|Many Thanks for Kind Mails Part-1|
|Let me present a portion of mails received.|
|My response here is being written now, 98/03/05. The response may be different from what I actually sent back to the original sender. Senders' names are abbreviated.|
|Mark in New Zealand wrote:|
I wonder if you can help me please. I am looking for researchers or resources who might help me with my interests in Ainu language words for wildlife species in Hokkaido, and Ainu folk tales concerning wildlife.
I wonder if you might be able to point me in the right direction?
|I referred him to HATTORI Shiro's Dictionary of Ainu Dialects which is divided into such sections as plant names, animal names, social nouns, heaven etc. This dictionary has English entry, which should help English reading researchers. I am also aware of CHIRI Mashio's Categorized Dictionaries, one for plants, another for animals and maybe more. I tend to think these are in Japanese language only, oops, except for Ainu words...|
Michael from Australia gave me a brief yet encouraging line|
i love your web pages
|Sharon from Alaska said:|
I enjoyed reading the article about the Ainu Tribe of Japan. Do you think it is possible they came into Alaska in the early 1900 or earlier?
|Shaun, a high school student in Oregon wrote me:|
I am currently doing a report on the history of kanji and am having much trouble finding info. Thank you very much.
|I'm not certain if I could help him because I found myself totally unaware of reference books written in English.|
Steve sent me this message from Florida.|
I wish to thank you for publishing a concise summary of your studies. I found the Ainu information very interesting, and you have provided me with some resources previously unknown to me.
Most recently I have started reading histories of Japan, which I find most intriguing. Unfortunately, I do neither speak or read Japanese.
Again, I thank you for publishing your studies in this manner.
|His current interest was in literature of relatively later period. I was not a good converser in the matter. Sorry, Steve.|
|Nina was studying linguistics and wrote me as:|
I am writing a research paper (undergraduate) for aWorld Language Communities course. The topic can be anything related to language (for example, language death, language conflict, specific languages, etc.).
After reading an article in the Baltimore Sun regarding first steps of the Japanese legislature in recognizing that the Ainu predated the Yamato race. I have a number of books (none of which have a lot of information), but I would nonetheless like some reactions.
Would you mind e-mailing me your personal reactions, as well as letting me know about any web sites that may be useful to me. The paper is rather short (8-10) pages, and will not, therefore, be in great detail. But I would be very interested in any additional information you could provide.
|[I am copying portions of my reply to her, having attempted to make it shorter.]
If you'd like my "reaction", regarding the recent Japanese governmental recognition of Ainu, my feeling to this event is "better than nothing" but, to me, it looks silly and ridiculous.|
It is very unfortunate or superficial as both Ainu people and the government appear to look at only last 100-200 year period, and limited to the northernmost island, Hokkaido.
As I attempt to describe, we, in general, have to determine more historical basis of present day "Japanese." For example, we often say, "I am a Japanese" or "I am a decendant of Yamato people." Well, I do not know whether or not my grand-grand- grand- grand- anceostors was predating Yamato people and did get married to a Yamato girl or else; or my ancestors came from the "sky" (perhaps from the Korean peninsula). Whether or not my ancestor shares same root with present day Ainu, 1000 years ago, 1200 years ago, or for that matter, 2000 years ago, is unknown. At least for 4 or 5 generations, my family/ancestors claimed we are Japanese, Yamato race.... (Is "Yamato" a race??? doubtful....)
It is really "funny" that some radicals consider our Tennou (emperor) family is "pure Japanese, if one think about our current Tennou's 120+ generations before (Ninigi no Mikoto) married to a native girl, Konohana Sakuya Hime (princess). Their son married to a native girl, Toyo Tama Hime. Their son married to Toyo Tama Hime's sister, Tama Yori Hime. Their son (who became the first emperor, Jinmu) married first to a native girl called Ahiratsu Hime in Kyushu, and nextly Hime Tatara Isuzu Hime of Osaka native.
Original Ninigi blood of the Tennou familiy has become 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16,,,,,, minimal by now... Majority of his blood can be said of the "native" blood, if the family married to native girls so many generations.
OK, let's say OK, so far. An important question is whether the ancient native, as represented by Kono Hana Sakuya Hime or other princess, is also the ancestor of present day Ainu. We do not know the answer for sure, as yet. I believe Yes.
Therefore, some of a same blood complex people think they are Yamato and call others Ainu. Isn't is ridiculous? It is, to me. Therefore, one oppressing the other party, both "same race", it's nothing different from any government oppressing resisting faction of same people.
