The Ainu ethnic group
The Ainu ( "ainu"アイヌ, which means "human" in Ainu, (虾夷) in Japanese, also known as "Utari"ウタリin Ainu, which means "comrade"), are an aboriginal population. They live in northern Japan and the far east of Russia: Towards -1300, they fled Hokkaidō, the Kuril islands, the island of Sakhalin and southern peninsula of Kamchatka. Either 1000 years before the representatives of the Wa people who are the ancestors of current Japanese, who arrived on the island of Honshu (probably from Korea).
Yesterday endangered, there are approximately 150 000 members of this ethnic group today. However, no accurate census has been taken, many Ainu hide their origin or in many cases do not even know their parents have their own hidden to protect them from discrimination and racism.
Morphologically, the Ainu does not resemble the Japanese. They are bigger, stronger physically, and build their hairs are more assertive, their skin is clearer, less smooth their faces and their eyes are not clamped. In short, they are not mongoloïdes (morphological type of Japanese, Koreans and Chinese). With these physical characteristics, they have long been associated with Caucasian.
Hypothetical kinship with Central Asia
Genetic tests carried out on the Ainu show that they have for the Haplogroup haplogroup D. But this haplogroup is rare and is found in significant amounts that Tibet and the Andaman islands which suggests an affinity with the peoples of Central Asia. The ethnic group whose descendraient the Ainu was if one follows this hypothesis installed in Central Asia and Eastern have been driven by the expansion of Han.
Mixing with the Nivkhs
An Ainu also has eight characters of haplogroup C3 which is most common among the peoples of the far east of Russia and among the peoples of Mongolia. Some have argued that this haplogroup is the result of a genetic mixing with unidirectional Nivkhs with the Ainu who have points in common in cultural terms (Woodcarving Festival bears, grounds of habit. This hypothesis brewing with the Nivkhs is still supported by the additional presence of the Y haplogroup which is found at high frequency among Nivkhs and the Ainu as well as the similarity of the languages of both peoples.
Originally from South Asia?
Some scientists have argued that the Ainu are descended from a prehistoric ethnic group who allegedly also led the Aborigines of Australia. This assumption is based on the discovery of bones of the Jōmon period dating from 10 000 years ago. These have a facial bones similar to that of the people of Australia and New Guinea.
Difference between Ainu and Japanese
The Ainu are related to culture Jōmon. They are the only people Jōmon not have undergone any genetic mixing with the people Yayoi (arrived from Korea). As a result, the Ainu are close to the islanders Ryūkyū who are also from people Jōmon and have suffered little mixing with the people Yayoi. The Japanese are in the mix between Jōmon and immigrants from Korea.
It is not known much about the history of pre-Japanese Ainu.
Initially, the first contacts with the Japanese were friendly and the two peoples nouèrent trade relations between equals. Over time, Japan began to dominate the relationship and to establish large colonies in the territory Ainu. The Ainu are first mentioned by the Japanese in the Kojiki as descendants of an ancient people: "Emishi" (literally, the "barbarians who are not under the political authority of Japan").
Rejection of Hokkaido Ainu to
When the Japanese move northward to take control of land aïnoues, the Ainu abandon generally without resistance, however, is known wars: 1268 (first revolt known), 1457 (Battle of Koshamain), 1669 (battle between Shiyakushiyain Ainu and the clan Mastumae) and 1789 all lost by the Ainu. In 1799, the Ainu of eastern Hokkaido are subject to control by the shogun and in 1807 it was the turn of those in the west of the island. It may explain the almost total lack of resistance by their belief that the earth does not belong to anyone, including themselves. And how could they defend their land as they do not belong?
Disappearance of Culture Ainu
During these centuries when Europeans engaged in the colonization and slavery (sixteenth century - the mid-nineteenth century), where the Americans are hunting the indigenous, the Japanese carry "forced assimilation", among others on the Ainu: clothing, religion and education of all people of Japanese territory must be Japanese. Then the rules in Japan during the Meiji period (nineteenth century - the beginning of the twentieth century) attached to "reform" lifestyle Ainu in its daily banning their language and cantonnant to agriculture on plots provided by the government. The Ainu are also employed in conditions akin to slavery by the fishing industry. They were also forced (by the Matsumae clan) to act as an intermediary between the Japanese and Russians.
It was the same in Russia where they were converted to the Orthodox religion. After 1945, many of the Ainu people of Russia joined Japan. The presence of the Ainu in Russia was indeed hidden. The Russo-Japanese War was also an influence on the disappearance of the Ainu people of Russia. Thus when the island of Sakhalin was attached to Japan (taking the name of Karafuto), the Ainu were sent to the island of Hokkaido.
Renaissance identity aïnoue
Until the end of the Second World War, the Ainu are forced to "become Japanese," to renounce their rituals, their arts, their lifestyle, their religion (ceremonies for weddings, funerals, ceremonies minds of animals. .. Abandoned). Starting from 1960, the Ainu are starting to come together to acquire "the right to difference". Their applications fair, conducted by the Association Utari and Giichi Nomura, have no outcome, but they continue their efforts and support their draft laws to enforce the "right to difference". But it was not until 1994, thanks to the pressure exerted by the United Nations for indigenous peoples, they manage to bring one of them, Shigeru Kayano, Kokkai (Japanese Parliament).
