THE AINU

The Ainu

Pushed north by the Japanese people over the last 2,000 years, the remaining Ainu—the original inhabitants of Japan—today live principally on the island of Hokkaido. Though a great deal of assimilation has occurred, the Ainu are physically and culturally distinct from ethnic Japanese. They have paler skin and more hair. Their religion is animistic and centers on a bear cult. The virtually extinct Ainu language has no known relationship to any other language. Where might they have originated? More… Discuss

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