I'm afraid I may have gone a little too far. This is my reaction to the parliamentary move toward recognizing Ainu people. Remember, please, that there is NO OTHER persons who positively agree to my view, to my knowledge.
|Nina came back with a good news!|
Thanks for your e-mail. For your information--I got an A on my paper about the Ainu. It was really interesting to research and write. Actually, I used a lot of quotes from the man who opened the Ainu language schools and started the museum--Kayano Shigeru. I don't have time to visit your web page right now, but I will check it out this weekend. Thanks again!
|Don in Michigan and I started exchanging mails about Ural-Altai languages.|
Thank you for the well-researched information on your Ainu web site. I find your opinion most interesting regarding Ainu origins, i.e. that their blood type has no Caucasoid characteristics but rather is typical to Mongolian peoples. A strong argument for Asian origins, I would agree. However, because of the very obvious non-Mongolian physical differences the Ainu display (extreme hirsutism and Caucasoid-like facial features, to mention just two) I have tended to the opinion that these people may instead be proto-Caucasoids. Have you considered this as a possibility? Are you familiar with any research which might support this? (If proto-Caucasoid, how the Ainu came to be situated in Asia and in the Japanese islands is, of course, another matter.)
As to language, I am interested as to any possible Ainese connections with Finnish, a member of the Finno-Ugric group of the Ural-Altaic language family. Are their any similar grammar elements? Are their any common words? Is there anything at all about Ainese which might point to a possible common origin? Or is Ainese simply what it appears to be, a survival language in the same way Basque is?
|Evert asked a few questions.|
Some friend of mine were interested in the origins of the Ainu people: Are they pure Chinese/mongolian or are there indo-europian traces as well? We are currently discussing the indo-europian traces in Asia, so we like to know if there are some indo-europian language traces in the Ainu language.
|Palapa wrote me that:|
As a high school student in the process of composing a didactic poster about the Ainu for my Asian Studies class I found this statement interesting. Because as you stated most articles I have found claim the Ainu are caucasian. Your web pages have provided me with up to date information and I appreciate it. Thank you.
|James sent in following message.|
In my college days(cira "69"), I did a study of the origin of man. I researched Africa, but came upon the race of people called the Ainu. My research led me to believe that these people migrated from the Bering Strait. What are your findings?
I now have students that want to know who came first, people of color or Caucasian.The answer is evident...I need more proof. Also, in religion, whose concept of the first man and woman on the earth is more accurate, that of Izanami and Izanagi or Adam and Eve. Your help would be greatly appreciated.
|I have been led to believe that the direction of man's movement across Berling Strait was from west to east, or from Siberia to Alaska. Inuit is believed to have originated in the Asian continent.|
I'm not sure if "the answer is evident." However, "playing" aruond with the Gm blood type studies is interesting. Please refer to Page 7a. More on Gm blood type. As regards the accuracy about stories about first man and woman, I have not studied.
|William sent me the following mail.|
With apologies, I admit to reading just parts of your paper, but would like to note the following:
1. I have found references to Ainu usually describing them as Caucasian. At this late stage, and after generations of admixture, is it reliable to use blood types to settle this issue? The photos I have seen suggest that Ainu are indistinguishable from modern Japanese.
2. Have you investigated the appearance of Jomon pottery near the coast of Ecuador dating from a period around 300 BC? This closely matches the time of incursion you mention that occurred in Japan.
Thanks for the page. I'll visit some more.
|Since the "blood type" I referred to is not that as usually meant, i.e., A, B, AB, O types. But, rather, the bloodtypes of Gm genes of which about 10 types have been found and they have been found to point races quite vividly. Please refer to Page 7a. Regarding the point 2. above, yes I have read about it. Also, a few potteries resembling to Jomon pottery have been found in the south pacific islands. Meaning of the findings is yet to be estalished, in my eyes.|
I search the Web every 6 months or so for new Ainu references. This is my first visit to your site, and I think you have done a great job. Since I just got started reading, I can't comment in-depth. I can only say that your site is informative, and I like your writing style. I will write more later.
|A note from "lab 3" of a school in California.|
Hi, we like your web sites. There is everything hear we need.
William in Illinois wrote me as follows.|
just wanted to let you know i appreciate your history on the ainu ->japanese language ...
i am currently doing research for a "language and culture" class. originally i wanted to do the evolution of kanji over time but could not find any source material.
at any rate, your aritcles are very interesting. thank you.
|I was not able to help him; reference books written in English are something foreign for me.... sigh.|
|Marko sent in the first ever mail from Croatia for me.|
a word of encouragement from Croatia
|Janet in Tokyo wrote me: I enjoyed reading your homepage. I don't agree with all of your ideas about the Ainu language.|
|Well, I'd appreciate specific critics that will help my further study. Thanks|
I have been reading the brief history that you have compiled on the Ainu, and I would like to know more about this group of people. I am, however, working within a tight framework, and need to find material quickly. I need more general history, and a reading bibliography. If you could help with either of these needs I would greatly appreciate it.
|robert in San Diego sent me following comments.|
Fascinating material. The compositions were enthralling and the historical info and perspective on the nature of things Japanese and Ainu were very interesting and well presented. I will be visiting often!
It is a fascinating topic to me, Most folks have been exposed to the idea that thet Ainu represent a caucasoid or proto-caucasoid group. Although I would not be surprised to find that the Japanese and Ainu share stock, historical evidence suggest that certain characteristics of mongoloid races, such as the so-called "mongolian birthmark", were previously absent in full blooded Ainu.
|I was not aware of the "historical evidence" as above and I asked robert to guide me on this subject.|