Art Ethnic title Few foreign tourist History

THE indigenous people of Japan Ainu

投稿日:2020年5月8日 更新日:

Hokkaido Museum is a great place to learn about the history of the Ainu


Ainu are indigenous peoples living in Hokkaido, living with nature and having their own culture. “Ainu” means “human being” in the Ainu language. One of the purposes of this trip was to learn about the Ainu culture.
About 150 years ago, the Japanese government opened Hokkaido.
I want know about the indigenous people’s outrage against the Japanese government.

A tragic history of indigenous peoples remains around the world.
Japan has a similar history in Hokkaido and Okinawa.
I think it is important to know them.

The Ainu life and culture are displayed in an easy to understand way.

Ainu with a unique lifestyle and religion. They had no written culture, so they inherited the culture by oral tradition. Nowadays there are many documents for the preservation of culture. There are also interesting folk tales and myths. Various gods such as owls, foxes, bears, orcas, salmon, poisonous mushrooms, mugwort, and fire are written.


Hokkaido Museum
address:53-2 Atsubetsu-cho, Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (May to Sept.)
9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Oct. to April)
Please enter by 30 minutes before the museum closes.
Closed : Every Monday

The Ainu religion is Aminism.

When I talk about religion with foreign friends, I often hear that “My country was also aminism in ancient times.”
When living in harmony with nature, aminism occurs.
That’s natural.

The above picture is a trap to catch small animals

The Ainu people lived on hunting, gathering and fishing.
Preserved foods are well developed because the winters in Hokkaido are extremely cold and harsh. Each family had two years of food stored.
They also traded. The main exports were fur and dried fish.

The Bear hunting
Bear hunting was to get the fur for trade goods.
Bears are one of the important gods for the Ainu.
It is contradictory but human.

Bear hunting is done in winter.
They aimed for hibernation.
The bears fur is bushy in winter time and they can catch it safely.
Stand a stake at the entrance to the burrow and shoot a poisoned arrow.
When they find a baby bear, they take it back to their village.

Care for the cubs but kill and dismantle them a few years later.
God turned into a bear and came to the village to play.
And only that soul is returned to the world of God.
The idea is that the body of a bear is a gift from God to people.
When killing a bear, they perform a ritual to see off the soul of God.

This is the home of the Ainu.
They live in families, but when their families grow too large, their eldest son leaves. On the mainland, it is a system where the eldest son takes over the family. I was impressed with the system of the Ainu family. I thought it was rational.

There are very easy-to-understand exhibits and explanations.
If you are interested in ethnology, please visit this museum.
I took a bus from JR Shin-Sapporo Station between New Chitose Airport and JR Sapporo Station. The flight back to Osaka was in the evening, so I visited the Hokkaido Museum in the morning and then went to the airport.

See you on our next trip!

-Art, Ethnic title, Few foreign tourist, History



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