The Untold Story of Japan’s First People
December 4, 2017 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Really good - hugely increased what I know about these interesting people.
posted by Segundus at 2:02 PM on December 4, 2017 [7 favorites]

Thanks for this, I've had many years of periodic fascination with the Ainu and there aren't a lot of casual reads about them.
posted by rhizome at 2:21 PM on December 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

Thank you for posting. Loved reading this story and love the publication. New stuff to read!
posted by cairnoflore at 5:04 PM on December 4, 2017

This is terrific, thank you very much! There's so much to unpack here. I did not know, just for one thing, that there was Ainu involvement in the 60s-70s political youth action in Japan--and some of it driven by women. Somebody needs to write a book specifically focused on Ainu women, maybe. Mostly familiar with Yukie Chiri and Yaeko Batchelor, so it was especially good to read new takes on other periods and people.
posted by huimangm at 7:37 PM on December 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

Originally from MeFi's Own.
posted by Rumple at 7:50 PM on December 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh my deity. (I added the link for context.)
On Hokkaido, the Japanese government pursued a policy of assimilation, hiring American consultants fresh from the drive to assimilate North American Indigenous people. The government forced the Ainu into Japanese-speaking schools, changed their names, took their land, and radically altered their economy. They pushed the Ainu into wage labor, notably in the commercial herring fishery after Japanese farmers discovered fish meal was the perfect fertilizer for rice paddies.
Thank you for this article – it's very good.
posted by fraula at 2:56 AM on December 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

I had always heard the Ainu described as Japan's indigenous people, mostly in terms of their treatment (along the lines of the American and Canadian treatment of Native Americans/First Nations people, the Australian treatment of the Aborigines, etc.) I didn't realize that the Ainu came from a completely different ethnic group originally. I had thought that everyone had crossed from Korea (mostly) and China and that the Ainu were culturally distinct but not ethnically. I now feel a little foolish, of course people would have come south to settle an island if they could.

Really informative article, thank you.

Also, I try to recommend this to everyone who visits Tokyo, HaruKor seems to be the only Ainu restaurant outside of Hokkaido. The food is very distinct from traditional Japanese food and extremely good.
posted by Hactar at 10:50 AM on December 5, 2017 [4 favorites]

Hm, I'll be in Japan on a group tour this Spring, I might have to see if I can convince the tour director to take us there.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:37 PM on December 5, 2017

see if I can convince the tour director to take us there

HaruKor has only around four small tables. The customers seem to be mainly regulars, including some families with children. I don't think the staff speak much English, and I wouldn't think of it as a tour-group destination - I can't imagine going there in a group of more than four people.

The food is pretty good, especially the several different venison dishes. The dining room can get a bit smoky.
posted by Umami Dearest at 9:23 PM on December 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

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