|First Lieutenant Tsurumi will scold me!
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The Ainu are an indigenous ethnic group of northern Japan and Russia (Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands, Khabarovsk Krai and the Kamchatka Peninsula). They have their own lifestyle, customs, traditions, and language. As an ethnos, the Ainu can be separated into three distinct groups: Hokkaido Ainu, Karafuto Ainu, and Chishima Ainu.
The Ainu are the native people of Hokkaido, Sakhalin, and the Kurils. The Ainu have often been considered to descend from the diverse Jōmon people, who lived in northern Japan from the Jōmon period. Early Ainu-speaking groups (mostly hunters and fishermen) migrated also into the Kamchatka Peninsula and into Honshu, where their descendants are today known as the Matagi hunters, which still use a large amount of Ainu vocabulary in their dialect. Other evidence for Ainu-speaking hunters and fishermen migrating down from northern Hokkaido into Honshu is through the Ainu toponyms which are found in several places of northern Honshu, mostly among the western coast and the Tōhoku region. Evidence for Ainu-speakers in the Amur region is found through Ainu loanwords in the Uilta and Ulch people.
Active contact between the Wajin (the ethnically Japanese, also known as Yamatojin) and the Ainu of Ezogashima (now known as Hokkaido) began in the 13th century. The Ainu formed a society of hunter-gatherers, surviving mainly by hunting and fishing. They followed a religion which was based on natural phenomena. The Ainu culture expanded during the period from the 15th to the 18th centuries.
At the beginning of the 15th century, Japan intensified its influence to the south of Hokkaido, first in Esashi and Matsue, and soon after, the Japanese began colonization of the territory of the Ainu people. The Ainu resisted Japanese oppression between, and the disputes between the Japanese and Ainu developed into large-scale violence, Koshamain's War, in 1456.
During the Edo period (1601–1868) the Ainu, who controlled Hokkaido, became increasingly involved in trade with the Japanese. The feudal government granted the Matsumae clan exclusive rights to trade with the Ainu in the northern part of the island. Later, the Matsumae began to lease out trading rights to Japanese merchants, and contact between Japanese and Ainu became more extensive. Throughout this period Ainu groups competed with each other to import goods from the Japanese, and epidemic diseases such as smallpox reduced the population.
Although the increased contact created by the trade between the Japanese and the Ainu contributed to increased mutual understanding, it also led to conflict which occasionally intensified into violent Ainu revolts. The most important was Shakushain's Revolt (1669–1672), an Ainu rebellion against Japanese authority. Another large-scale revolt by Ainu against Japanese rule was the Menashi-Kunashir Rebellion in 1789.
From 1799 to 1806, the shogunate took direct control of southern Hokkaido. Ainu men were deported to merchant subcontractors for five and ten-year terms of service, and were enticed with rewards of food and clothing if they agreed to drop their native language and culture and become Japanese. Ainu women were separated from their husbands and forcibly married to Japanese merchants and fishermen, who were told that a taboo forbade them from bringing their wives to Hokkaido. Women were often tortured if they resisted rape by their new Japanese husbands, and frequently ran away into the mountains. These policies of family separation and forcible assimilation, combined with the impact of smallpox, caused the Ainu population to drop significantly in the early 19th century.
The beginning of the Meiji Restoration in 1868 proved a turning point for Ainu culture. The Japanese government introduced a variety of social, political, and economic reforms in hope of modernizing the country in the Western style. One innovation involved the annexation of Hokkaido. In 1899, the Japanese government passed an act labelling the Ainu as "former aborigines", with the idea they would assimilate—this resulted in the Japanese government taking the land where the Ainu people lived and placing it from then on under Japanese control. Also at this time, the Ainu were granted automatic Japanese citizenship, effectively denying them the status of an indigenous group.
The Ainu people were forced to learn Japanese, required to adopt Japanese names, and ordered to cease religious practices such as animal sacrifice and the custom of tattooing. The 1899 act was replaced in 1997—until then the government had stated there were no ethnic minority groups. It was not until June 6, 2008, that Japan formally recognized the Ainu as an indigenous group.
The Ainu lived in small settlements of a few or dozens cise (households) often located by a large river or estuary. Lead by their village chief, the kotan residents lived in a well-ordered society.
Ainu women would start receiving their traditional mouth tattoos at the age of 12 years old. The size of the tattoo signified the woman's status in her village (so the more important a woman's husband, the bigger the tattoo she could get).
Carving a makiri (short knife) was an important step in the lives of Ainu men. When a man liked a woman, he was supposed to craft a makiri and gift it to the woman. After examining the craftsmanship, the woman would decide how good of a provider the man was.
