Japanese Minorities: The Aniu

Figure 1.--This stereo-scopic image shows an Aniy family, probably in the 1890s. Notice how the teen agers does not wear a beard like his father.e notice teen in middle not yet wearing a beard as an adult male

The smallest minority group is the Aniu. They were the indigenous inhabitants of the northern islands. Their language is destinct from Japanese. It has no official status and has been discouraged by the Japanese Government. The Ainu were circum-polar hunting and gathering population related to coastal peoples in Siberia and Alaska. They inhabited northern Honshū as late as the Nara period (8th century AD). As Japanese settlement expanded north, the Ainu were pushed northward. The Aniu had to abandon their traditional life style as land on Hikaido was seized by settlers from the south. The Meiji Government confined them to a reservation in northern Hokkaidō. Government policies and schools promote assimilation. The Aniu language has largely disappeared.


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Created: 1:26 AM 11/17/2008
Last updated: 1:26 AM 11/17/2008