legal and social discrimination, Indigenous Yaeyamas today face a variety of social issues within their community, such as high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, lower levels of high school and college graduation, higher rates of unemployment, and underfunded education and infrastructure in primarily Indigenous areas and communities. As opposed to other minority groups, such as Lyko and African Mikyoans, social progress and recognition have been comparatively slow, which has led to the Indigenous Yaeyamas often being referred to as "Mikyo's Forgotten Minority."
The most commonly accepted estimate for the Indigenous population's height is around 200,000, however, some scholars argue that the number is more accurately 350,000.
The earliest estimate for the number of Indigenous Yaeyamas in Mikyo was in 1950 during the 1st Mikyoan Census which estimated the number of Indigenous Yaeyamas at 50,632. Before then, however, it is widely known that the number of Indigenous Yaeyamas had been decreasing. It was not until 1970 that the number of Indigenous Yaeyama population had recorded an increase, at 50,526, up from 50,282 in the previous census in 1960. Today people who identify as purely Indigenous number at 55,233.
Mixing and intermarriage between Indigenous Yaeyamas and Mikyoans have been common since Japonic people first settled in the Yaeyamas, however, today, the number of people who are of partial Indigenous and Mikyoan descent is unknown due to most identifying purely as Asian Mikyoan. Currently, the number of people who are of mixed Indigenous and Mikyoan descent is estimated at around 40,000.
Indigenous Yaeyama People make up significant portions of the population in some counties, such as the Outermost Islands and Hatuma, however, in most counties, they make up only around 0-2% of the population. The county with the most Indigenous Yaeyamas as a percentage of the population is the Outermost Islands, where 23.45% (704 people) of the population identify solely as Indigenous Yaeyama. The county with the most Indigenous Yaeyama as a total number is Ishigagi, where 28,009 Indigenous Yaeyamas make up around 1.09% of the population.
• Yongnagumei - 0.47% (420)
• Allagusugu - 0.66% (221)
• Taketomei - 0.79% (331)
• Illyomotei - 0.79% (20,549)
• Ishigagi - 1.09% (28,009)
• Hatelluma - 1.23% (785)
• Gullu - 1.24% (2,296)
• Gohama - 2.67% (1,606)
• Hatuma - 18.26% (312)
• Outermost Islands - 23.45% (704)
• National - 0.98% (55,233)
|Yongnagumei||0.47% (420)||0.48% (441)||▲0.01% (▲4.76%)|
|Allagusugu||0.66% (221)||0.52% (187)||▼-0.14% (▼-15.39%)|
|Gullu||1.24% (2,296)||0.75% (1,453)||▼-0.49% (▼-36.72%)|
|Taketomei||0.79% (331)||0.83% (397)||▲0.04% (▲19.94%)|
|Illyomotei||0.79% (20,549)||0.84% (21,555)||▲0.05% (▲4.90%)|
|Ishigagi||1.09% (28,009)||1.08% (28,571)||▼-0.01% (▲2.01%)|
|Hatelluma||1.23% (785)||1.19% (804)||▼-0.04% (▲2.42%)|
|Gohama||2.67% (1,606)||2.50% (1,544)||▼-0.13% (▼-3.86)|
|Hatuma||18.26% (312)||19.91% (328)||▲1.65% (▲5.13%)|
|23.45% (704)||22.58% (815)||▼-0.87% (▲15.77%)|
Indigenous Yaeyama is considered a race by the Mikyoan Census Institute, which also counts several ethnic groups as subgroups of the broader Indigenous Yaeyama label. There are 5 major groups of Indigenous Yaeyamas and several smaller groups, the largest being Kampanamgapay.
Kampamgapay - 34,305 (62.11%)
Limpay - 10,033 (18.16%)
Ngayang - 4,206 (7.62%)
Timapatangkayang - 3,418 (6.19%)
Titihay - 2,259 (4.09%)
Other - 1,012 (1.83%)
LGBTQ+ Indigenous Yaeyama
Indigenous Yaeyama communities have a long history of LGBTQ+ identities. Before ghettoization in the early 1600s, many Indigenous Yaeyama lived in tribes often with a tribal healer and mystic, who typically expressed gender fluidly. Same sex relationships between tribe warriors and hunters were also prevalent. The tradition of queer identities continues among modern Indigenous Yaeyama.
A 2016 survey from the National Mikyoan Research Institute (NMRI) found that Indigenous Yaeyama adults were the most likely to identify as LGBTQ+ out of any racial group, as 12.5% of Indigenous Yaeyama identify as not fully heterosexual or not fully cisgender.
