Japanese Language Blog

Ainu Posted by on May 14, 2009 in Culture

The Ainu (アイヌ) are an indigenous group of people living in Hokkaido (北海道). The Ainu (アイヌ) are the original inhabitants of Hokkaidoo (北海道). It’s a population that’s slowly dying out from poverty and malnutrition. The Ainu (アイヌ) have also intermarried with the Japanese people out of a desire to assimilate into Japanese society.

The Ainu (アイヌ) have their own unique culture separate from the Japanese. They have their own language, distinct from Japanese. They are mostly an oral culture. However, they do have a writing system that is based upon the Japanese katakana (かたかな). Unfortunately, assimilation is steadily killing the Ainu (アイヌ) language. There are less and less children that can fluently speak the Ainu (アイヌ) language.

The Ainu (アイヌ) have a striking look as well. The men have long beards and the women tatoo their mouths. Both sexes wear jewelry and clothes made of embroidered cloth. This all pertains to the group of people that choose to remain traditional. The younger generation can been seen wearing just a t-shirt and pants.

The history of the Ainu (アイヌ) is a sad one. The relationship between the Japanese government and the Ainu (アイヌ) people has been one of conflict. The Ainu (アイヌ) have had their lands confiscated by the Japanese government and there were numerous attempts to introduce the Japanese language in Ainu (アイヌ) schools. Since 2008, the Japanese government has officially recognized the Ainu (アイヌ) people as an independent group of people separate from Japan. However, discrimination agains the Ainu (アイヌ) still exist. Hopefully, things will change for the better.

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