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Japanese National Policy

A few words about the history of the Ainu

Japanese National Policy

Ainu is one of the most mysterious nations of the world. Several generations of scientists are trying to unravel the mystery of their racial, linguistic, and cultural affiliation; however, to this day, the question of the origin of this nation remains open. There is no doubt that only the fact that the Ainu appeared on the Japanese islands long before the arrival of the Japanese. They created a unique culture that includes elements of both southern and northern civilizations.

The history of the formation and decline of the Ainu nation is very sad. Perhaps not a single people in history has fought for their rights as they do for more than one and a half millennia. The Ainu lost their last lands in the late XNUMXth - early XNUMXth centuries. However, to this day, this unique people has managed to preserve the grains of the ancient culture and not lose a sense of national identity.

"Real people"

According to the research of the Association for the Protection of the Rights of the Ainu "Utari", which was held in 2006, today there are 23782 indigenous Ainu in Japan. They are concentrated in 72 towns and villages of the island of Hokkaido, the northern of the Japanese islands, and inevitably gradually mix with the Japanese.

The ancient Ainu legends tell us that their ancestors came from the west. A beautiful girl, not wanting to become the wife of her father, fled the unknown country beyond the sea, taking her favorite dog with her. There, on the islands beyond the sea, she had children from whom the Ainu originated. The very word "Ainu" or "Ainu" in the Japanese transcription of the indigenous people of the Japanese islands did not appear immediately, and at first it was not applied to the whole ethnos. The term "ainu" began to enter into use only in the Edo period (1603 - 1868), and only from the 19 century it became widespread. This word, meaning "man," "noble man," "real man," "a man belonging to the Ainu people," the Ainu representatives began to use only when the Japanese began to "pinch" them definitively. Use as an opposition of themselves to the Japanese, whom they called "sisam".

The area of ​​the Ainu settlement was very wide. At one time, the free island people inhabited the Japanese islands, and Sakhalin, and the Kuriles. Ain settlements were in Primorye, and in the south of the Amur region, as well as on the southern tip of Kamchatka. The fact that all the Ainu lands were considered "their own" is evidenced by the fact that many territorial names come from the Ainu language. So "Kuril Islands" - from the Ainu word "chicken" - "man", "Iturup" means "big salmon", "Kunashir" - "black island", "Shikotan" - "the best place."

"The names of the Kuril Islands, even the nearest to Kamchatka, fully confirm these assumptions. So the names of the Kuril Islands are Simushir, Ketoy, Musir, Shiyashikotan (according to the local pronunciation of Siusiothan), Onekotan, Paramushir, and others all of Ainu, "writes M.M. Dobrotvorskiy, who lived in Ainu for many years and studied Ainu language.

In the first millennium BC, immigrants began to invade the lands of the Ainu, who were later destined to become the united nation of the Japanese state. Approximately in the seventh century, the border and good relations were established between the two peoples for several centuries: trade and successful cultural exchanges were conducted. An interesting fact: the traditional Japanese suicide "seppuku" (it is also "hara-kiri") is actually borrowed from the religious rites of the ancient Ainu. Moreover, some researchers believe that even the first of the two major religions in Japan - Shinto - originated from the primitive beliefs of the Ainu.

In all the Russians are to blame?

However, the serious numerical superiority of Japanese peoples shook peaceful coexistence. There followed a series of bloody skirmishes, as a result of which part of the Ainu was enslaved (and eventually assimilated), and part - pushed into the mountains and the northern regions. The process of the formation of the Ainu people in its modern form coincided with the Kamakura period in the history of the Japanese people (12-14 century). In 1565, the Ainu were first described by a European - Catholic missionary Froes. Russian researchers in the academic expeditions met with the Ainu in the first half of the 18 century. In particular, very interesting information about the Ainu who lived in the Kurile Islands was reported by travelers Vladimir Atlasov, Danila Antsyferov and Ivan Kozyrevsky. In its report to Peter the Great in 1711, they described their meeting with the "hairy Kuriles", which was named gustoborodymi, bigeye and broad-shouldered, that is quite similar to the Japanese. And especially Russian sailors noted Ainu girls - fair-skinned, with figures of "fine education".