Views of gender and sexuality in Indigenous communities are typically more open and fluid than that of the wider Mikyoan society.
Assimilation and Acculturation
Archaeological, linguistic and anecdotal evidence suggests that the Indigenous Yaeyama People have undergone many cultural shifts in order to meet the standards and pressures of the Mikyoan rule. Beginning almost immediately with the arrival of the Japonic settlers the Indigenous Yaeyamas were faced with cultural change as the islands became demographically and culturally Japonic rather than Yaeyama. Some groups attempted to resist the Japonic influence, however, most attempted to integrate and assimilate into the wider Mikyoan society, especially during the 16th century when the islands were incorporated into the Ryukyuan Kingdom.
By 1879, the island was formally annexed by Imperial Japan, which led to even further assimilation and discrimination under the Imperial Japanese rule.
During the Yobosu era between the 1950s up until 1998, the Indigenous Yaeyama were not considered citizens or part of wider Mikyoan society unless they fully assimilated. Due to this reason, much of the remaining population which had remained unassimilated or not fully assimilated decided to embrace and integrate into the mainstream Mikyoan society.
Due to this only around 6.9% (3,818) Indigenous Yaeyama still speak Kampanamgapay and even less still participate in the traditional Indigenous Yaeyama religion.
Modern Forms of Assimilation and Acculturation
While the direct legal discriminations against the Indigenous Yaeyamas have been lifted since the fall of the Yobosu Regime in 1998, social perceptions and indirect legal discriminations remain which disadvantage the Indigenous Yaeyamas. For example, only one county in Mikyo recognizes Kampanamgapay as an official language (the Outermost Islands where a third of the population speaks the language). Many speakers of Kampanamgapay speak Mikyoan or other official languages (such as Chinese, Japanese, English, etc) to a low level due to underfunded linguistic education in primarily Kampanamgapay areas, which causes the speakers to be far less likely to be considered qualified when applying for jobs or to colleges and universities.
The assimilation of Indigenous Yaeyamas is also realized through the Mikyoan law stating that citizens must have at least one Mikyoan surname to have citizenship. While it is possible to have multiple surnames, one foreign and one Mikyoan, the stigma around the Indigenous Yaeyama community and the perception of the people as uneducated and lazy (as seen in both modern and historical representation in media) has led to the Indigenous Yaeyama surnames (such as Amgbay and Pangsi, which are extremely common) being associated with that stereotype. Because of this, Indigenous Yaeyamas with Indigenous names are 39% less likely to be considered 'qualified' and 31% less likely to get an interview when applying for jobs. This has caused many Indigenous Yaeyamas to remove their Indigenous surname from their birth certificates and other legal documents to avoid this discrimination and to better integrate into society.
Only one of the once several Indigenous Yaeyama languages is still spoken, which is Kampanamgapay. Kampanamgapay has only around 3,818 and is considered a dying language by many. Annually the number of speakers is decreasing by around 100-120 people, mostly through older speakers dying. Between 1980 and 2019 the language's number of speakers has decreased by 51.4%, from 7,853 to 3,719.
Young Indigenous Yaeyamas are typically less likely to use Kampanamgapay and most Indigenous Yaeyama families do not use the language with their children anymore, due to social stigma and negative perceptions surrounding it, causing the language to be seen as sounding uneducated and lazy. While multilingualism is seen as a desirable trait during the hiring process for most Mikyoan businesses, a 2018 study from the National Mikyoan Research Institute concluded that applicants who listed "Fluent in Kampanamgapay" on their resume were actually slightly less likely to be seen as qualified and even less likely to be called back for an interview.
Some Indigenous Yaeyamas, particularly younger ones who still speak Kampanamgapay, are attempting to revive the language through education programs, however, the process has been slow to take hold. Currently, only one county, the Outermost Islands, enshrines Kampanamgapay as one of its official languages (the county also has the most Kampanamgapay speakers at 1,441 people or 39.93% of the county's population), however even in the Outermost Islands most schools only offer Kampanamgapay as an elective in for students in higher years.
Indigenous Yaeyamas in the Modern Era
A 2015 survey of Non-Indigenous Yaeyama Mikyoans from the MSSRC showed that around a third of Non-Indigenous adults considered Indigenous Yaeyama Mikyoans to be a part of the Pacific Islander Racial Group. Most Non-Indigenous people have little contact with Indigenous Yaeyama people, due to many Yaeyama communities being isolated from most of Mikyoan society as a result of historical discriminations and a modern distrust of mainstream Mikyoan society and culture. More than half of Indigenous Yaeyamas in 2018 claimed that they didn't always feel safe or accepted, even in large cities, when outside an Indigenous area. As a result of this, most Non-Indigenous Mikyoans claim not to regularly speak to any Indigenous Yaeyamas and even less claim to one or more friends who are of Indigenous descent, meanwhile less than half of Indigenous Yaeyamas claim that their concerns as a community are properly heard or understood by wider Mikyoan society.
