Tuesday, June 10, 2008

the ainu of northern japan

the last of my bear-related posts for the morning: after 140 years of repression, the ainu, original inhabitants of hokkaido island, are to be officially recognised by the japanese parliament as an indigineous people. the telegraph reports:

"The Ainu are one of Japan's most marginalised groups. Government estimates put the number of people with half or more Ainu ancestry at around 50,000. The century-long repression of the Ainu has all but rendered their dialect extinct. The cultural differences are also significantly at odds with mainland Japanese culture. Ainu men preferring full beards and long hair and women tattoo around their mouths for decoration. Traditional clothing is made from tree bark and the Ainu are animists – believing that everything in their rugged homeland contains a spirit. They worshipped natural landmarks and animals, especially bears."

the rest of the article is here.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you are back on the blogging scene.