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Japanese & Ainu

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  • h_fr34k
    Hi, I m a bit confused here. I was told that the Ainu are the original japanese (mostly from heresay). Then, from a site, the japanese today is derived from
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 3 11:21 AM
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      Hi,
      I'm a bit confused here. I was told that the Ainu are the original japanese (mostly from heresay). Then, from a site, the japanese today is derived from the Yayoi which immigrates to japan in 2000 BC, which replaces the Jomon. Then, from another site, I found that the samurai sword was 1st designed in the 8th century AD, mostly for the purpose of battling the Ainu. What is the real story of the Ainu? If the Ainu is the original japanese, then where's the link with the Jomon? Does the Ainu was the descendants of the Jomon, which then battled upon by the descendant of the Yayoi, and lead to the invention of the samurai?

      TIA
    • Anthony J. Bryant
      ... A lot of it depends on what you consider original. The Ainu, too, came from somewhere. The Ainu seem related to Inui/Siberian tribes, so their migration
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 3 11:36 AM
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        h_fr34k wrote:

        > Hi,
        > I'm a bit confused here. I was told that the Ainu are the original japanese (mostly from heresay). Then, from a site, the japanese today is derived from the Yayoi which immigrates to japan in 2000 BC, which replaces the Jomon.

        A lot of it depends on what you consider "original." The Ainu, too, came from somewhere. The Ainu seem related to Inui/Siberian tribes, so their migration to Japan was from the north, through the Kuriles and Hokkaido. The Jomon/Yayoi culture seem to have come from the Asian continent via the southern connections -- Korea and Manchuria. But the Ainu were never the "dominant" culture in the home islands. When you encounter accounts of battles between the court forces and the Emishi, you're seeing a battle between *political* forces; the Emishi were culturally more or less identical to the dominant Japanese (aka "Yamato")
        race -- the issue was that they didn't want to submit to the national unification, and attempted to remain tribal or clan-based and independent of the court.

        > Then, from another site, I found that the samurai sword was 1st designed in the 8th century AD, mostly for the purpose of battling the Ainu.

        You need to find a better site. <G>

        The Japanese sword developed over a long time; what we consider the "traditional" shape depends on the fact that people using it were mounted warriors who used it as a slashing weapon, hence the subtle curve (easier to draw a long curved sword than a long straight one) and the single edge. Development depended on how the weapons were used, not on whom they were used.

        > What is the real story of the Ainu? If the Ainu is the original japanese, then where's the link with the Jomon? Does the Ainu was the descendants of the Jomon, which then battled upon by the descendant of the Yayoi, and lead to the invention of the samurai?
        >

        Whole books and theses have been written on these subjects. Samurai, of course, had nothing to do with Ainu, being as they were a development of the military policies of the Imperial state.


        Effingham
      • Ii Saburou
        ... As I understand it (and early Japanese history is not my forte) there were several people living in Japan prior to the people that would, eventually,
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 3 11:40 AM
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          On Sun, 3 Feb 2002, h_fr34k wrote:

          > Hi, I'm a bit confused here. I was told that the Ainu are the original
          > japanese (mostly from heresay). Then, from a site, the japanese today is
          > derived from the Yayoi which immigrates to japan in 2000 BC, which
          > replaces the Jomon. Then, from another site, I found that the samurai
          > sword was 1st designed in the 8th century AD, mostly for the purpose of
          > battling the Ainu. What is the real story of the Ainu? If the Ainu is
          > the original japanese, then where's the link with the Jomon? Does the
          > Ainu was the descendants of the Jomon, which then battled upon by the
          > descendant of the Yayoi, and lead to the invention of the samurai?
          >
          As I understand it (and early Japanese history is not my forte) there were
          several people living in Japan prior to the people that would, eventually,
          become the 'Japanese'. These latest arrivals still had some connection
          with Korea, I believe, but set up their own government in the Yamato area,
          near Nara, IIRC. They expanded from there, and seemed to have conquered
          the people to their west, first, which I believe were mostly the early
          Jomon cultures (Jomon, btw, refers to the rope imprinted pottery of the
          people of this time). Once that was done, they consentrated more on the
          east, although I don't know when they finally took northern Japan. Even
          in late period, Edo was mostly a swampy area, and I always got the
          impression that the Tohoku area north of Tokyo used to be the 'barbarian'
          lands (which are the barbarians the Shogun was supposed to conquer).

          The Ainu were one of the people--the Emishi--that lived in the northern
          Tohoku and southern Hokkaido region. Of all of the original peoples of
          Japan, they are the only ones that are still around in a noticeable
          fashion, I believe, since Hokkaido wasn't conquered until sometime after
          the 17th Century, I believe.

          Basically, just like there were different groups in England before the
          Normans came, and there were many different nations of Native Americans, I
          have always been under the impression that there were different peoples of
          Japan; it wasn't until the Yamato people, who became the modern Japanese,
          took over the islands that it came under the rule of one people.

          This is how I understood things from what I've read, but I may need to go
          back and read it again.

          -Ii
        • Anthony J. Bryant
          ... No, because after the 9th century there *were* no more Emishi. There were Ainu, however. The first contact Europeans had with the Ainu was in the late
          Message 4 of 5 , Feb 3 11:52 AM
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            Ii Saburou wrote:

            > Found this site, it might be of interest to some:
            >
            > http://www.isn.ne.jp/~suzutayu/MHJapan/
            >
            > Hmmm, a 16th Century Ainu persona would be an interesting development.
            >
            > Do we know if Europe ever had contact with the Emishi?

            No, because after the 9th century there *were* no more Emishi. There were
            Ainu, however. <G>

            The first contact Europeans had with the Ainu was in the late 17th or 18th
            century, when Russian explorers started moving east and south into the
            Kuriles.


            Effingham
          • Ii Saburou
            Found this site, it might be of interest to some: http://www.isn.ne.jp/~suzutayu/MHJapan/ Hmmm, a 16th Century Ainu persona would be an interesting
            Message 5 of 5 , Feb 3 11:54 AM
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              Found this site, it might be of interest to some:

              http://www.isn.ne.jp/~suzutayu/MHJapan/


              Hmmm, a 16th Century Ainu persona would be an interesting development.

              Do we know if Europe ever had contact with the Emishi?

              -Ii
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