Federal institutions and contractors/subcontractors are required by law to adopt Equity Enforcement in their application processes. This allows employers and admissions boards to consider identity (such as race, religion, gender, sexuality, nationality, sex, etc.) as one part of the application process, and for this purpose, Indigenous Yaeyama People can benefit from Equity Enforcement in theory. In practice, however the system requires self-identification for its basis, which allows Asian Mikyoans with some indigenous ancestry to mark their race as 'Indigenous Yaeyama Mikyoan' (contrary to the common belief among most Indigenous Yaeyamas that to be indigenous is more to do with a connection to the culture and community) and still receive benefits from Equity Enforcement.
A well-known practice among some Ethnic Mikyoans is to mark themselves (fraudulently or innocently) as Multiracial or Indigenous Yaeyama to benefit from Equity Enforcement without having significant or any actual ties to the community and culture. Similarly, a practice among many young Indigenous Yaeyamas is to mark themselves as simply Asian Mikyoan or Pacific Islander in hopes of being seen as 'qualified' by employers and admissions offices due to the existing stereotype around Indigenous Yaeyamas as being uneducated, lazy, and unprofessional. This ironically leads to many Indigenous Yaeyama not benefiting from Equity Enforcement while Ethnic Mikyoans do. This also works to further the assimilation of Indigenous Yaeyama.
Terminology and Recognition of Smaller Groups
Historically most Indigenous Yaeyama were referred to as merely "Kampanamgapay-pitu" (meaning "Kampanamgapay person"), the name of the largest surviving language group. However, during the mid-1960s and early 1970's the term "Indigenous Yaeyama" entered activist circles and speech with the intention of better representing the smaller groups of Indigenous Yaeyama, such as Limpay, Ngayang, and Timapatangkayang, among others. While the languages of these groups haven't survived, their people and culture have and collectively non-Kampanamgapay people make up a third of Indigenous Yaeyama Mikyoans. Indigenous Yaeyama didn't become used by most people until the early 2000s after 'Indigenous Yaeyama Mikyoan' was added as a racial group on the 2000 Mikyoan Census.
Because Kampanamgapay are the most visible and well-known group of Indigenous Yaeyama, most Mikyoans use the group as a default when referring to some Indigenous Yaeyama, which has lead to many Non-Kampanamgapay Indigenous Yaeyama expressing frustration at being assumed to be a group they are not. Most Indigenous Yaeyama activists prescribe asking if someone is Indigenous Yaeyama (and if so, what group they are part of) rather than defaulting to Kampanamgapay.
Indigenous Yaeyama Mikyoans are statistically three times more likely to be in poverty than the general population. The national poverty rate in Mikyo is 13.2%, whereas 25.8% of all Indigenous Yaeyamas live below the poverty line.
Part of the continuing issue of poverty in the Indigenous community is the historic ghettoization and discrimination. During the Yobosu era, the Outermost Islands was the only county which was not built with racial discrimination into the foundations. For example, in Ishigagi, Indigenous Yaeyamas were forbidden by county law from purchasing, building, and renting homes outside the 3rd and 4th Districts, and businesses were encouraged not to sell their goods within the districts, thus requiring Indigenous Yaeyamas to create their own businesses. Finding work outside strictly Indigenous Communities was particularly challenging, as open and (often encouraged) discrimination was prevalent in the rest of the country. Schools in Indigenous communities were (and still are) extremely underfunded, and due to the need to help provide for the family, most teenage and young adult Indigenous Yaeyama men and boys did not complete high school or go on to college, thus causing them to be considered less qualified for higher paying careers, keeping Indigenous Families in a cycle of poverty which continues today.
Today the laws that once kept Indigenous Yaeyamas stuck in small parts of the country are gone, however, most Indigenous communities are still plagued with poverty. Most Indigenous families and people are still unable to move to safer and cleaner communities due to the continuing cycle of poverty that many are trapped in.
Indigenous Yaeyamas have the highest rate of homelessness among any racial group in Mikyo. As of 2017, 5.32% of Indigenous Yaeyama Mikyoans (2,939 people) were homeless. The majority of homeless Indigenous Yaeyama live in Ishigagi's Chuarang and Yonghu'i Districts.
