Articles about Ainu people from NATIVE-L on NativeNet http://nativenet.uthscsa.edu/archive/nl/ainu.html
About the Ainu Languagehttp://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/cultural/oldworld/asia/ainu_lang...
The Ainu did not have a written language until the modern period; therefore, they did not have any written histories.
There are various kinds of songs, myths, stories, and knowledge of rituals among Ainu people and all of them have been handed down from generation to generation as part of an oral tradition. >>http://www.ethnologue.com/http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=AIN
Population 15 active speakers (1996 Alexander Vovin).
In the ethnic group: 15,000 in Japan.
Population total both countries 15. ??
Region Kuril Islands (Tsishima), Hokkaido.
Formerly also on south Sakhalin Island, Russia
. Also spoken in Russia (Asia).
Alternate names AINU ITAK
Dialects TSISHIMA, SAKHALIN.
Classification Language Isolate.
The last speaker of Sakhalin dialect died in 1994. There were at least 19 dialects. Bilingualism in Japanese. Most of the people speak only Japanese and are integrated into Japanese culture.
The Ainu in China is a different, unrelated language. SOV. Nearly extinct. NT 1897. <<
Ainu has not been determined to be related linguistically to any other language.
The Smithsonian Institute Ainu Exhibit http://www.mnh.si.edu/arctic/features/ainu/
In 1999, the National Museum of Natural History opened
a major exhibition to explore the ancient origin of the Ainu,
their evolving relations with the Japanese, and the
20th century Ainu cultural rebirth.
The exhibition is now available as an online tour, guided by the exhibition curators.
Japan Local Government Center
This is an article about the Ainu people. http://www.jlgc.org/jlgcnews/025/ainu.htm
About ten thousand years ago, people lived in the northern part of Japan who were ethnically distinct from the rest of the Japan-ese population.
These people were named "Ainu," meaning human being or male in their own Ainu language. They were generally assumed to be descendants of an ancient peo-ple referred to as Emishi in the famous Japan-ese chronicles called "Kojiki" and "Nihon-syoki." Today, the term Ainu is used to denote the indigenous people of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, as a single, integrated population.
Ainu culture reached its height in the 13th and 14th centuries. Fostering a symbiotic relationship with nature, the traditional Ainu lifestyle was supported by hunting, fishing and gathering. Village communities (kotan) were located along river banks and near game trails to take advantage of water and food resources. Ainu religious beliefs centered around the existence of another world of spirit essences subject to the same forces that con-trol the visible world. The people worshipped animal gods, especially the bear, with ritual, song and dance.
Even the Ainu language was unusual. Although they possessed no system of writing, they created a rich oral tradition of stories and poems expressed in formal prose and verse.
I remember seeing photos of a ritual bear hunt with bow and arrowhttp://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8...http://images.google.com/images?svnum=100&hl=en&lr=&...
some images shoiw more body hair than usual amongst Japanesehttp://www.ainu-museum.or.jp/english/eng09.htmlhttp://www.ainu-museum.or.jp/http://www.ainu-museum.or.jp/english/english.html
the same life style as north europeans when the ice retreated 8000 years ago