The Ainu people believie that everything in nature has a kamuy (spirit or god) on the inside. Everything that is useful or is beyond one's control is revered as kamuy: fire, water, earth, trees, animals, natural phenomena, even clothes and tableware. It's important to maintain a good relationship with kamuy by performing ceremonies and expressing gratitude for the things they send to humans from the Land of the Gods. Being hunters, the Ainu hold animal kamuy in high regard. It's believed that while in the Lang of the Gods, the kamuy take the form of humans and are only clad in animal skin and flesh when they come to our world to play.
The bear kamuy, Kimun Kamuy, is especially important. To raise a bear cub is considered an act of great prestige. The Ainu raise the cub for one or two years inside a cage (heperset) and, when the time comes, gather for the ceremony of Iomante to send off the bear back to the Land of the Gods. The ceremony includes singing, dancing, and preparing lots of food to send the bear's spirit carrying many gifts to show the gods that human world is a wonderful place. It's done in order for the gods to come back on earth again and again.
Bears that eat humans are seen as evil gods, Wen Kamuy. After death, Wen Kamuy go to a hell called teine pokna mosir.
Rivers are considered sacred for the Ainu people: they never wash clothes in the river or wash away excrements in the water. It's believed that panning for gold and polluting the river caused the wrath of Wakkaus Kamuy, god of the water. The gold itself is thought to be cursed and possessed by an evil spirit.
There's a custom of trying to protect babies from the spirits that bring disease by giving them disgusting names, like Si taktak ("clamp of feces") or Ekasiotonpuy ("grandfather's butthole"). When a child is six years old and already has their personality formed, they give them a name based on what the child has done in their lives.
Turenpe is a guardian spirit that is born with the person they're protecting. The Ainu believe that turenpe come in and out through the back of one's neck. Turenpe can be spirits of fire, water, thunder, even wolves or bears. It's turenpe that cause people's personalities to differ; they also control people's fate. When receiving something as a gift, one must share it with their guardian spirit. Some Ainu claim to be able to see turenpe.
As hunters, the Ainu have developed their own techniques and strategies to hunt their prey. The Ainu use poisoned arrows and spears to hunt bears, deer, otter, and other animals. Hunters mix different poisons to make their poison arrows stronger. Each family has their secret method that was passed down through generations. Some poison mixtures include aconite root, red stingray spine, etc.
Trapping is another important strategy in hunting. By leaving snares and funneling the animal towards the trap, it's possible to catch squirrels and hares.
When hunting a bear, Ainu hunters usually avoid aiming at its skull; instead, they aim for the heart. Some hunters secure a sharpened stake to the ground and use the weight of the falling bear to pierce it through the heart.
To kill a bear that is sleeping in its den, hunters fence up the entrance to it with stakes and then shoot the bear with an arrow. However, some men were brave enough to get inside a bear's den and kill the bear with a poison arrow in hands.
While leaving on hunting trips, the Ainu would sleep in temporary huts called kuca. The floors and cone-shaped roofs of the huts are made from branches of Sakhalin Fir or other evergreen tress. Up to 4 adults would fit inside a kuca.
Citatap is a dish where one uses a knife to mince raw meat. Making citatap allows eating even the toughest parts of the animal like bones. It's only possible to make citatap out of fresh meat. For preparing citatap, one must use a very hard, odorless wood such as oak, cut from the cross-section of the tree. The Ainu use a special cutting board for citatap, called itatani.
Ohaw is a soup made from meat. Much like while cooking citatap, the meat is minced and then turned into dumplings. Dried soft windflower can be added to enhance the taste.
Kinaohaw is a soup primarily made from vegetables, but meat and fish (like sculpins) can be added to the broth.
The Ainu People have their own language, and there are numerous words and terms that have been spoken throughout the entirety of the series, all of which will be listed below.