Crime is a common issue in many Indigenous Communities, particularly inner-city communities like those in Gullu and Ishigagi. While the crime rate in primarily Indigenous Districts has been decreasing steadily for over three decades, the rate of both violent and property crime is on average 2-3 times the national average.
Crime is ultimately correlated with poverty, which is why it's especially important to note that the high crime rate among Indigenous Yaeyamas is viewed as a result of centuries of ghettoization and discrimination by the Mikyoan Crime Statistics Bureau, the Indigenous People's Association of Mikyo, and most other crime and statistical analysts. The idea that Indigenous Yaeyamas are naturally more prone to crime, spread by various far-right advocates, is not supported by any credible data.
Indigenous Yaeyamas are statistically more likely to commit a crime, however, they are also more likely to be the victim of a crime as well. Indigenous people are the group most likely to be targeted in hate crimes, as they make up an easily identifiable group due to many different cultural symbols, such as flower garlands and dangling hoop earrings, being commonly associated with Indigenous Yaeyamas.
Sex crimes have been a prevailing issue for Indigenous people of all genders since the early stages ghettoization of the Indigenous Yaeyamas. Most sex crimes in Mikyo go unreported to the police, however, some hotlines and shelters do collect data for more accurate figures on sex crimes in Mikyo. From the data collected, Indigenous Yaeyama people are over-represented as victims of sex crimes, as they make up 1/10th of all victims. The chances of being sexually assaulted as an Indigenous woman are 1 in 3, 1 in 10 for Indigenous Men, and 1 in 5 for Non-Binary and Transgender Indigenous People.
Mental illness is an increasingly pressing issue in Indigenous Yaeyama communities and has been considered a serious issue in the community by mental health specialists for decades. While mental illness, especially Depression and Anxiety, are increasingly common in Mikyo, Indigenous Yaeyamas face statistically higher rates of mental illness than the general population. In 2016 24% of Indigenous people in Mikyo were diagnosed with a mental illness, most commonly depression.
Some factors which have affected the rate of mental illness in the Indigenous community are poverty and homelessness which branch into other factors. Due to poverty and crime being correlated, Indigenous children who live in low income and impoverished communities are far more likely to be exposed to violence at a younger age and more often than other children, leading to higher rates of Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD. Among violence as a factor, the fact that Indigenous people are more likely to be the victims of violent crime also leads to higher rates of mental illness among Indigenous Yaeyamas.
Racism and prejudice also have effects on the mental health of Indigenous Yaeyamas. The perception and portrayal of Indigenous Yaeyamas in culture and media as lazy, uneducated, and ugly has real effects on the treatment of Indigenous people by society, which has an adverse effect on the mental health of Indigenous people, for example through housing and hiring discrimination due to the stereotypes and negative perception surrounding Indigenous people.
Indigenous Yaeyama communities tend to be more open to getting treatment for mental illness than other communities in Mikyo, due to family and looking out for loved ones being very important in Indigenous Yaeyama culture. However, treatment often comes from community leaders (such as community healers, medics, or elders) rather than licensed professionals. Often Indigenous people will seek a diagnosis from a licensed professional but get treatment from community leaders. Because community leaders often lack proper training and licensing for mental health treatment, many Indigenous people may find their mental health does not improve, or potentially even deteriorate, through community treatment. Because of this, there has been a push within some Indigenous communities, especially those in Ishigagi, for community leaders to get proper training in psychiatric treatment to better help their patients within the past few years.
Housing and Hiring Discrimination
Mikyo has a history of housing and hiring discrimination against many different ethnic, racial, LGBTQ+, religious, and linguistic groups, and often this intersects in the treatment of Indigenous Yaeyamas.
While Mikyoan National Law outlaws any discrimination based on race, color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, national origin, and language, a 2012 study from the Urban Justice Institute (UJI) revealed that among racial minorities, Indigenous Yaeyamas were the most likely to face discrimination when looking for housing. The study showed that Indigenous Yaeyamas were 12% more likely to be told of fewer units and 9% more likely to be showed fewer units when looking to rent properties and were 21% more likely to be told of fewer units and 23% more likely to be showed fewer units when looking to buy properties.
Indigenous Yaeyamas are also nearly three times more likely to fall victim to predatory and risky mortgage loans.
With online hospitality and homestay services like Airbnb (which is not regulated in Mikyo), some have claimed that discrimination by hosts as to who they allow staying at their properties is more likely to go unchallenged. Practices like racial discrimination, particularly against Indigenous Yaeyamas, which were banned from other hospitality services, cannot be properly challenged without proper regulation.
