SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Emily Imamura



Emily Imamura
Emily Imamura
Email address:
Thesis title:
Power, Identity, and Audiences in Indigenous Tourism: Ainu Entanglements in Hokkaido and Beyond (working title)
Internal Supervisors


Emily Imamura is a PhD student in Social Anthropology and a region-specific assistant researcher for Ridgeway Information, a research consultancy, on a project examining nuclear happenings in Japan. Her research interests include Indigeneity, the anthropology of tourism, Japan, intranational power shifts between Indigenous groups and governments, and identity (re)formation, maintenance and performance.

PhD Research

My research takes place alongside the Ainu - the Indigenous People of northern Japan and nearby Russian islands - and centres around Indigenous tourism in Hokkaido, Japan. I am investigating how the bounded physical location of the new Upopoy National Ainu Museum encompasses many 'locations' within a single space, embedded within the larger social field of Indigenous-State relations and Indigenous tourism imaginaries, as well as how the museum links tourism-involved Ainu to a global web of Indigenous tourism sites and actors. More broadly, my work engages themes of Indigenous identity and touristic performance, the commodification and political mobilisation of identity, the generation of tourist destinations (physically as well as metaphysically), and the important influence of imagined/intended audience in shaping tourist destinations and performances.