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  #1  
Old 07-22-2005, 04:24 PM
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Default Ainu

I was researching and i noticed a group of japanese people called the Ainu. They seem like the equivalent to the Native Americans. This brings up a question, is there any more people like this in the historical areas of the japanese? and are they going to be ingame?

Basically, my question is, how many kinds of japanese people are there?
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Old 07-22-2005, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: Ainu

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToshiMaru
I was researching and i noticed a group of japanese people called the Ainu. They seem like the equivalent to the Native Americans. This brings up a question, is there any more people like this in the historical areas of the japanese? and are they going to be ingame?
I would really love to see the ability to create an Okinawan character (or more accurately, a Ryukyun). The political implications of the antagonism between Ryukyu and Japan would be great.
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Old 07-23-2005, 12:30 AM
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Default Re: Ainu

Well, considering the fact that the Ainu still exist on the most northern island of Japan........I would hope that you could play as an Ainu.
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Old 07-28-2005, 06:50 PM
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Default The Brief History of the Ainu

The Ainu originally lived in a region including Sakhalin Island near the mouth of the Amur River, the Kurile Islands, southern Kamchatka, and Hokkaido, today the northern island of Japan. They made their living by fishing and hunting, including for sea mammals. They are especially well known for the bear ceremony, an important part of their religious rituals. They used dogs for hunting, as sled dogs and in their rituals.

According to one of several theories, the Ainu are descendants of Mongoloid migrants who entered the Japanese islands before the Jomon period. They were later displaced and assimilated, when the ethnic Japanese expanded their territory northernwards.

In the Meiji Period (1868-1912), the Ainu received the status of "former aboriginals", but suffered under official discrimination for some years. In 1997, a new law was passed which provides funds for the research and promotion of Ainu culture.
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Last edited by ShininShado; 07-29-2005 at 07:12 AM. Reason: Condensed two posts into one.
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Old 07-28-2005, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: The Brief History of the Ainu

According to one of several theories, the Ainu are descendants of Mongoloid migrants who entered the Japanese islands before the Jomon period. They were later displaced and assimilated, when the ethnic Japanese expanded their territory northernwards.

In the Meiji Period (1868-1912), the Ainu received the status of "former aboriginals", but suffered under official discrimination for some years. In 1997, a new law was passed which provides funds for the research and promotion of Ainu culture.
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Old 07-28-2005, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: The Brief History of the Ainu

The Ainu (ě´nˇ) aborigines of Northern Japan are heavily bearded and have thick wavy hair. Their both mix of European and Asian physical traits contrast so sharply from other indigenous peoples of Asia that no one is really sure of their origin. Some theories hold they are of Caucasian descent, others that their distinct features are a result of isolation that allowed them to remain racially unchanged as the rest of the mongoloid races mixed and evolved through a series of migrations. Other theories hold that they are descendants from various Oceania races. The Japanese chronicles "Kojiki" and "Nihonsyoki" refer to them as descendants of an ancient people called Emishi. Today the term Ainu is used to denote the indigenous people of Hokkaido in Japan and Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, in Russia.

Their culture is precariously close to extinction. The language is spoken only by a few elders.

Centuries of oppression, racism, forced assimilation policies, intolerance and discrimination, social and political dominance of the majority ethnic Japanese have contributed heavily to the annihilation of the Ainu culture. Modern socialization and the fear of marginalization has led recent generations to regard their Ainu identity negatively. Many have abandoned the transmission of Ainu customs and traditions. Urban Ainu in particular face problems of alcoholism, homelessness, and violence, and try to hide their Ainu heritage and deny their Ainu identity, even to themselves.

"Ainu" means "human." They live by hunting, fishing, farming, and selling crafts to tourists. They have an animistic spirituality that regards all things, including inanimate objects, imbued with life and spirit. Nature gods - fire, water, wind - animal gods, plant gods, object gods such as boats, windows, tools, houses, mountain gods, lake gods, all exist together in symbiotic relationships that include man. The gods help man and are to be appreciated by him. Ainu daily life is traditionally a continuous ritual to the gods and their mutual assistance to man.

The Ainu people regard death as the separation of soul and body. The body remains in this world and the soul goes to the other world where it is met by ancestors and leads the same type of daily life that is lead by creatures in this world. All living creatures have souls that leave the body after death and pass to the other world. They believe the other world is underground, and a mirror image of this one, with the same values but reversed space and time. Right in this world is left in the other, and down is up. The people in the other world walk with their feet upward. Summer in this world is winter in the other, day is night.

Souls stay in the one world until they are ready to return to the other. Then they are reborn back into this world. All living creatures repeat this endless cycle of death and rebirth, an eternal shifting between the two worlds.

