The Ainu: Japan's Native People

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THE AINU: JAPANíS NATIVE PEOPLE Before migrating groups arrived from the Asian mainland, the Ainu occupied most of the Japanese islands. Gradually, the newcomers conquired and absorbed the Ainu and became the main body of the Japanese people. Today, fewer than 20,000 Ainu survive as a distinct cultural group, living mainly on the northern island of Hokkaido. Through intermarriage, they are rapidly being assimilated into the larger culture. Pure-blooded Ainu are rare. Many anthropologists place …

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…the left side (shiso) of the fireplace. The pregnant woman gave birth while holding on to an "over-the-shoulder" rope (a rope for delivery) hanging from an overhead beam. Another woman who had given birth delivered the child. While the pregnant woman was giving birth, even her husband and children were required to go outside. At the fireside, an elder supplicated various gods, including those of fire, birth, entrances and lavatories, for easy delivery. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ **Bibliography**