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Ainu of Japan
The indigenous people of Japan and Russia are called Ainu. Ainu is also referred as Aino, Aynu and Ezo in ancient text. The history showed that they spoke Ainu language and other varieties of languages. They lived mostly in Hokkaido, the Kuril Islands, and Sakhalin. The people who still called them Ainu live in those regions. The exact number of the population of Ainu is still unknown. There are confusing and conflicting issues with Ainu due to mixed heritages, which result in hiding their identities. There is much intermarriage in Japan, which causes the loss of identities of real Ainu. The official estimates of the population of Ainu are 25000 while unofficial number is not known.
After many years of discriminatory policies, government of Japan analyzed people of Ainu as indigenous people of Japan. Japanese public were not known about the traditions of Ainu and their culture. Ainu was the symbols of ignorant by the government of Japan for many years. The policies and behavior of government made Ainu as invisible status. The major issue in the twenty first century is the protection of rights of indigenous people over the entire world. United Nations also draw attention for the protection, education, clothing, advancement and other sources for the indigenous people. The word Ainu is compared with Kamuy for gods meaning people and human. In the thirteenth century, Ainu settled their traditions and culture in the Northern part of Hokkaido, Northern part of Honshu (the main island of Japan), and the Kuril Islands which are the Chishima for Japanese. The settlements of Ainu were called ainu mosir, which meant, the great peaceful land, and located near the ocean. Their method of earning was fishing and hunting. Their languages were totally different from Japanese which distinguish them from Japanese. The history and origin of Ainu is still unknown because there are no writings found which tell about their exact origin and history. The Ainu showed their documented appearance in the twelfth century in the dynasty of China (Yuan). The record found of people living in Sakhalin. The indigenous people of Northern Sakhalin called The Nivkh, fighting against Ainu and called them Kugi. The Ainu was the first rule developed by Yuan Dynasty from 1308 to the sixteenth century. The trade within the various groups of Pan-Japan Sea remained active. This period also include indirect trading through the Yuan dynasty with Ryuku, Kamakura and Moromachi governments of Japan. In the fourteenth century, the documentation of Ainu was found in Japanese documents. Ainu was considered as the sign of devils and discriminations against unfamiliar people (Suwa Daimyojin Ekotoba, 1356). In the same period, the dominant ethnic group of Japan called the Wajin started living in Matsumae and Hakodate. There was the relation of trade with the Wajin and the Ainu which became abusive at the early of the fifteenth century. There was Koshamain rovolt by Ainu with the Wajin because of their unfair business with Ainu. Ainu society had changed over years because of trades with a different group in Japan and Russia. It had divided into diverse groups and leaded by number of leaders. Ainu did not show unity as a nation that was why Japan considered Ainu as a unknown group. There were always unfair trade practices which lead to number of revolts at that time. The government made strict policies to control the people of Ainu. Government of Japan also put effort to Japanize the people of Ainu. There were negative impacts on Ainu due to the political controversies with Japan and Russia. Indigenous people wanted to see technologies to serve for them. There is a website: http://www.ainu-museum.or.jp/english/english.html for the indigenous people of Japan which show their history and tradition in a straightforward way. This website shares essay about Ainu...
Cited: Ainu Association of Hokkaido (2006). Watashitachi nit suite（私たちについて） [About us]. Retrieved from http://www.ainu-assn.or.jp/about03.html
Bugaeva, Anna. (2004). Grammar and Folklore Texts of the Chitose Dialect of Ainu (Idiolect of Ito Oda)(Endangered Languages of the Pacific Rim Project Publications Series A2-045).
Batchelor, John. (1888-1893). Specimens of Ainu Folk-Lore (I-VII,VIII-IX,X-XII). Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, XVI, XVIII, XX. (reprinted in 1964, Yushodo, Tokyo)
Batchelor, John. (1924). Ainu Fireside Stories, Kyobunkan, Tokyo. (reprinted in 1980, Hokkaido Shuppan Kikaku Center, Sapporo. telephone:+81-11-737-1755)
Bugaeva, Anna. (2002). "Hekaci" (The Story of a Boy) by Oda Ito, in Tomomi Sato (ed.) Preliminary Reports on Ainu Dialects (1) (Endangered Languages of the Pacific Rim Project Publications Series A2-014).
Aniu: A Spirit of Northern People: http://www.mnh.si.edu/artic/features/ainu
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