Many Thanks for Kind Mails Part-4

orig: 98/09/05
Thank you for continuous flow of E-mails, Friends.
Let me present a portion of mails received.
My response here may not be identical to what I actually wrote back originally. Senders' names are abbreviated.

Tom said:

I enjoyed reading your website. I am tracing the influence of the Ainu people on the Tlingit Nation of Southeast Alaska. In particular the Teikwei Dee Tanta Kwaan. A people known as the Bear Clan. I have been told by a respected elder that there are similar words in the Tlingit and Northern Hokaido Ainu/Japanese languages.

Our stories tell of a man and his three sons who were saved from the world flood by a raven. Have you heard of such a legend?

Do you know of the supposed linguistic anthropological link between the Ainu and the Basque? Is it true?

It's fascinating to find a person who is looking into this matter, Ainu and Inuit or people in the Americas. I once tried to study Inuit language but stopped as I failed in finding any similarity to Ainu (or Japanese.) If you do not mind sharing any of your findings so far, I'd appreciate. The words "Ainu" and "Inuit", both meaning a man or a person, are the ONLY similarity, faint as it is,,, I've collected.

To my knowledge, there is no "flood legend" in Ainu. However, "raven",is an interesting match. Ainu considers that a raven (a crow) leads you to a place where an animal is for people to hunt. Also it is a bird that led the Japanese first emperor, Jinmu, to ememy place. In Ainu language, "paskur" which means a crow also means "running person". I suspect that the Ainu belief in crow influenced the Jinmu legend in which "paskur" actually was a running person, a pilot, a guide.

As to Ainu and Basque relationship, I am highly suspicious, doubtful of the thuoght. However, I have not much knowledge of Basque, language or people. Aren't they "white" people? Ainu is not. Of course, race and language do not sometimes match (Africans in the US speaking Americanized English.) However, initial start can be in the premise that a people is a group of individuals who share same language and similar culture. I once visited a URL where Ainu - Basque similarity is presented, word by word. It was not persuasive at all, in my impression.

Very first step of language family searching should be from geographically nearby ones. That is, for Japanese, Ainu should be more and more studied. For Ainu, Japanese should be studied, vice versa.

Monique said:

Interesting and reasonably clear... Especially likes the links to pottery photos. Have read a little about Ainu before, not much; gather from your site that there is some controversy and political assumptions underlying the "history" of "Japan." You are very fair and clear when you disagree with the reigning "authorities" and put forth your own views. It seems that the purpose to your analysis and research, that is, what interests you, is the history of the Ainu. Is this correct? ... The survival of different words through time and into a subsequent historical era and into "another" language has always interested me; as the only language I know well is English, it was mostly English I has thought about. It's cool to find through your site that amateur folks all over the world look at words the way I do at times; e.g., as historical evidence of peoples and events we cannot know in any other fashion. Thanks for all your hard work!

Yes, I'm interested in history. History of ancient Japan, people AND language.

Historical FACTS are usually INTERPRETATIONS. Which interpretation is/looks more likely, or appears more consistent with other findings, would be the task of study.

Ken wrote me:

I was just surfing around on the net when I came up onto your cool homepage. You have done a very good job. I really enjoyed how you laid out your graphics and your use of color. There are so many bad sites out on the internet that is is a true joy to surf up to a really nice one like yours! I liked the links that you had chosen as well as the actual content of your own homepage as well. Keep up the good work, it is appreciated! You have given me some good ideas on how a good site should be laid out!!

Thank you so much for your kind words about my homepage.I really wish that scholars of ancient history and scholars of ancient languages and scholars of Ainu-ology meet with their professional foundations...

As I (may have) admitted, my pages are full of texts with no graphic representation. So, I attempted to use lots of table formats. With different background colors on tables, reader-friendliness may be enhanced.

Kris brought a "wild idea":

Just to throw another Idea your way in reference to the origin of the Ainu and language! I was asked by an old timer to get information on the Ainu for him and I have been able to find some information on various pages, now he has this Idea that the Ainu might have originated from the vikings and in particular the dissapearance of the early Greenland settlements?? This is about as far fetched as you can get but sometime the most absurd idea is worth having a look at.

With practically no information on my side as regards the thought, I'd refrain from making comments... Best I can say would be that I've never seen such theory, much less foundations...

