This chapter opens Part 1 on ‘long-existing minorities’ by locating these groups in Japan’s modern history and in contemporary society, where they coexist with ‘new minorities’. By ‘long-existing minorities’, we mean minorities whose origin predates the end of the Second World War. The aim is to provide an overview as an aid to a better understanding of the specific groups discussed in the following chapters. We begin with the background social circumstances and describe the individual groups – indigenous Ainu, Okinawans, people of buraku descent, ethnic Chinese and ethnic Koreans. As Chapters 3-5, in Part 1, cover Okinawans, burakumin and Koreans in detail, in this chapter I provide a more expanded illustration of Ainu and ethnic Chinese.