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Home » Archives » March 2005 » Cool Sites : Ainu

Cool Sites : Ainu

Monday, March 21, 2005 Posted: 11:24 PM JST

The Ainu ruled for centuries in the Northern territories of Japan. Now their culture has faded away into history. Thankfully, observers were able to write down what they saw before it dissapeared. Some observations:

Dutch Encounters with the Ainu People
Article by Tjeerd de Graaf about the Ainu. Includes word lists. (ENG)

Ainu and the people of the Amur area
Many photographs of Ainu artifacts collected by Hungarian ethnographer Barathosi Benedek during his 1908 and 1914 expeditions to Northeast Asia. (ENG HUN)

Ainu Museum in Shiraoi, Hokkaido
Broad description of the Ainu lifestyle and culture. Covers eating habits through religion. Many old photographs. Highly recommended. (CHN ENG JPN)

Ainu Texts
The Ainu are Japans' largest ethnic minority. They are known for Shamanistic beliefs. This site features Ainu folk-tales and folk-lore. (ENG)

NOVA: Island of the Spirits
This beautiful site covers the origins and legends of the Ainu. Some pages don't appear complete in all browsers (eg. if there are no photos of animals on the legend page, try using another browser). (ENG)

Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture
The Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture -- "Realizing a Society Where the Pride of Ainu People as an Ethnic Group Is Respected and Contributing to the Promotion of Cultural Diversity (ENG JPN)

Find more sites related to Japan at Japan Links.

Keywords: cool_sites

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2 comments so far post your own

1 | At 01:29pm on Dec 09 2006, Deborah Davidson wrote:
You may be interested in a new website called "Project U-e-peker" about the efforts of one group of educators and translators to make more Ainu folklore available in English. Their list of publications (some funded by the Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture) are already being used in classrooms in Japan and in the West (including the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia). These tales, transmitted orally from ancient times, often have environmental messages that speak powerfully to the world as it is today. It's worth your time to check it out.
2 | At 03:11pm on Dec 09 2006, Kjeld Duits wrote:
Great tip. Thanks!
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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
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Stone Bridge Press

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