|Aca||アチャ||Father, daddy; uncle||Chapter 14|
|Amappo||アマッポ||Arrow trap||Chapter 13|
|Asinru||アシンル||Male toilet||Ch. 126|
|Atusa Nupuri||アトゥサ ヌプリ||Naked Mountain||Chapter 119|
|Atuy kor ekasi||アトゥィ コㇿ エカシ||Sea turtles; meaning "old man that rules the sea"||Chapter 114|
|Bokke||Hot, boiling||Ch. 120|
|Cepker||Winter boots made from salmon skin||Ch. 127|
|Cikap ur||Birdskin clothing||Ch. 151|
|Cikisani||Straw-shaped tree root||Ch. 204|
|Cinoyetet||チノイェタッ||Rolled birch bark used as a torch||Chapter 17|
|Cinru||チンル||Snowshoes for use on crusty snow||Chapter 3|
|Cipopsayo||Gruel made from cooked rice or millet with salmon roe added||Ch. 127|
|Cippo||Ainu needle case||Ch. 160|
|Cipor||チポロ||Salmon roe||Chapter 91|
|Cipor ninap||Tool that is used to crush salmon roe||Ch. 91|
|Ciporrataskep||Potatoes boiled with salt mashed up and mixed with salmon roe||Ch. 127|
|Ciptacikap||チㇷ゚タチカㇷ゚||Black woodpeckers, literally "boat carving bird"||Chapter 109|
|Cise||チセ||House, home||Chapter 1|
|Cise sirosi||Home marking that is left behind by bears||Ch. 125|
|Citatap||チタタプ||Ainu dish made by mincing meat with a knife. Literally, ci (we) tata (mince) p (it).||Chapter 5|
|Cukcep||Salmon, literally "autumn fish"||Ch. 125|
|Ecinke||エチンケ||Sea turtle||Chapter 114|
|Ekasi||エカシ||Grandfather; old man||Chapter 11|
|Ekimne kuwa||エキㇺネクワ||Walking stick||Chapter 3|
|Emus||エムㇱ||Man's sword that is used for ceremonies||Chapter 125|
|Esaman||エサマン||River otter||Chapter 14|
|Etaspe||エタㇱペ||Sea lion||Chapter 147|
|Etopirika||Tufted puffin; also called Etupirika||Ch. 151|
|Haruikkew||Giant lilies, literally "the backbone of our diet"||Ch. 92|
|Hat||ハッ||Crimson glory grapevine||Ch. 125|
|Heperesinotpe||ヘペレエシノッペ||Toy for bear cubs||Chapter 13|
|Heperoypep||Tool that is used to feed bear cubs|
|Heperset||ヘペレセッ||Cage used to keep bear cubs in||Chapter 12|
|Hinna||ヒンナ||Expression for showing one's appreciation for food||Chapter 5|
|Hinna, hinna||ヒンナヒンナ||Same as hinna||Chapter 5|
|Hoparata||Flapping the sleeves during a crane dance||Ch. 108|
|Horkew Kamuy||ホㇿケウカムイ||Howling God||Chapter 11|
|Hupca||フㇷ゚チャ||Needles of Sakhalin fir||Chapter 22|
|Huraruykina||Alpine leek, literally "strong smelling grass"||Ch. 73|
|Hure ecinke||フレ エチンケ||Loggerhead sea turtle||Chapter 114|
|Huuratekki||フウラテッキ||Raised stinky||Chapter 12|
|Icaniw||イチャニウ||Masu salmon||Chapter 73|
|Ihuminu||Psychic sense||Ch. 95|
|Inaw||イナウ||Wooden ritual sticks||Chapter 109|
|Iomante||イオマンテ||Ceremony to send off bears that have been raised in cages||Chapter 12|
|Ipapkeni||イパㇷ゚ケニ||Deer whistle||Chapter 15|
|Isapakikni||Club used to hit fish on the head to kill them||Ch. 125|
|Isepo||イセポ||Hare; "small creatures that cry 'iii'"||Chapter 8|
|Itatani||イタタニ||Cutting board used for meat||Chapter 10|
|Itese||イテセ||To knit||Chapter 12|
|Iteseni||イテセニ||Stand for weaving mats||Chapter 12|
|Kamuy Hopinire||Ceremony to send off adult brown bears killed on hunts; literally, "The god's departure"||Ch. 113|
|Kamuy Mintar||Daisetsuzan, means "place where there are a lot of brown bears"||Ch. 101|
|Kamuy Mosir||カムィモシㇼ||Land of the Gods; heaven||Chapter 12|
|Kamuy Nomi||カムィノミ||To pray to the gods||Chapter 109|
|Kamuy Renkayne||カムィ レンカイネ||Thanks to the gods||Chapter 161|
|Kamuycep||カムイチェプ||Salmon, literally "fish of the gods"||Chapter 125|
|Karimpaunku||カリンパウンク||Bow wrapped in cherry tree bark||Chapter 3|
|Karkani||Fire striker||Ch. 204|
|Karop||Container for fire-starting tools||Ch. 204|
