Ainu Culture Essay

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David Taylor Hawaii Pacific University Professor Poe Anthropology – 2000 30 Nov 2013 Ainu People Ainu in the native tongue means “human” and in Japanese it is “Ezo.” They live on the island of Hokkaido, the most northern island of Japan, second largest to the main island Honshu. Could this protective archipelago surrounded by ocean preserve a civilization for over 10,000 years? Well the Ainu are arguably the direct decedents of the well published Jomon who lived throughout Japan. Jomon means corded marked, a name archeologist attributed to a civilization for the construction style of their pottery, which dates to the Neolithic revolution. The Ainu, however, maintain hunting and gathering as a primary means, agriculture is only to supplement their diet. It is arguable that some Jomon made life changes and took on agriculture while intermixing with the new migrants who brought this knowledge from mainland, Asia, the Yayoi. The intermixing of Yayoi and Jomon is believed to be what modern Japanese are. As political tides change throughout time the Ainu were washed to the bottom of a modernizing society and pressed to move north. “In any event it seems clear that the Yayoi people are the descendents of the vast majority of present-day Japanese. At first the Yayoi lived primarily on the southern island of Kyushu, but eventually they moved northward onto the main island of Honshu, conquering, assimilating, or driving out the previous inhabitants of the area, some of whose descendants , known as the Ainu.” (Duiker, 2007) “A 600 year old DNA correlation with modern Ainu and mummified Jomon confirm this. The conventional dual-structure model has long argued that modern Ainu are direct descendants of a single, Pleistocene human lineage from Southeast Asia, namely the Jomon people.” “In contrast, recent evidence from archaeological, anthropological and genetic
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