Russian travelers noted the soft, kind disposition of the Kuril people, their meekness and poetry. Undaunted, Ain went alone to bear, but could sincerely burst into tears if he was insulted. Personal disputes were resolved at the confluence of people in a poetic tournament. The right was recognized by the one who defeated the enemy with a flowery figurative speech.

Oddly enough, it was the interest of Russian researchers to the Ainu people that led the story to a sad ending. The activity of the northern neighbors did not go unnoticed by Japan, and in the ties between Ainu and Russian relations, the Japanese court saw a threat to its “domination” over the natives. Because of the Japanese-Russian colonial race of the end of the 19 century, the Ainu first lost Hokkaido (the island was finally assigned to the Japanese people), and the 1875 year became a turning point for two “branches” of the Ainu people: Sakhalin and Kuril. The Russian and Japanese governments signed the Petersburg Treaty, under which Sakhalin Island, previously under joint management, was fully recognized as Russian territory. Japan received the Kuriles, and the Ainus, who originally lived in these territories, were given the opportunity to determine their nationality for three years. However, the Japanese government hastily used this article to their advantage and began to deport the Ainu from Sakhalin and the Kuriles to Hokkaido. M.M. Dobrotvorsky wrote: “We do not know for sure how many Ainu are now on Sakhalin. According to information gathered from the Japanese, the Ainu are attributed to various Japanese villages for work and the 2885 toll of a man of both sexes. According to information collected by the translator Dyachkov, who know very well almost all the Ainu villages and even most of the Ainu in person, there are only 2050 people on Sakhalin. This last number seems to be the closest to the truth. In ancient times, the Ainu on Sakhalin was much more. There were eight large Ainu villages around one Busse bay, while now there are three, and in all three only seven yurts. ”

In 1884, the Japanese government, fearing that the Russified Ainu inhabiting the Northern Kuriles will constantly gravitate toward Russia, resettled almost all the natives to the South Kuril island of Shikotan. In the life and culture of the Ainu, great changes occurred, even going to sea for fishing or hunting from the village was carried out only by special permission. The result of the introduction of such a police regime was the mass extinction of the Ainu. It is believed that the fatal Ainu transition from fish and animal food to rice, which the Japanese government sold to the Ainu. The change in the diet, learned at the genetic level, ricocheted over the Ainus unprecedented epidemics. Most of the lives were carried away by syphilis (Ainu - "Japanese disease"), scurvy and measles, scarlet fever and smallpox.

By 1891 on Xikotan, 59 ain remained from the entire population, and soon the Kuril branch of the Ainu people gradually disappeared.

The Japanese did not hurry to take care of their new subjects. Since the Meiji period, clear legal clarifications about the peoples of Hokkaido and Okinawa have been lacking. Legislation recorded the presence in the country of only one nation - the Japanese. The only time the legal act affecting the interests of the Ainu people directly appeared in 1899: the government passed the law "On the protection of the aboriginal population". This document among other things did not allow Ainam to own land. By the way, it is still not canceled and has the force.

Conservation laws

Today, the bulk of the Ainu population, as researcher A.B. Spivakovsky, lives in the southeast of Hokkaido, in the district of Hidake, where more than a third of the ethnic group is concentrated. In Hidaka Ainu live on the Pacific coast (in the villages Molibetsu, Niikanpu. Siidzunay, Mitsuisi, Uranava, Samani, Horoidzumi) and in the interior of the island, mainly in the Saru River Basin (in the villages Saruba, Nibutani, Osatinay, Furenay, Hidaka, Nonnioy , Noyo, Nukibetsu). The rest of the Ainu living in other Hokkaido districts: Ibur (villages Syrah, Azuma, Horobetsu), Oshima (Yakumo village), Gonata (villages Nisshin, Fushiki, Acero, Obihiro, Kushiro (Anai towns, Toro, Kutyaro) Abashiri (villages Abashiri , Bihor), as well as in Asahigava and in a number of villages in other counties. it is a small group of Ainu now lives on Honshu (peninsula shimokita peninsula Aomori Prefecture) in the town of Omagh. in the cities of the Ainu is extremely small, since it is related to their difficulties in device To work: the national question in Japan still exists exists.