As earlier mentioned, common Indigenous Yaeyama surnames, like Amgbay and Pangsi (which are both used by around a quarter of Indigenous Yaeyamas), are typically associated with stereotypes of Indigenous Yaeyamas as lazy and uneducated and result in people with Indigenous surnames being 39% less likely to be considered 'qualified' for a job hiring and 31% less likely to get an interview when applying for jobs.
Underfunded schools are one of the most important issues facing the Indigenous Yaeyama community in the Post-Yobosu Era. While schools in areas populated predominantly by Mikyoans who are not of Asian/Turkic/Pacific-Islander descent are far more likely to be underfunded, Indigenous schools especially face extremely low budgets despite a narrowing margin for other races. While most racial groups in Mikyo are moving towards better education which is more on par with that of Asian/Turkic/Pacific-Islander Mikyoan schools, Indigenous schools have remained stagnant, even in areas such as Ishigagi and Gullu, which have taken more steps towards desegregating schools.
A significant factor in what is keeping Indigenous people and communities in poverty is the lack of proper education for Indigenous children and teenagers, as underfunded schools are not able to properly and sufficiently serve the needs of every student. As a result, many Indigenous children, especially handicapped and disabled children, receive improper education leading to lower rates of literacy and academic achievement, which both feeds into the stereotype of Indigenous Yaeyamas being uneducated and unintelligent, and as well causes Indigenous people to be considered less qualified (whether true or not) when applying to universities. As Indigenous Yaeyamas continue to receive improper education, poverty remains a cycle which most families cannot escape.
Most Indigenous schools are underfunded, overcrowded, and lack sufficient space and materials to properly serve the needs of every student. A typical public school in a predominantly Asian-Mikyoan area tends to have 25-35 students per classroom (private schools tend to have even fewer students per classroom), however Indigenous schools often have more than 40 students in each classroom, which when compounded with most Indigenous schools lacking enough space for each student, leads to classrooms being crowded as well as being not optimal spaces for learning.
High Schools and College Completion
Indigenous Yaeyamas are statistically less likely to complete high school and to go on to attend university. While the rate at which Indigenous Yaeyamas drop out of high school is steadily decreasing (being reduced from 31.5% in 1980 to 14.9% in 2018), it is still well above all other Racial Groups in Mikyo (the second highest being among Lyko-Mikyoans at 10.3%).
Due to Indigenous Yaeyamas tending to have an incomplete or lower quality of education, the job opportunities for Indigenous Yaeyamas are very limited, particularly in high-paying fields which require higher levels of education. Because Indigenous Yaeyamas do not often receive a complete and high-level education, most are unable to enter fields which are able to pay a higher wage, which has become increasingly important as Mikyo trends towards higher housing and food prices as the nation becomes more densely populated.
Barriers to Entering Politics
The Barriers to Entering Politics are especially difficult to overcome for Indigenous Yaeyamas due to politics being an incredibly bureaucratic process in Mikyo. People seeking to be a candidate for local and national elections are required to pay a fee alongside getting a large number of signatures, which gatekeeps people of lower financial success from politics, particularly Indigenous Yaeyamas. Outside financial barriers, however, social stigma around Indigenous Yaeyamas and their perception as being uneducated and lazy are difficult to overcome. In elections where Indigenous Yaeyamas run as candidates, they are more likely to be questioned and perceived based on their race than Asian Mikyoans, due to a history of racism and unequal treatment between the two groups in Mikyo. In 2010, a survey from the University of Ishigagi at Chuahuei showed that despite gains in the treatment of Indigenous Yaeyamas by society, when the participants were asked if they would vote for an Indigenous Yaeyama candidate in a local election, 1 in 10 people surveyed answered 'No' in the affirmative, and another 3 in 10 people surveyed answered yes to the statement that "they would be less likely to vote for an Indigenous Yaeyama candidate in comparison to a candidate of another race."
Voter Turnout is notoriously low among Indigenous Yaeyamas. In the 2018 Presidential Election, the voter turnout among Indigenous Yaeyamas was only 41.24% (in comparison to the national 71.52%). The highest voter turnout in Mikyoan history among Indigenous Yaeyamas was 50.09% in 1998, however, since then the number of Indigenous Yaeyamas who register and end up voting has declined considerably.
A common reason given by Indigenous Yaeyamas as to why they do not vote is that they feel it is not worth it to vote for elections that won't change or improve their situation. Many Indigenous Yaeyama activists, such as Marie Kang, claim that Indigenous Yaeyamas voting requires them to accept the Mikyoan Government, which has mistreated them for hundreds of years.
in 2018, among Indigenous Yaeyamas, were most likely to align with left-wing parties in their beliefs, 18% aligned with the Liberal Party, 51% with the Progressive Party, 9% with the Socialist Party, and 6% with the Communist Party compared to 10% with the Conservative Party and 3% with the Nationalist Party. In the 2018 Presidential Election, 94% of Indigenous Yaeyama voters cast their vote for the Progressive Party Candidate Ivan Nguo.