|Karpas||Mushroom that has been turned into charcoal||Ch. 204|
|Karpas sintoko||Container for charcoal used to light a fire||Ch. 204|
|Karsuma||Stone used to start fires||Ch. 204|
|Kasinat||Trap for waterbirds||Ch. 108|
|Kemeiki||ケメイキ||To sew||Chapter 12|
|Kemonuytosayep||Ainu spool with attached needle case||Ch. 115|
|Kimun Kamuy||キムンカムィ||Bear God||Chapter 12|
|Kinaohaw||キナオハウ||Soup made with many vegetables||Chapter 13|
|Kisarri||キサラリ||Children's toy, "long-eared monster"||Chapter 14|
|Konkon Etaspe||Large sea lion||Ch. 147|
|Korkoni||コㇿコニ||Butterbur leaves||Chapter 73|
|Kuca||クチャ||Temporary hut||Chapter 5|
|Kunne ecinke||クンネ エチンケ||Green sea turtle||Chapter 114|
|Kusu||クス||Because, in order to||Chapter 11|
|Kutci||クッチ||Fruit of the hardy kiwi||Chapter 125|
|Kutuma||Dango that is "tube cooked"||Ch. 91|
|Kutura sisam ohaw or si omare wa e||クトゥラ シサㇺ オハウ オㇿ シ オマレ ワ エ||"The man I was with puts poop in his soup and eats it"||Chapter 9|
|Kuwaecarase||クワエチャㇻセ||Technique of sliding down a slope using a hiking stick made from the hardy, tough woof of the Japanese alder||Chapter 23|
|Kuyoy||クヨイ||Water bag from deer's bladder||Chapter 22|
|Makayo||Butterbur shoots||Ch. 73|
|Makanit||マカニッ||Arrow footings||Chapter 22|
|Makiri||マキリ||Short knife||Chapter 4|
|Marek||Harpoon with a hook on the end||Ch. 125|
|Matakarip||マタカリピ||Bears that have missed their hibernation period and thus are very aggressive; literally "those that move in winter"||Chapter 1|
|Matnepa||Women's season||Ch. 73|
|Mawtacup||"The month when we harvest beach roses"||Ch. 115|
|Menaspa||East wind||Ch. 254|
|Menas Hoku Kor||"Make the East wind their husband"||Ch. 254|
|Menokomakiri||メノコマキリ||Short knife for women||Chapter 3|
|Menokoru||Female toilet||Ch. 95|
|Mukkuri||ムックリ||Traditional Ainu musical instrument||Chapter 11|
|Munciro||Foxtail millet||Ch. 125|
|Ninketeyep||Tool used to hold a bear's gall bladder so that it can be dried out|
|Nipus hum||ニプㇱ フㇺ||Sound of trees splitting: a phenomena where a sudden drop in temperature causes the sap in the trees to freeze and the trunk to split open||Chapter 6|
|Nispa||ニㇱパ||Honorific title for a man, Mr.; master, owner; wealthy person; gentleman||Chapter 11|
|Ociw||Two people having sex||Ch. 116|
|Okkayoru||Male toilet||Ch. 95|
|Onne sipesipetki||Migratory locusts||Ch. 114|
|Onturep akam||Discs made from fermented giant lilies||Ch. 91|
|Osoma||オソマ||Feces, poop||Chapter 8|
|Pawci casi||Place where Pawci Kamuy lives||Ch. 100|
|Pawci Kamuy||God of lust who is said to be cruel||Ch. 100|
|Pekanpe||Fruits of water caltrops; literally "the thing which sits on the water"||Ch. 118|
|Pinneraw||Young male deer||Ch. 108|
|Pipa||ピパ||Tool made from the sharpened shell of a pearl mussel used to rip off earheads||Chapter 125|
|Pirka||ピㇼカ||Beautiful; good||Ch. 151|
|Pirka menoko||ピㇼカメノコ||Beautiful woman|
|Pise||ピセ||Container made from stomach of a bear; used to store water or animal oils||Chapter 18|
|Piyapa||Japanese millet||Ch. 125|
|Pu||プ||Food storehouse||Chapter 11|
|Pukusa||プクサ||Alpine leek||Chapter 8|
|Pukusakina||プクサキナ||Soft windflower||Chapter 5|
|Ratcako||ラッチャコ||Light stand||Chapter 14|
|Raomap||ラウォマプ||Trap for catching river fish||Chapter 13|
|Raykur Siyuk||Ainu burial clothes||Ch. 102|
|Retannoya||Ezo sneezeworts||Ch. 100|
|Rikosinot||リコシノッ||Tossing up; a kind of bear attack where the bear tosses its prey up in the air||Chapter 10|
|Sak Somo Ayep||サㇰ ソモ アイェプ||Name of a snake; means "that which is not spoken of in summer"||Chapter 104|
