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5 weeks ago by garrettc
How Japan's Bear-Worshipping Indigenous Group Fought Its Way to Cultural Relevance | Science | Smithsonian
As insular as Japan seems to be, it has always been bound up in relationships with others, particularly with people on the Korean Peninsula and in China. For centuries, the Japanese have identified their homeland from an external perspective, calling it Nihon, the sun’s origin. That is, they have thought of their homeland as east of China—the land of the rising sun. And they have called themselves Nihonjin.

But the word Ainu signifies something very different. It means human. And I’ve always imagined that long ago, the Ainu gave entirely natural replies to a visitor’s questions: who are you and where am I? The answers: Ainu, we are people; and you are standing on our homeland, Mosir.

The Ainu call ethnic Japanese Wajin, a term that originated in China, or Shamo, meaning colonizer. Or, as one Ainu told a researcher: people whom one cannot trust.
Japan  Ainu  bear  Indigenous  history 
6 weeks ago by Quercki

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