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    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Jul 17, 2002

    Post Comparing Ainu and Japanese people and customs

    This is a comparson based on Isabella L. Bird's observations in her book Unbeaten Track in Japan.

    Physical charcteristics

    The Ainu :

    - are very hairy, have soft black hair and whiter skin than the Japanese
    - more heavily built than the Japanese
    - have high foreheads, low cheeckbones and rounded skulls
    - have deep-set eyes with double eyelids like European, light brown eyes, long eye-lashes and bushy eyebrows
    - wide mouths and small, regularly shaped teeths
    - straight and short noses with broad nostrils
    - are more resistant to alcohol than the Japanese
    - Ainu women are bustier than Japanese ones

    Character and moral

    The Ainu :

    - very pudic (won7t change clothes in front of other people and won't go naked to a public bath)
    - women display strong conjugal fidelity
    - not very curious (about other ethnicities, cultures, technologies or ways of life)
    - not commercal minded at all (don't try to sell and won't accept more money than what they think something is worth)
    - very affectionate towards children
    - like the Japanese, they are very kind and hospitable

    Customs and Lifestyle

    The Ainu :

    - Ainu houses are bigger and better builtthan the Japanese ones. They have windows and whole in the roofs to let the smoke out.
    - The Ainu all wear tattoos. Women get tattoed progressively from the age of 5 and cannot get married without decent tattoos around their mouths and and their arms and hands.
    - The Ainu are mostly fishermen and hunter-gatherers who grow some millet. They eat a lot of fish as well as venison and, on special occasions, bear meat. They eat a lot of wild plants, herbs, seaweed and mushrooms.
    - The Ainu are animists. Their religion is very similar to Shintoism, seeing divinities everywhere in nature and lacking a dogma or central authority. Even their word for god/deity, Kamoi, resembles closely the Japanese Kami.The main differnce is that the Ainu don't build shrines and have no priests. Ainu "religion" can be seen as a primitive form of Shintoism, probably unchanged since Jomon times.
    - The Ainu do not work metals and only hunt with (poisoned) arrows made of wood and bone.
    Last edited by Maciamo; Jun 28, 2010 at 00:03.

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