|Sarorun Kamuy||God of the wetlands||Ch. 108|
|Sarorunrimse||Crane dance that is passed down in Kushiro||Ch. 108|
|Seypirakka||Children's toy; literally "shell clogs"||Ch. 70|
|Setur sesekka||セトゥㇽ セセッカ||Warming one's back||Chapter 23|
|Sinna kisar||シンナ キサㇻ||Strange ears||Chapter 12|
|Sintoko||Lacquerware containers used to store food or alcohol||Ch. 125|
|Sipe||Referring to salmon which is the staple food of the Ainu people; means "the real food"||Ch. 127|
|Sisam||シサㇺ||Non-Ainu Japanese people||Chapter 2|
|Si taktak||シ タㇰタㇰ||Clamp of feces||Chapter 12|
|Sitat||シタッ||Bark from white birch trees||Chapter 2|
|Situnpe Kamuy||Benevolent gods||Ch. 148|
|Sutu||ストゥ||Punishment Rod||Chapter 13|
|Sutuker||Footwear woven from grapevines|
|Suwasi||False spirea; means "a bitter shrub"||Ch. 164|
|Tamasay||タマサィ||Necklace that is worn by women; "tama" for short||Chapter 125|
|Tasiro||タシロ||Hunting knife||Chapter 3|
|Teine Pokna Mosir||テイネポㇰナモシㇼ||Hell in Ainu mythology||Chapter 2|
|Tekunpe||Ainu hand cover|
|Tetarape||Ainu clothing||Ch. 181|
|Tonoto||トノト||Traditional alcoholic drink in Ainu culture||Chapter 113|
|Toprap kitay cise||House thatched with bamboo grass leaves||Ch. 95|
|Torar||Long, durable leather straps made from sea lion skins||Ch. 148|
|Turenpe||トゥレンペ||Guardian spirit||Chapter 13|
|Turep||トゥレプ||Giant lilies||Chapter 91|
|Tureptacir||Woodcock; means "the bird that digs up giant lilies"|
|Tureptani||Ainu tool that resembles the beaks of woodcocks used to dig out the roots of giant lilies|
|Uko Karip Ciwe||ウコ カリㇷ゚ チュイ||Ring catch, a children's game||Chapter 14|
|Ukocanupkor||To have sexual intercourse||Ch. 109|
|Uwepeker||Folk tales||Ch. 111|
|Uworamkotte||"Joined hearts with each other"||Ch. 254|
|Wakkakep||Tool used to bail out the water that collects in the bottom of a boat||Ch. 114|
|Wakkaus Kamuy||ワッカウシカムイ||God of the water||Chapter 13|
|Wen Kamuy||ウェンカムイ||Evil god||Chapter 2|
|Yachi manako||Swamp eye||Ch. 112|
|Yarcip||Ainu bark canoe||Ch. 93|
|Yukker||ユㇰケㇾ||Deerskin boots||Chapter 3|
|Cepker||Boots made from salmon skin||Ch. 142|
|Hohciri||Ainu ornament that young boys wear until they turn ten years of age||Ch. 151|
|Isohseta||The dog that is at the front of dog sleds and leads the other dogs||Ch. 142|
|Kawre||Poles that are used to steer the dog sled||Ch. 142|
|Meekot||メエコッ||To freeze to death; "something that can die in the cold"||Chapter 169|
|Meko Oyasi||メコオヤシ||Cat monster||Chapter 169|
|Nusoh sutoo||Skis used by the person riding the sled||Ch. 142|
|Opokay||Musk deer||Ch. 151|
|Puu||Food storage building||Ch. 169|
|Seta rus||セタ ルㇱ||Dog pelt||Chapter 142|
|Setakiraw||セタキラゥ||A headdress that is worn only by the lead dog||Chapter 142|
|Setakuma||Hitching post for dogs||Ch. 141|
|Saha cise||Summer home||Ch. 141|
|Sikeni||Body of the sled||Ch. 142|
|Toh||To mush (dog sledding)||Ch. 141|
|Toi cise||Winter home||Ch. 141|
- Amappo: an arrow trap that is used to hunt bear, deer, and otter.
- Heperesinotpe: a toy for bear cubs.
- Heperset: a cage that is used to keep bear cubs in.
- Itatani: cutting board for meat.
- Raomap: a trap for catching river fish.
- The Poison Arrow
|Gold Hunters||7th Division • Hijikata's Group • Kiroranke's Group • Sugimoto's Group|
|People of the North||Ainu • Matagi • Nivkh • Orok|
|Others||Abashiri Convicts • Central Government • Imperial Japanese Army • Three Great Nobles of the Restoration • Yamada Circus Troupe|