The problem of assimilation with the Japanese today is very acute for the Ainu, and some representatives of the ancient people are increasingly eager for national identification. One of the signs of this state of affairs is the emergence and rapid development of the Ainu's own media - newspapers and Internet resources. Of course, while these publications are few, and the circulation and distribution of their distribution is small, but the fact of their existence testifies to a clear understanding of the Ainu's uniqueness and national identity.

The Ainu have two newspapers: the Ainu Times edition in Ainu and the official printed organ of the organization for the protection of the Ainu rights "Utari" "Senkusya no tsudoi" in Japanese. "Ainu Times" is published with 1997 yearly four times a year - in March, June, September and December. However, the desire to preserve national identity, unfortunately, rests on one serious problem. The Ainu did not have their own written language, and the Ainu language is now reproduced in the letter either by the Japanese syllabic "katakana" or by the Latin transliteration. The circulation of the newspaper is very small - only 500 copies, and mostly copies are distributed by subscription. Today, regular subscribers from the newspaper 150. They are mainly scientists, Ainu organizations, libraries of Japanese universities, where Ainu culture is studied. Read "Ainu Times" and in Moscow - the only subscriber of the Ainu version of the newspaper in Russia is the famous ethnographer and culturologist Sergei Arutyunov.

Three months after the publication, the publication is reprinted in Japanese. Publishers do not hide that the Japanese version not only expands the potential readership of the publication, but also helps the Japanese, who wish to join the culture of indigenous islanders, to learn the Ain language independently. In "Ainu Times" there are no clearly formed columns, headings. As they say in the newspaper, the content in this edition is far from the main thing. The main thing is to somehow preserve the Ainu language, its lexical variety. The purpose of the publications is to force the Ainu to read and speak in their native dialect.

The indigenous people of the Japanese islands created not only their own stamp, but also the unique radio "FM Pipausi" (Ef Em Pipausi), the only information medium in the world that broadcasts in Ainu. "FM Pipausi" was formed on the initiative of the same organization "Ainu PEN", which began to publish the newspaper "Ainu Times". In the near future, "Ainu PEN" - the creation of local Ainu television. "FM Pipausi" is aired once a month. You can hear the programs of the first Ainu radio in the vicinity of Sapporo. Broadcast center radio station is located in the town of Biratori in the building of children's library, where a collection of materials about the Ainu and Ainu culture. Once a month the library closes for a while for visitors and turns into a radio studio. On the roof of the library building is installed special equipment resembling a loudspeaker with which the FM Pipausi can be heard in real time on the street without the help of a radio receiver. "FM Pipausi" began work in 2001, and since then never for a long time did not stop its programs.

Trump in the sleeve

The Ain media are unique, and every year they gain all the great popularity in Japan, helping the indigenous people of the Japanese islands not to forget their amazing culture and difficult history. In addition, as the Ainu themselves note, since their newspapers began to cover Ainu issues, to talk about discrimination in society, there were fewer cases of negative attitudes toward Ainus. The national media are also turning to Ainu topics more often. Documentary films about the life of the “natives” have already been aired on the central Japanese TV channels several times, and, according to the Ainu themselves, they were soundly and objectively put together. True, this interest on the part of the National Bolsheviks has a downside: responding to the Ainu’s initiatives, insisting on tolerance, the Japanese government can pursue a specific political goal. It doesn’t matter who and when he discovered the Kuriles, the Japanese or the Russians. The fact that the Ainu are the indigenous people of the Kuril Islands is recognized by both sides, and this historical trump is very useful in territorial disagreements with Russia.

However, in case of the return of Japan at least part of the Kurile Islands, it is unlikely that the Ainu would have been given even a small part of their native land. In addition, it is not known if today's natives could start living in the same conditions as their distant ancestors, because the Ainu went through a complex path of development of their ethnos, almost completely assimilated with the Japanese. Today, almost nothing in their current appearance does not recall the strong, fair-skinned and clear-eyed warriors that they were many centuries ago. Although the most important thing they still retained - their language, their national identity and identity. Let them be small cultural centers, but perhaps in the future this work will bear fruit, and the Ainu will finally be able to say that their rights are fully protected. Meanwhile, the Constitution of the blossoming cherry blossom clearly states that Japan is a mono-national state and all its inhabitants are exclusively Japanese.

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