Devoted to his people since time immemorial, Shigeru Kayano has continued to fight for recognition. So in 1997, promulgated the Law for the Promotion of Culture aïnoue and for the dissemination and support aïnoues traditions and culture aïnoue. Since then, the Ainu have the right and duty to promote their culture, their difference. The dozens of museums and cultural centers dedicated to the culture aïnoue are receptacles of their knowledge, their traditions. But discrimination still exists (according to a survey by the government of Hokkaido in 1999, only two Ainu has not witnessed discrimination against the Ainu (which is itself a victim or not) and the Ainu hoped today, hui obtain advantage that the "right to show their culture": the "right to live according to their culture."
Today, a aïnoue language newspaper is published: the Ainu Times. As the Ainu did not know writing, a syllabary close to the katakana has been developed and is used by this newspaper.
It should be noted that even though they are fighting for recognition of their culture, nothing in the Japanese textbooks do deals with them.
The Ainu are animists. They think that everything in nature has a kamuy (mind you write also kamui) inside. There is a hierarchy of kamuy. The most important is that of fire (Apehuci-Kamuy); then there are the animals kamuy mountain and still behind, kamuy animals of the sea Ainu thank the gods before eating and pray the kamuy fire when they are sick. They believe that the spirits are immortal, and that they will be rewarded with access to the land of the gods.
They also believe in the existence of "elves": Koro-pok-guru
List of Kamuy
* Ae-oina Kamui, he taught the men the domestic arts
* Apasam Kamui
* Apehuci-Kamuy (kamuy fire)
* Cep Kamuy (kamuy salmon)
* Chikap Kamui, kamuy owls and earth
* Chup Kamui, kamuy sun
* Hash-Inau-uk Kamui, kamuy of hunting
* Kamui Fuchi, the home kamuy
* Kanna Kamuy, kamuy of the storm
* Kenash Unarabe, a monster blood drinker who attack hunters
* Kim-a Kamui, kamuy bears
* Kinashut Kamui, kamuy snakes
* Moshirikara Kamui, creator of the earth
* Nusakoro Kamui, messenger of the gods and representative of death
* Pauchi Kamui, evil spirit responsible for the disease
* Repun Kamui, kamuy of the killer whale and the sea
* Shinda (kamuy of fertility)
* Tuntu (kamuy of the sky), also called Kamui
* Shiramba Kamui, kamuy wood, nature
* Waka-ush Kamui, kamuy drinking water
* Yushkep Kamui, kamuy of a spider
Some Ainu people living in extreme northern archipelago are now members of the Russian Orthodox Church.
For the Ainu, there are 6 heaven and hell where 6 gods, demons and animals live. The demons live in heaven lowest. At the level of clouds and stars live gods less important. In the highest heavens, lives Tuntu, the creator God and his servants. His kingdom is surrounded by a wall of metal and the only way to enter is through a large iron door.
Tuntu created this world as a great ocean based on the spine of a huge trout. When the fish moves, the earth tremble.
One day Tuntu looked into this world of water and decided to do something. He sent a bird flying above the ocean and drove water and islands arose.
When the animals of heaven saw how this new world was beautiful, Tuntu they asked permission to go live. The latter agreed. But Tuntu also manufactured creatures made only for this world. the first Ainu were born, they had a body hair and land-based plants. Tuntu also sent Aioina, a man divine on earth to teach the Ainu people how to hunt and cooking.
The Ainu are the edges of rivers or seas, in areas where they feel protected from natural disasters. They live in community, grouped in villages called kotan, where each family has its cise (home). On average, a kotan consists of a dozen cise.
The Ainu have many buildings outside cise: Guard mangers (pu, where they are particularly dry fish), clothes dryers, shed, etc… There are also cages for bears and many "altars" vertical protecting the kotan.
The entrance houses aïnoues lies to the west. They have only one piece. The center of the house is occupied by a home for the fire. The houses have no chimney. The smoke evacuation is not holes located at the corner of the roof.
Homes have always aïnoues three windows (you can also see on the right image). Two of them are still in the same direction. There is never a window to the north.
Initially the Japanese territory was covered with forests. In the harsh conditions of the northern environment, the Ainu subvenaient their needs by hunting, fishing and gathering plants and other activities of this kind in contact with nature. They built tools useful and necessary for these practices with a unique know-how and specific.
Many tools are used depending on the task: bows and arrows, complex traps (traps and others), hooks (Marek), harpoons (kite), hunting nets, digging systems, picks for plants, looms ( karepinki), knives (makiri), etc…
In addition to the resources obtained through traditional activities, the Ainu retained certain articles in order to exchange them with people nearby. The fur and skins (Yezo deer, zibelines, hawk feathers…) were earmarked for this purpose. The Ainu were major traders. Witnesses their exchanges with Wajins, all bordering minority populations, but also with the Chinese and even Europeans, are often exhibited in museums culture aïnoue (blown glass, silk fabrics, metal tools, etc… ). The Ainu people have built their lives in contact with other people, sharing and exchanging their "goods" provided that their knowledge.
Read also The tea ceremony in Japan