Hamanaka II on Rebun Island is full of animal remains—sea mammals, deer, dogs, and pigs—some dating back 3, years before present. Bone preservation in the acidic soils of neighboring Hokkaido, a large volcanic island, is rare. T he environment, economy, and traditions may all metamorphose over time, but some beliefs are so sacrosanct, they are immortal, passing as genes do, from one generation to the next, mixing and mutating, but never wavering. This bond with the bears has survived much. A t age 49, with hair more gray than black, Kato is still boyish.
On this hot summer day on Rebun, he sports a ball cap, an orange plaid short-sleeved shirt, and chartreuse shorts and sneakers.
e-book Language, Education and Citizenship in Japan (Japan Anthropology Workshop Series)
Yet he never learned the history of Hokkaido. On a map, Hokkaido even looks like a fish, tail tucked, swimming away from Honshu, leaving a wake that takes the local ferry four hours to track. Today, the two islands are physically connected by a train tunnel. O n the surface, there is nothing about Hokkaido that is not Japanese. Each kotan had a head man. Inside the reed walls of each house, a nuclear family cooked and gathered around a central hearth.
At one end of the house was a window, a sacred opening facing upstream, toward the mountains, homeland of bears and the source of the salmon-rich river. Outside the window was an altar, also facing upstream, where people held bear ceremonies. E ach kotan drew upon concentric zones of sustenance by manipulating the landscape: the river for fresh water and fishing, the banks for plant cultivation and gathering, river terraces for housing and plants, hillsides for hunting, the mountains for hunting and collecting elm bark for baskets and clothes.
Coaxing food from the earth is tough at the best of times, why not make it as easy as possible? I n time, the Ainu homeland, which included Hokkaido and Rebun, as well as Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, now part of Russia, joined a large maritime trade. By the 14th century, the Ainu were successful middlemen, supplying goods to Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and later Russian merchants.
Paddling canoes, with planked sides carved from massive trees, Ainu sailors danced across the waves, fishing for herring, hunting sea mammals, and trading goods. A pinwheel of various cultures and peoples spun around the Ainu.
F rom their homeland, the Ainu carried dried fish and fur for trade. In Chinese ports, they packed their canoes with brocades, beads, coins, and pipes for the Japanese. In turn, they carried Japanese iron and sake back to the Chinese. W hen I lived on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu in the late s, I was struck by the physical diversity of the people. The faces of my students and neighbors sometimes reflected Asian, Polynesian, or even Australian and North American Indigenous groups. It made me wonder what my students had learned about human origins and migrations.
T oday, science tells us that the ancestors of the ethnic Japanese came from Asia, possibly via a land bridge some 38, years ago. As they and their descendants spread out across the islands, their gene pool likely diversified. Then, much later, around 2, years ago, another great wave of people arrived from the Korean Peninsula, bringing rice farming and metal tools.
These newcomers mixed with the Indigenous population, and, like most farming societies, they kick-started a population boom. Armed with new technology, they expanded across the southern islands, but stalled just short of Hokkaido.http://kinun-mobile.com/wp-content/2020-06-25/bikyn-mobile-phone-telegram.php
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Then around A. Some were reluctant immigrants, banished to the southern part of Hokkaido to live in exile. Others came willingly. They saw Hokkaido as a place of opportunity during times of famine, war, and poverty. Kato tells me that his family background reflects some of the turbulent changes that came to Hokkaido when Japan ended its isolationist policies in the 19th century.
The influential men behind the new emperor unleashed a modernization blitzkrieg in Some had fought in a rebellion, some wanted to start over—entrepreneurs and dreamers who embraced change. The wave of modern Japanese immigrants—samurai, joined by farmers, merchants, artisans—had begun. As insular as Japan seems to be, it has always been bound up in relationships with others, particularly with people on the Korean Peninsula and in China.
And they have called themselves Nihonjin. But the word Ainu signifies something very different. B ack at the dig at Hamanaka II, Zoe Eddy, a historical archaeologist from Harvard University, stands atop piles of sandbags, surveying the crew. She flips between Japanese and English, depending on who is asking a question. Someone else calls out and she hustles over to assist.
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Eddy splits her time between Boston, Washington, D. The tall, curly-haired brunette stands out; central casting circa would have hired her to play the role of feisty female archaeologist in some exotic locale. It had a corn cob in its mouth. Eddy puzzled over it. Like dairy cows, corn is not indigenous to the island. On Rebun Island, off the coast of Hokkaido, Hirofumi Kato, left, Zoe Eddy, foreground, and volunteers pile sandbags on the Hamanaka II archaeological site, where they will stay until the dig continues the following year.
They are mighty salmon and deer, humble sparrows and squirrels, ordinary tools and utensils. Kamuy visit the earth, have a relationship with humans, and if respected, they return again and again to feed and clothe humans. To maintain a healthy relationship with the kamuy, Ainu artists traditionally represent the world in the abstract, creating pleasing designs meant to charm the gods—the transcendent symmetrical swirls and twirls of a kaleidoscope, not banal figurines. Making a realistic image of an animal endangers its spirit—it could become trapped, so Ainu artists did not carve realistic bears that clenched corn, or anything else, in their teeth.
B ut art has a way of adapting to the zeitgeist.
The typical Ainu bear today, a figurative bear with a salmon in its mouth, has a distinct German influence. Ainu artists adapted after the Meiji Restoration: They gave tourists the iconic brown bears of the Black Forest that no longer existed. This illustration shows an Ainu iyomante. The iyomante fascinated Japanese and Europeans alike. L ike all island people, the Ainu had to deal with opposing realities. For much of their history, new ideas, new tools, and new friends flowed from the sea, a vital artery to the outside world. But the outside world also brought trouble and sometimes brutality.
T he first serious blow to Ainu sovereignty landed in the mids, when a powerful samurai clan took control of Japanese settlements in southern Hokkaido. Across the globe, the chase was on for profitable voyages to distant lands, where merchants determined the rules of engagement, most often through force, upending local economies, trampling boundaries.
Eager for profit, Japanese merchants dumped their trading relationships with the Ainu. Who needed Ainu traders when the resources were there for the taking—seals, fish, herring roe, sea otter pelts, deer and bearskins, strings of shells, hawks for falconry, eagle feathers for arrows, even gold? I n the late s, the Japanese government formally colonized Hokkaido. And Okinawa. And Taiwan. And the Sakhalin and Kuril Islands. The Korean Peninsula, and eventually, by the s, Manchuria. The Japanese went to war with Russia and won, the first time an Asian country beat back the incursions of a European power in living memory.
On Hokkaido, the Japanese government pursued a policy of assimilation, hiring American consultants fresh from the drive to assimilate North American Indigenous people.
Language, Education and Citizenship in Japan
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. F or much of the 20th century, the Ainu narrative created by outsiders revolved around their demise.
T o the Ainu, the bear god is one of the mightier beings in the parallel spirit homeland, Kamuy Mosir. After death, bears journeyed to this spirit land, giving their meat and fur to the people. In winter, Ainu men searched for a denning mother bear. When they found her, they adopted one of her cubs. A kotan raised the cub as one of their own, the women sometimes nursing the young animal.
By the time it was so big that 20 men were needed to exercise the bear, it was ready for the ceremony. For two weeks, men carved prayer sticks and bundled bamboo grass or mugwort to burn for purification. Women prepared rice wine and food. A messenger traveled to nearby kotans to invite people to attend.
Guests arrived a day before the ritual, bearing gifts. The form for the proposal is suggested by Routledge to be a document of pages or so which covers the list below, but initial inquiries may be made to Joy or another member of the editorial group in the first instance.