(CLICK ABOVE PHOTO FOR ENLARGEMENT)
by Jude Isabella – – October 25, 2017 – – SAPIENS, Anthropology/Everything Human:
In the 20th century, Japanese anthropologists and officials tried to hide the existence of the indigenous Ainu people.
Then the Ainu fought back like their cousins, the bears.
For much of the 20th century, Japanese government officials and academics tried to hide the Ainu.
They were an inconvenient culture at a time when the government was steadfastly creating a national myth of homogeneity.
So officials tucked the Ainu into files marked “human migration mysteries”, or “aberrant hunter-gatherers of the modern age”, or “lost Caucasian race”, or “enigma”, or “dying race” or even “extinct”.
But in 2006, under international pressure, the government finally recognized the Ainu people as an indigenous population.
(“Itek eoirapnene” (You must not forget this story) – – Tekatte, Ainu grandmother, to her grandson Shigeru Kayano)
For centuries, the Ainu lived in kotan, or “permanent villages,” comprised of several homes perched along a river where salmon spawned. Each kotan had a head man. Inside the reed walls of each house, a nuclear family cooked and gathered around a central hearth. At one end of the house was a window, a sacred opening facing upstream, toward the mountains, homeland of bears and the source of the salmon-rich river. The bear’s spirit could enter or exit through the window. Outside the window was an altar, also facing upstream, where people held bear ceremonies.
Each kotan drew upon concentric zones of sustenance by manipulating the landscape: the river for fresh water and fishing, the banks for plant cultivation and gathering, river terraces for housing and plants, hillsides for hunting, the mountains for hunting and collecting elm bark for baskets and clothes. Coaxing food from the earth is tough at the best of times, why not make it as easy as possible?
In time, the Ainu homeland, which included Hokkaido and Rebun, as well as Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, now part of Russia, joined a large maritime trade. By the 14th century, the Ainu were successful middlemen, supplying goods to Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and later Russian merchants. Paddling canoes, with planked sides carved from massive trees, Ainu sailors danced across the waves, fishing for herring, hunting sea mammals, and trading goods. A pinwheel of various cultures and peoples spun around the Ainu.
From their homeland, the Ainu carried dried fish and fur for trade. In Chinese ports, they packed their canoes with brocades, beads, coins, and pipes for the Japanese. In turn, they carried Japanese iron and sake back to the Chinese.
And for centuries, these diverse cultures struck a balance with one another.
(ABOVE – – Ainu totem poles)
(ABOVE – – another Ainu totem pole)
CONTINUE READING THIS AMAZING STORY AT THE LINK PROVIDE AT THE BEGINNING
Also, watch this video, the Ainu Pride:
Norio Hayakawa’s CIVILIAN INTELLIGENCE NEWS SERVICE
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