This year marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Minoru Hokari (Mino, to all his friends; second from right in the photo: Photo courtesy of Yoshikazu Shiobara) ), a remarkable and inspiring young Japanese scholar whose work on Aboriginal history generated new insights into cross-cultural understanding, Australian indigenous society and human knowledge of history more generally. To remember and celebrate Mino’s life and work, this special seminar will consist of brief presentations by a few of those who knew Mino during his time at ANU, and by younger scholars who have been inspired by Mino’s work.
Minoru Hokari was born in Niigata, Japan, in 1971, and completed an undergraduate degree and Masters in economics at Hitotsubashi University, before coming to Australia in 1996 undertake a PhD in history at the University of New South Wales. He later transferred to ANU, where he was supervised and mentored by scholars including Professors Ann McGrath and Ann Curthoys and Deborah Bird Rose, and where he received his doctorate in 2001.
Mino’s research focused on the history of the Gurindji people, as told by the Gurindji people themselves. He spent extended periods of time in Gurindji country, where he was inspired above all by the teaching of the late elder Jimmy Mangayarri. Reflecting on the knowledge he had learnt from Jimmy Mangayarri and other Gurindji people made Mino pose a series of profoundly challenging questions about the way in which we ‘do history’. The outcome of his reflections was published in his Japanese-language book ‘Radical Oral History’, and the English-language ‘Gurindji Journey: A Japanese Historian in the Outback’ (University of New South Wales Press, 2011), as well as in conference presentations, articles and essays.
Mino was a Visiting Fellow in Pacific and Asia History from 2001 to 2002, and also spent much time with us during his period as Research Fellow funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science from 2002 on, when he was conjointly a Visiting Fellow at ANU’s Humanities Research Centre. Sadly, in mid-2003, Mino became ill while on his way to fieldwork, and was diagnosed with malignant lymphoma. He died in May of the following year at the age of 32.
But his work, humour and inspiration live on in many places, including the Mino Hokari Memorial Foundation Scholarship for research on Australian indigenous history at ANU, the International House Minory Hokari Scholarship at UNSW, events like the 2010 photographic exhibition ‘The Call of Living Earth’ and above all in the work of all those who have learnt from Mino’s life and ideas.
For further information, see: http://www.hokariminoru.org/