THE AINU BABE OF OLD HOKKAIDO -- Japanese Citizen, but NOT "Japanese"
Hi ! My name is ASAKO MIYAMOTO. Welcome to Hokkaido, and the "good old days" of Japan !
Hey, isn't ASAKO a "Japanese" name ?
Yup, under the cultural and administrative pressures of the occupying Japanese, we Ainu in the North (just like the Okinawans in the South), we have been encouraged by the Government to dump our "embarrassing" old native names in favor of "civilized" Japanese names.
After all, we won't officially exist or be recognized by the Government as an indigenous people apart from the Japanese until many years from now....in the year 2008.
Until then, we will just go with the flow.
The modern-day, 21st Century Japanese will sometimes tell you that the AINU and OKINAWANS are not true Japanese. You may then ask the Japanese if these prior and older occupants of Japan, if not true Japanese, are exempt from paying JAPANESE INCOME TAX. The Japanese will then answer that, on second thought, the Ainu and Okinawan ARE Japanese after all, and they better pay up --- at least from Feb 15th to March 15th (Tax-Time in Japan) ~ !
After tax time is over, the Okinawans and Ainu revert to being "not really Japanese"
Is "Japanese" a "race" ? Is it a nationality ? Is it both ?
For example : Is a blond-haired, blue-eyed Hollander who obtains Japanese citizenship now "Japanese" ? Every Japanese Government Official I've ever talked to on the subject (and that's quite a few) have repeatedly all told me the same thing : "Such a Hollander would NOT be Japanese. He would be a FOREIGNER with Japanese CITIZENSHIP".
But, if you push further and ask the same thing about the ethnic, indigenous AINU and OKINAWANS, they will squirm, sweat, and suck air through their teeth like a bargain-store vacuum cleaner, all while tossing out a variety of "politically correct" answers that are harder to grab than a bar of wet soap on a water slide in a middle of a typhoon.
This pretty Ainu girl seems to know that she is pretty, and that every red-blooded, full-bearded, bear-hunting man in the whole village is probably after her.
I have no doubt she's going to get EXACTLY what she wants. I can see it in her eyes. And speaking of her eyes, one wonders of she is really a Japanese model or an actress dressed like an Ainu. And that brings up the subject of "intermarriage" and "assimilation"....
The "pure" Ainu were more of a hairy Caucasian type than a smooth-skinned Mongoloid Japanese type. However, the word "pure" is a hard thing to define after a millennial of gradual interaction on the fringes of these neighboring cultures.By the time of this 1900-1920 photo, a steady stream of Japanese "immigrants" had already begun diluting the pure strains that remained in Hokkaido, and "Japanese" body and facial features were becoming the norm in many places -- especially closer to the larger ports and cities.
A few photographers specifically sought out more "pure" pockets of Ainu that remained in order to document what they could. Photographer H.G. Ponting, while in love with the country of Japan, was openly disgusted with the Japanese Government's treatment of the Ainu in these regions of as yet un-assimilated "last hold outs".
See: www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/2344269135/ and notice "un-Japanese" faces -- except for the Ainu woman on the left who shows a very "Mongoloid" profile.
Recently, a similar (though not as drastic) dilution of local ethnic and cultural characteristics has also taken place on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa during the years since WW2 --- more in the urban business spaces and areas around the US Military bases --- due more to the influx of Japanese from the Mainland than from intermarriage with the local US Military population who chose top remain on the island.
In any case, the girl in the pic is a pretty one, and looks smart as a whip.
See other sad and illuminating commentary at this link, and specially read the two paragraphs under "HISTORY". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ainu_people
Note that until the year 2008, the Japanese Government refused to acknowledge the Ainu's existence as a real indigenous people within Japan, often stating things like "no ethnic minorities exist in Japan" --- one of many typical government attitudes that Okinawa Soba, his wife, and three children lived under for 45 years.
As we approach the year 2019, the Japanese bureaucracy still "officially refuses" to acknowledge that the over 1,000,000 ethnic Okinawans in the South --- along with their unique culture and languages --- constitute an ethnic entity, just as the Ainu remnants do in the North.
Instead, the Japanese continue their inane proclamations that basically say the Okinawans are a special manifestation of the pure, homogeneous "Yamato Race" of Japan --- and must sacrifice their land, culture, and completely different local languages for the benefit of the greater good and protection of their "true Japanese" mainland neighbors to the north.