Ainu Woman. The Ainu are the indigenous people of Japan, who spoke languages completely unrelated to Japanese. After a century of modernization, forced assimilation, and official denial of their existence as a distinct people, the Ainu were officially recognized in 2008. Hokkaido Ainu, the only remaining Ainu language, will most likely die out entirely in the next few decades. The culture is experiencing a modest revival.
The indigenous people of northern Japan call themselves “Ainu,” meaning “people” or “humans” in their language. Recent DNA evidence suggests that the Ainu are the direct descendents of the ancient Jomon people who inhabited Japan as early as 12,000 years ago
The origin of the Ainu people in Japan is unknown and the Ainu speak a language that resembles no other language on Earth. The great majority of the Ainu live on Japan's 2nd largest island, Hokkaido. Ainu are light-skinned. Some have red or brown hair and green or blue eyes. Scientists have no been able to determine where these people come from. According to the Ainu themselves, their ancestors came from the sky, in other words, they are of extraterrestrial origin.
Wood carving has been an important part of Ainu culture, surviving after political changes in the late 19th forced the Ainu to find new ways of making a living. After Russia expanded south into the Kurile islands in the 18th century, Japan responded by taking control of Hokkaido, then known as Ezo. In 1871, a new Family Registration Law classified Ainu as Japanese subjects under Japanese laws. Land was nationalized. Ainu language, customs were banned. Worst of all, hunting, fishing were…