There is no distinction of Heaven and Hell, and no judgment after death, but passing into the other world may sometimes have problems. The souls of extremely bad persons may be rejected by their ancestors. A shaman is summoned to convince the ancestors to accept the soul. Extraordinary attachments to or profound grudges against this world can cause the deceased to cling to strongly to this world. Again a shaman is called. This time to convince the recalcitrant soul to let go.

The dead are buried in individual graves. Looking back, stopping on the way, or sobbing is discouraged after leaving the graveyard because it could cause the deceased to become reattached to this lifetime and attempt to return to this world or possess the mourners. Sometimes souls with strong attachments to this world will return as birds.

Estimates vary on age of Ainu people and culture. Some say that the people who lived in the northern part of Japan were ethnically distinct ten thousand years ago. Other estimates say the Ainu first inhabited parts of Japan around 3,000 to 4,000 years ago during the Jomon period, pushed onto the island by invasions of other Asian peoples.

Regardless of its age, Ainu culture reached its height in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Extensive contact with the ancestors of present-day Japanese began around the fourteenth century, and the threat to Ainu culture began in earnest in the 15th century when Hokkaido came under the direct control of the Bakufu shogunate seeking to prevent Russian advances into Southern Japan. The shoganate instituted trade policies that favored the wajin - roughly translated as the Japanese who emigrated to Hokkaido - and exploited the Ainu.

The Ainu resisted Japanese oppression, fighting numerous skirmishes and battles, the most notable being the Battle of Kosyamain in 1457, the Battle of Syaksyain in 1669, and the Battle of Kunasiri-Menasi in 1789. The Ainu lost each time and fell increasing under Japanese control.

Ainu population decreased drastically between 1822 and 1854, in a large part because of the introduction and spread of infectious diseases such as small pox, measles, tuberculosis, venereal disease, and cholera. Forced labor practices and the breakup of families also contributed heavily to the population decline.

During the Meiji era (1868-1912) without any formal treaties or negotiations, the Japanese government incorporated the Ainu land and extended its administration over the people. The Japanese government confiscated Ainu land as "ownerless" and offered it to settlers as homesteads. Subsequently Hokkaido's population soared to over a million people. The Ainu became a minority in their own land.

The Meiji government also adopted a policy of forced assimilation, banning the Ainu from their traditional livelihoods of hunting and fishing and forcing them to take up farming. The Ainu language and daily customs were prohibited. Children were forced to attend Japanese schools where only Japanese was spoken. In 1869 Ezochi (Land of the Ainu) was formally renamed Hokkaido. The following year, the modern family register system identified the Ainu as being Japanese.

In 1899, the government enacted the 'Hokkaido Kyu-Dojin Protection Act" (Hokkaido Aborigine Protection Act ) for the ostensible purpose of protecting the Ainu people, providing them relief and aid in becoming engaged in farming. However, the real purpose of the act was to legitimatize its assimilation policies. The act designated the Ainu as "kyudojin" (former aborigines with derogatory connotations). Under the act, each Ainu family was given a small plot of land for agriculture. However, by this time the best land was already occupied by Japanese farmers. Many Ainu farmers lost the land parcels because they didn't have the experience or wherewithal to cultivate it. The act effectively disposed the Ainu from their homeland and deprived them of the economy necessary to maintain their cultural identity.

The future of the Ainu culture seemed bleak indeed. However, the democratization of the country after World War II and the implementation of the present Constitution in 1946 sparked a renewed identity and movement to restore Ainu rights. The Ainu people, as Japanese nationals, were entitled to equal protection by law. The Ainu began organizing and formed several organizations advocating their rights and seeking to protect their cultural heritage, the largest being the Ainu Association of Hokkaido, founded in 1946.

Submitting to pressure from these organizations and international opinion, Japan ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ICCPR, in 1979 and proclaimed it part of domestic law. Article 27 of the covenant stipulates that in those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.

However Japan has officially stated that no such ethnic minorities of the kind covered by the ICCPR exists in Japan. It wasn't until 1991, in a report to the United Nations, that Japan publicly recognized the Ainu as being an ethnic minority. Such an admission did little to benefit the Ainu's culture though. The Japanese government still refused to recognize the Ainu as an indigenous people. As an ethnic minority group the government asserted that the Ainu people were entitled to equal protection under the Constitution only as individuals, and continued to deny collective aboriginal rights to the Ainu.

The Hokkaido Aborigine Protection Act of 1899 remained basically intact, surviving with only minor amendments.

Then, on March 27, 1997, the Sapporo District Court, in response to a law suit brought by the Ainu people, ruled that the Ainu should be granted recognition as an indigenous people of Japan and therefore entitled to the protection of their distinct culture.