The Nationalist party is particularly unappealing to Indigenous Yaeyama voters due to its repeated offenses against Indigenous Yaeyamas, for example, 2018 the Nationalist Presidential Candidate Gim Taiyit repeatedly called Indigenous Yaeyamas 'lazy' and 'uneducated' and referred to the 1982 Chuarang Massacre as 'a minor incident'.
Society and Culture
Indigenous Yaeyama society and culture have had to undergo various shifts and changes in order to adapt to life under the Mikyoan-Rule. The Pre-Japonic Era of Indigenous Cultures is not well documented and, until the late 19th century, most Indigenous stories and history were passed down orally, causing a lack of resources with which to research and understand earlier Indigenous society and culture.
Modern Indigenous Yaeyama society and culture are still distinguished from the wider Mikyoan society and culture, however, due to a history of forced assimilation and unequal treatment, the society and culture of Indigenous Yaeyamas have had to change considerably from its Pre-Japonic Era incarnations.
Gender roles in Pre-Japonic Indigenous Yaeyama society tended to vary depending on the group, however in general Indigenous Yaeyama society tended to be more egalitarian than the wider Mikyoan society, a trend which continues today.
In Pre-Japonic Kampanamgapay society (the largest Indigenous Yaeyama group) women were granted rights which their Mikyoan counterparts were not granted until the 20th and 21st century, such as the right to divorce their husbands, the right to participate in tribal politics, the ability to trade with other men and women both within and outside of their tribe, and the right to be religious leaders within their tribes. Indigenous Women did not regain these rights until the fall of the Yobosu Regime in 1998, with the drafting of a new constitution.
Because same sex relationships were relatively common, Pre-Japonic Indigenous Yaeyama society typically divided the labor of a family into two main parts based on which partner was perceived as more active and dominant and which parntner was perceived as more passive and submissive. The dominant partner, who could be any gender, was often expected to fish and hunt for food for the family and tribe whereas the submissive partner (who as well could be any gender) was expected to gather food (such as taro and coconuts) inland and make clothing for the family. Some Indigenous Yaeyama tribes practiced polygamy and polyandry, and the division of domestic labor was divided differently in relationships with more than two partners. Men often fought in wars, however, some women and non-binary people served and many more also provided medical treatment for warriors.
Today gender roles have shifted toward expectations held by the wider Mikyoan society and culture. While Indigenous women still hold a higher status in their communities, Mikyoan influence has caused the gender expectations to be more rigid in reference to providing for the family, wherein men are expected to work a full-time job and women are expected to stay home and care for the kids and house.
Clothing is one of the areas which have remained more gender neutral while other areas of Indigenous Yaeyama culture have been more rigidly gendered. Earrings, tattoos, and long hair are common of any gender among Indigenous Yaeyamas, whereas in the wider Mikyoan society they are more rigidly gendered.
Recognition of Non-Binary Genders and Identities
Indigenous Yaeyama society has historically recognized non-binary genders and identities. Kampanamgapay society had a five-gender system, wherein which the five genders were:
- lalaki - male
- babay - female
- kayanglalakim - intersex people who take on the roles of males
- kayangbabaym - intersex people who take on the roles of females
- kayangam - people who pass between the other four genders or don't take on the roles of any of them
These genders are not recognized by the Mikyoan government, however, Indigenous Yaeyamas do recognize them as valid roles in their communities.
Most of the traditional Indigenous Yaeyama religions have been wiped out due to a history of discrimination and forced assimilation in Mikyo, however, some of the spiritual practices of Indigenous Yaeyamas have managed to continue into the modern era. The Indigenous Yaeyama religions, however, are in decline, as less than 4,000 Indigenous Yaeyamas still practice them, most being above the age of 50.
Christian - 26,506 (47.99%)
Irreligious - 15,992 (28.95%)
Buddhist - 5,698 (10.32%)
Traditional Yaeyama Religion - 3,925 (7.11%)
Other - 3,112 (5.63%)
Christianity is the fastest growing and largest religion among Indigenous Yaeyamas, as around 48% of all Indigenous Yaeyamas follow Christianity, compared to 29% in 2000, and 14% in 1990. A significant number of Indigenous Yaeyamas are also members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as around 10,116 (18.32%) Indigenous Yaeyamas are members of the Church. The increased influence of Christianity in the Indigenous Yaeyama community is often associated with an increase in US-American missionary presence in Mikyo, as many missionaries often target Indigenous Yaeyama communities. In turn, many Indigenous Yaeyamas are missionaries as well.
