Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beautiful Ainu

This is a photo of an Ainu man from The Boone Collection, Image Gallery: Ainu Artifacts, www.fieldmuseum.org. Being Japanese, I am personally very saddened by Japan's history of racism against the Ainu people, the original inhabitants of Japan, the people who are also now thought to be, at least in part, our ancestral heritage (although this is still a controversial topic).

Here's another photo of an Ainu man from the Ainu Museum (image source: BBC). This man actually looks a lot like my grandfather, from the side of my family that tends to be wavy-haired. But I don't have to be Ainu to see myself and many of my own family's faces in these old photographs which I'm grateful to have found online. I'm glad Japan has taken steps to begin the healing process, and I hope to learn more about their beautiful, unique culture.

An Ainu girl with traditional lip tattoo

Related links:

Recognition at last for Japan's Ainu - by Philippa Fogarty, BBC News Friday, 6 June 2008

Japan's Suppression of Ainu Moshiri - Ainu Association of Hokkaido Sapporo, Hokkaido

Who are the Ainu? - www.dumbotaku.com

Ainu bear sacrifice. Japanese painting 1870 - Wikimedia Commons