Partly as a response to the court's decision, the Diet (Congress) passed the "Act on the Encouragement of Ainu Culture and the Diffusion and Enlightenment of Knowledge on Ainu Tradition" on May 8, 1997. The House of Councilors approved the bill a month earlier and it became effective immediately. This law is Japans' first legislation acknowledging the existence of an ethnic minority in Japan.

The Act advocates research on Ainu culture, provides opportunities to study the Ainu language and officially supports preservation of Ainu customs and traditions.

As forward a leap as the Act is, it can only be regarded as a first step toward addressing the needs of the Ainu culture, and it has created some confusion and discord in the Ainu community. The Act does not include any apology or deliberation on past assimilation or discrimination policies directed at the Ainu. Although the Bill provides financial support for traditional dance, making traditional crafts and learning the Ainu language, many feel that the Japanese government is simply trying to give the impression that it is improving the Ainu 's situation and that their most basic problems and threat to their culture are ignored.

The new law does not mention any form of recognition or protection of indigenous rights, and ignores the cultural rights as declared by the court. Although the law formally abolishes the "Protection Act" and refers to the Ainu as a people, its main objective is limited to the promotion and teaching of Ainu culture, and provides no guarantee or dispensation for allowing the Ainu to live their traditional culture or incorporate it into their daily lives.

Some see the Act as the government's arrogant attempt to define Ainu culture as "the language and 'cultural properties' such as music, dance, crafts, and others which have been inherited by the Ainu people,and other cultural properties developed from these." There have been no studies conducted on the actual needs or circumstances of the Ainu, yet the government insists it knows best how to promote their culture. Many Ainu would like to be allowed to develop their cultural identify themselves, and not have it defined to them by another people.

Finally, the Cultural Promotion act does not support or take into account the Ainu living outside of Hokkaido and see the potential for it to divide the people into those who are active in their culture and those without the time or opportunity to participate in their heritage. Such a limited focus does nothing to reverse the years of discrimination and assimilation practices that fostered their loss of cultural heritage and ethnic identity.

The basic perception of the Japanese government and the people of Japan is that there is no ethnic problem is Japan. Little about the Ainu are taught in Japanese schools. The image of traditional Ainu culture held by most Japanese consists almost entirely of tourist trade Ainu villages, "ethnic" performances, commercialized woodcarvings and other such "folk art" objects.

Yet, discrimination against the Ainu is still a major social problem. In July, 1998, in a statement to the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Populations the Ainu International Network stated that the Ainu continue to be thought of and treated as a "barbaric" minority in Japan. The authors went on to say that the Ainu people "oppose any international convention or domestic law which holds an assimilationist program as its basic orientation, and believe that the rights to control our own economic, social, cultural and other aspects of development as much as possible, to stand equal based on our own institutions, and to mutually cooperate with the national society should be recognized."

That doesn't seem too much to ask. It's certainly no more than the ethnic majority of any country already has.
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Old 07-28-2005, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: The Brief History of the Ainu

please dont triple post . Try to keep it all in one if possible.
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Old 08-31-2005, 02:14 AM
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Default Re: Ainu, facts, history.

I too would like to see a little more during development of the different islands. The Ryukyuans in particular. Climate differences between mainland Kyushu and other islands. There are TONS of islands out there. I want to play an Okinawan as you might guess from the name I'm using. Also, with that in mind, the Ryukyuan dialects were a bit. As Okinawa and many of the islands were primarily linked more to China there should be a lot of differences. But that may be asking too much initially. Pronunciations for instance. The dialects are vastly different. Hu rather than Fu. Ancestor Worship rather than Shinto or Budaism, etc. Something to think about. I've spent a lot of years studying the Okinawan and Ryukyu cultures and would love to see some of this in the game.
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Old 09-12-2005, 08:00 AM
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Default Re: Ainu, facts, history.

The original "native japanese" are called "Ryukyu jin" by the Japanese today and they differ from the Ainu. The ainu seem to have arrived in japan after the "Ryukyu jin".
They look pretty much like native americans from what I understand. I dont think that any "pure" Ryukyu jin exists today since they have been mixed with people with different origin during centuries.
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Old 04-30-2007, 06:11 AM
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Default Re: Ainu, facts, history.

Hi i was just wondering whether anyone would know about the legal implications the ainu people of japan have encountered?.. maybe an evalutaion of the effectiveness of the legal system in regards the their indiginous culture and what not..i feel really bad coz im a french/ jap halfcast and i dont really know about the ainu culture and how their people have been treated by the goverment/ authorities in the past!.
Much appreciated..
Mj
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