Another far fetched tale is to associate Ainu with Basque. I'd rather start from vicinity... Thank you.

Allan from Canada wrote:
Dear scholar of the Ainu,

(Near Vancouver) there are many totem poles in a park. I go there often, and assumed they were all from northern aboriginal peoples of Canada. One day I went there with a visitor familiar with Japanese culture. She told me: "Oh. Those totems are Japanese". I read the description and, indeed, they were Ainu, a gift from our sister city in Japan.

Similarities to our own native totem poles made me wonder about anthropolgical similarities between the Ainu and the circumpolar northern peoples. Particularly since some of our peoples call themselves "Innu", and others Inuit.

I was fascinated by your web page, as I learned of similarities in blood group and language with other peoples like the Austronesian. My question is whether the Ainu have words, practices, or blood groups in common with the circumpolar aboriginal peoples?

PS Many of your readers would also be interested in knowing more about the person who created such a detailed, careful and fascinating collection of information about the Ainu. Perhaps it is time to add a section: "About the writer"?

Thank you for your kind E-mail.
I with my family have visited Stanley Park where there are also a number of totem poles. It was some 8-9 years ago. We also stretched our ways to Banf, Kananaskis, Victoria Glacier etc. In another occasion, my son and I went to White Horse from where we drove to Yukon/Alaska and back. What a nice country you people have there !

To my knowledge, Ainu do not have (at least, do not inherit, if previously had) a totem pole. I wonder if the one in (the) park (you described) presented by Ainu is just a diplomatic (friendly) sign, to share a "norther people feeling", yet not based on archeological or other academic foundation.

"Totemism" is said to be able to be observed almost worldwide, according to an Encyclopedia. Here again, depending on the definition of the word, totemism, the matter shows different picture. To me, a totem pole reminds Korean gate poles which are often flat, rather than round. Typically, a pair of the poles reads something like "Great General of Heaven" on one (left) side and "Great General of Hades" on the other. This (the culture of the pole in Korea) could date back quite old. (Without referring to books, it could date back about 2,000 years.)

If not because of totem pole studies, but from other anthropological and archeological findings, northern Asiatic people (perhaps Paleo-Mongoloid) proceeded to Alaska from Siberia via Berlinger (a contiguous region that includes Eastern Siberia, Alaska and Western Canada. The Berling Straight became a straight say 12,000 years ago.)

I have an "impression" that Ainu is a branch of Paleo-Mongoloid, that Autstralian aborigine is another branch of Paleo-Mongoloid and that "Indians" in Americas are yet another branch of Peleo-Mongoloid. To this extent, Ainu and Canadian predecessors can share some thing.

However, for example, in language, there is a study (assumption) that a language experiences "wear and tear" of vocabulary at the rate of 20% per 1,000 years. If you apply the rate to 12,000 years, only 7% of original words would be preserved today. Application of this theory for two languages departing from a same mother tongue (and evolve independent of the other language) goes like this. As language A would preserve only 7% of original words and language B (both languages deriving out of a same language) would preserve 7% of original words. Therefore, there would be only 0.07 * 0.07 = 0.5% of vocaburaly may be common between the two language, 12,000 years after departure.

The math tells us that unfortunately comparison of Canadian ancestor language with Ainu would produce nothing, if they departed that many years ago. Perhaps, more similarity can be found between today's Japanese and today's English.

As for the Gm blood types, I added a bar graph for Eskimo in Alaska in the Page 7a. As you can see there, Ainu and Eskimo people have 4 "colors". Both do NOT have "white, black or gray" colors. Therefore, Eskimo, Ainu and Japanese show similar mixture of 4 colors. (Since Dr. Matsumoto's book uses the word "Eskimo", I followed.)

There could be various interpretations, however, my interpretation is that Eskimo, Ainu and Japanese (as measured today/recently) are based on Paleo-Mongoloid (blue + green, the purest of which is aborigine) to which Neo-Mongoloid element (yellow) was added; and southern element (red) was added. When or sequence of yellow and red is not known (nor studied) by me.

Caveat about Matsumoto-san's study is that the blood type distribution is that of relatively very recent. That is a result of mixtures that have taken place over years or centuries. It does not directly tell the sequence of the mixture.

Thank you for your kind suggestion about writing on myself. However, I am simply an amateur student (learning myself), not much to tell about myself...

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