Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good news for the Ainu

On June 6th, the Japanese Diet passed a resolution officially recognizing the Ainu, the native people of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, as an indigenous people.

The act has stirred some debate in Japan, which has long seen itself as a nation of just one ethnicity.

Sadly, it comes at a time when the Ainu have largely been assimilated into the larger Japanese culture; there are few surviving speakers of the Ainu language.


Late 19th century photo of Ainu from the collection of Flickr user Okinawa Soba (used under Creative Commons License).

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