Ainu People

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"Ainu" means "human." The Ainu people regard things useful to them or beyond their control as "kamuy"(gods). In daily life, they prayed to and performed various ceremonies for the gods. These gods include : "nature" gods, such as of fire, water, wind and thunder ; "animal" gods, such as of bears, foxes, spotted owls and gram-puses ; "plant" gods, such as of aconite, mush-room and mugwort ; "object" gods, such as of boats and pots ; and gods which protect houses, gods of mountains and gods of lakes. The word "Ainu" refers to the opposite of these gods. - From Ainu Museum
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9 Amazing Things About the Ainu People __ Learn about nine customs and traditions of the Ainu People. - From -

Ainu __ A cultural overview. - illustrated - From -

Ainu Background and History __ Learn about Ainu history, view Ainu artifacts, and find an interactive map of Ainu origins. - illustrated - From -  

The Ainu of Japan __ "The Ainu (n) aborigines of Northern Japan are heavily bearded and have thick wavy hair. Their both mix of European and Asian physical traits contrast so sharply from other indigenous peoples of Asia that no one is really sure of their origin." Excellent article. - From -


The Ainu of Japan: The History, Culture, and Discrimination Against this Aboriginal Group __ You will find a multi-page article addressing all the issues in the title. - From Thomason -  

Ainu language and Japan's Ancient History __ You will find a collection of click-to-read papers, articles and more about the history and origins of the Ainu. - From -

Ainu Legends __ "The Ainu believe that the world rests on the back of a giant trout, that otters caused human beings to be flawed, and that seeing an owl fly across the face of the moon at night is cause for great trepidation."  Click on the animal images to access the legends. - illustrated - From PBS -  

Ainu Lifestyle and Ainu Artifacts __ An article about the Ainu lifestyle and a gallery of 60 photos of carved wood objects, clothing, jewelry, scabbards, harpoons, other hunting equipment, and more. - illustrated - From -

The Ainu Museum __ An online exhibit about the Ainu people covering everything from agricultural history, eating habits, clothing and history to oral history. - illustrated - From The Ainu Museum - 


Ainu people __ "...ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaidō, the Kuril Islands, and much of Sakhalin. There are most likely over 150,000 Ainu today;..."  An encyclopedic article with links to additional material. - illustrated - From wikipedia - 

Ainu: Spirit of a Northern People __ "In 1999, the National Museum of Natural History opened a major exhibition to explore the ancient origin of the Ainu, their evolving relations with the Japanese, and the 20th century Ainu cultural rebirth. The exhibition is now available as an online tour, guided by the exhibition curators." However, it seems only the 'plain text' version of things is working. Still a lot of information. - From Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History -
Introduction __ A history of the Ainu and the Ainu language. You will find speculation about the Ainu origins. - From Dr. Cynthia L. Hallen/BYU - 

Learn To Speak Ainu __ A collection of Ainu to English words and phrases. - From Arabia Times Magazine - 


Island of the Spirits | Ainu Legends __ "The Ainu believe that the world rests on the back of a giant trout, that otters caused human beings to be flawed, and that seeing an owl fly across the face of the moon at night is cause for great trepidation." Learn about this and a lot more. - illustrated - From NOVA - 

Island of the Spirits | Origins of the Ainu __ Learn about an archaeological technique called "flotation" and how this method of research is narrowing the search for the origins of the Ainu. - illustrated - From NOVA - 

Kutune Shirka, Arthur Waley tr. __ Online text of the Ainu Epic. - From -


Origins of the Ainu __ An in depth look at the origins of the Ainu including archaeological evidence and much more as only PBS can do it. - illustrated - From PBS -

Photographs of Ainu People __ Gallery of click-to-enlarge photos, pictures of Ainu People. - illustrated - From -  

Specimens of Ainu Folk-lore - Index __ Online texts of many Ainu fold tales. - From John Batchelor/ -

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