Buddhism and Islam have also historically been practiced by many Indigenous Yaeyamas, however, in the modern era, they are being phased out in favor of Christianity and Atheism. Buddhism in the Indigenous community traces its roots to the original settlement of the Yaeyama Islands, as Buddhism was one of the religions practiced by the Japonic Settlers, however, today it is increasingly less common as most Buddhist Indigenous Yaeyamas tend to convert to Christianity or later become Irreligious. Likewise, many Muslim Indigenous Yaeyamas convert to Christianity or become Irreligious as well, however, it is slightly more rare.
The last living Indigenous Yaeyama Language is Kampanamgapay, which has 3,719 speakers as of 2019. Kampanamgapay is a Malayo-Polynesian language, a branch of the Austronesian language family. Kampanamgapay is spoken primarily in the Outermost Islands, where 1,441 people (39.93% of the county's population) speak the language at home, however, some smaller communities exist in other counties, particularly Hatuma and Ishigagi. Kampanamgapay is declining in use, losing around 100-120 speakers per year. The last speakers of the other two recorded Indigenous Yaeyama languages, Limpay and Ngayang, died in 1952 and 1904 respectively.
Among Indigenous Yaeyamas who speak a language besides Kampanamgapay at home, Mikyoan is the most common due to assimilation. Other languages include Japanese, Korean, Higashikan, and Chinese in smaller numbers. Japanese is often used as a home language by some Indigenous Yaeyamas as the language is a holdover for many, especially in the Outermost Islands and in Ishigagi, from the Japanese Imperial Era. Indigenous Yaeyamas in primarily Chinese and Korean areas tend to speak Chinese and Korean respectively.
The most common home languages for Indigenous Yaeyamas as of Janurary 21st, 2019 are:
Mikyoan - 31,442 (56.05%)
Japanese - 11,863 (21.15%)
Kampanamgapay - 3,719 (6.63%)
Korean - 3,212 (5.73%)
Chinese - 2,745 (4.89%)
Other - 3,114 (5.55%)
Language Education and Revival
Many younger Kampanamgapay speakers are attempting to revive the language through language and cultural education programs, however, the movement has been slow to take effect. Only one county, the Outermost Islands, in Mikyo recognizes Kampanamgapay as an official language, where Kampanamgapay is the language spoken by the plurality of residents, however within the Outermost Islands education for the Kampanamgapay language is limited, as schools tend to only offer Kampanamgapay as an elective for students in their later years of high school. Outside of the Outermost Islands, there are some language education programs, particularly more aimed at children and students, in Illyomotei, Ishigagi, and Yongnagumei. There are currently talks to include a Kampanamgapay program at the Shing'gaku County University.
See main article: Indigenism in Mikyo
Indigenism in Mikyo1, known in Mikyoan as 先住主義 (싱주초께이, shingjuchongei), refers to a multitude of movement and philosophies surrounding the cultural, social, economic, and political equality, liberty, and justice of Indigenous Yaeyamas. The term "Indigenism" in Mikyo is generally used to refer to a cluster of different social and political movements which seek equality and liberty for Indigenous Yaeyamas but through different means. Indigenism is closely tied to the Feminist and Socialist movements in Mikyo as well, and today the three are often referred to within social justice and activist circles as "the three spears" colloquially.
As a political movement, Indigenism in Mikyo dates to the 19th century with the publication of The Indigenous Struggle: Freedom and Liberation for Those Who Were Here First, by Kiankong Amgbay, which outlined his philosophy on the state of Indigenous Yaeyamas in society during the 19th century and as well state the goals which he viewed as necessary to achieving true equality and liberation for the Indigenous Yaeyamas. Historically, Indigenist movements have been more focused on securing legal rights for the Indigenous Yaeyama people, however, today Indigenists tend to seek not only equality but social justice as well. There are a variety of ways which different Indigenists propose for achieving this goal, including more mild suggestions—such as increasing funding for Indigenous communities and increasing the representation of Indigenous Yaeyamas in politics and media— to more radical or systemic action such as reparations or Indigenous Separatism.
