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Monday, May 7, 2012

Japan's Indigenous People - The Ainu


It's amazing how many of these topics I find and sort of sit on until I feel like getting around to them. When I found this, I was going to do some research, but then I kind of forgot about it for a long time.

Kind of appropriate considering the topic is Japan's indigenous population, the Ainu.

I found a short video on the Ainu on the Internet, that was put together by Rhawn Joseph, PhD. He is not related to myself, though my father is a Ron Joseph.

I have no idea if the guy is a crackpot on the same plain of existence as Erich von Däniken, who wrote Chariots of the Gods, but I do know that I like the collected video he has of the Ainu.

The video shows off some great costuming, houses, a ceremony or two and is just a fascinating way to spend seven minutes.

His claims are his own.

I only present it to show you some of the culture of the 'hairy people' who lived in the northern climes of Japan long before the Japanese first showed up.

The Ainu are to Japan what the Native Americans are to the United States and the Native Americans and Inuit (once called the Eskimo) are to Canada. An indigenous population treated poorly by its conquerors, and while not completely wiped out, surely the Ainu are a shadow of their former existence.

While I have had the privilege of going fishing one-on-one with a Mohawk chief as an adult, and having a kid from the Black Foot come and stay with us for a week while his school visited Toronto from Red Deer, Alberta, I must admit that my knowledge on my own country's native culture is lacking. It's greater than most, but I sure would not want to pretend I know much about it.

I have eaten pemmican, had a stuffed beaver with cool bead-work around the tail given to me, have a couple of pieces of Native and Inuit art - but it just means I appreciate their existence, not that I know much about it. Sad but true.

I probably actually know more about the Ainu than I do about my own country's indigenous population.&

Here's a look at a few blogs on the Ainu that I have written.
Ainu 1 Admittedly not much mentioned here, but there is a sentence of good information.
Ainu 2 A little something-something on blood types.
Ainu 3 This one has a lot of great information on the Ainu, including a photo of mine that was originally taken in 1930. I was not around then, but I did pick up the photo as part of a collection when I purchased a photo album in Utsunomiya back in the early 1990s. Garage sales, flea markets and Church sales - it's always worth a look. I bought my photo collection for the equivalent of $10 or
¥1,000 back then.

Anyhow... I suppose I always get nervous when PhD's use YouTube to promote a theory, but what the heck.... like I said... there's some great film in this video.


 
I am unsure why there is a Jew's Harp playing in the background - it sounds like a cartoon kangaroo hopping about. I doubt that it is an Ainu musical instrument.   

Cheers, Andrew Joseph

2 comments:

  1. The instrument in the background is a mukkuri, an Ainu instrument. I spent 6 years in Hokkaido and one of my very good friends was an Ainu who lead the culture group in the Shiraoi Ainu museum. One of the photos in the video is his grandfather.

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    1. Thank-you very much for sharing this information. Six years in Hokkaido sounds like heaven! The closest I got to that was salmon fishing with a Mohawk chief here in Ontario, Canada.

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