Indigenism as a political philosophy in Mikyo includes a variety of different branches, including (but not limited to) Indigenist Feminism, Eco-Indigenism, Marxist Indigenism, Anarcho-Indigenism, Lyongism, Indigenismo, and Queer Indigenism. Each of these branches of Indigenism seek to promote and secure equality and justice for Indigenous Yaeyamas through various means, such as wealth redistribution, opposing sexism and queerphobia (which are often viewed as effects of settler colonialism in Indigenist Theory,) establishing a separate Indigenous State, undoing the destruction of the environment, seizure of formerly Indigenous land, and other methods. Indigenism, though commonly used as one label, includes a variety of different sub-movements which frequently disagree with each other.
Mikyoan Indigenist Theory, often shortened to Indigenist Theory and referred to in Mikyoan as 先住主義理論 (싱주초께이리롱, shingjuchongei rirong), is an extension of Indigenism into theoretical, fictional, and philosophical discourse. It examines the social roles of Indigenous Mikyoans and Non-Indigenous Mikyoans, as well as their interests, experiences, and the presence of Indigenist politics in a variety of fields, such as anthropology, sociology, communications, media studies, literature, economics, philosophy, psychology, Indigenous Yaeyama studies, linguistics, and political science.
Indigenist Theory focuses on analyzing inequality between Indigenous and settler Mikyoan Culture. Some themes commonly explored in Indigenist Theory include colonialism, imperialism, objectification, dehumanization, stereotyping, cultural appropriation, oppression, and discrimination.
Indigenist Theory was first developed in the late 1990s and early 2000s alongside Indigenous Literature (a movement which sought to create literature by and for Indigenous Yaeyamas, whereas mainstream Mikyoan Literature was often seen as alienating or lacking an Indigenous perspective.) Ehua Gim (金曀花, 김에화, gim ehua), considered to be a founder of Mikyoan Indigenist Theory, has pointed to other Indigenist thinkers and activists as well as foundational thinkers of Indigenist Theory, including a variety of both historic and contemporary poets, artists, activists, orators, authors, and philosophers.
Indigenist Theory in Mikyo expands Indigenism into a variety of fields in Mikyoan academia and is becoming an increasingly common framework alongside other theoretical frameworks such as Queer Theory and Feminist Theory.
Multiracial Indigenous Yaeyamas
An increasing number of Mikyoans with Indigenous Yaeyama ancestry are multiracial. Of the 125,000 people who identified as Indigenous Yaeyamas in 2019, 69,000 were Multiracial, making up the majority (55.2%) of Indigenous Yaeyamas compared to 28% in 1980, and 42% in 2000. The rapidly increasing number of multiracial Indigenous Yaeyamas is most commonly linked to the assimilation of the Indigenous Yaeyama People, as more tend to move into Asian Mikyoan and Pacific Islander communities, particularly Indigenous Yaeyamas who benefit from colorism or closely fit the beauty and appearance standards of the wider Mikyoan society.
Most Multiracial Indigenous Yaeyamas are of partial Asian Mikyoan descent, numbering at over 40,000, however, a significant number are also of partial Pacific Islander descent (10,000) and of partial European Mikyoan descent (5,000). In particular, among Indigenous Yaeyamas with partial Pacific Islander descent, a significant number identify with Penghu ancestry due to a long history of contact and between Indigenous Yaeyamas and Penghu Mikyoans.
Pacific-Islander and Indigenous Yaeyama Relations
See main article: Pacific Islander Mikyoans
Due to linguistic and cultural similarities, as well as close geographic proximity, Indigenous Yaeyamas and Pacific Islanders have interacted for centuries2, even before the arrival of Japonic settlers. A significant number of Kampanamgapay vocabulary has been loaned from other Austronesian languages, such as Tagalog, Penghu, Malay, and Palauan, among others. For most of Mikyoan history, Indigenous Yaeyamas and Pacific Islanders lived alongside each other or in communities near each other, which lead to a significant cultural exchange between the groups during the Pre-WW2 Era of Mikyo. During the Yobosu Era, however, treatment of Pacific Islanders in Mikyo shifted from Neutrality to Affirmation. As Pacific Islander Mikyoans became a 'Model Minority', the neighborhoods and districts which Pacific Islander Mikyoans could live in were distanced from Indigenous Yaeyama communities, ending a history of mutual cultural and linguistic exchange.
In the Outermost Islands, however, the housing districts remained desegregated due to a lack of sufficient land to completely segregate each racial group. This has caused the Pacific Islander Mikyoan and Indigenous Yaeyama residents of the county to continue living alongside each other, as well as alongside Asian Mikyoans, which has caused a significant portion of the county's population to be of mixed Indigenous, Pacific Islander, and/or Asian descent, making up more than a fifth (22.58%, 815 people) of the county's population in 2019.
1 - Mikyoan Indigenism
2 - Pacific Islander Mikyoans