Ainu people

Ainu at a traditional marriage ceremony in Hokkaido.
Hokkaido Ainu clan leader.
Ainu leader
Historical homeland and distribution of the Ainu people.
1843 illustration of Ainu
Photograph of Tatsujiro Kuzuno, a famous Ainu individual.
Sakhalin Ainu in 1904
A picture of Imekanu, right, with her niece Yukie Chiri, famous Ainu Japanese transcriber and translator of Ainu epic tales. (1922)
Three Ainu from Hokkaidō in traditional dress
Ainu man performing a traditional dance
An Ainu from Shiraoi, Hokkaido, c. 1930
"Ainu men" Department of Anthropology, Japanese exposition, 1904 World's Fair.
Map of pre-1945 distribution of Ainu languages and dialects
Woman playing a tonkori
Ainu ceremonial dress, British Museum
Ainu woman with mouth tattoos and live bear.
Bear hunting, 19th century
Ainu people, c. 1840
An Ainu woman from Hokkaido, c. 1930
Ainu house in Hokkaido
Ainu traditional house. Ainu: "cise".
A traditional Ainu marriage ceremony
Chishima Ainu working
Painting of the Ainu iyomante, bear spirit sending ceremony in Hokkaido (1875)
Ainu traditional ceremony, c. 1930
National Ainu Museum interior
Ainu cultural promotion centre and museum, in Sapporo (Sapporo Pirka Kotan)
The Oki Dub Ainu Band, led by the Ainu Japanese musician Oki, in Germany in 2007
Ainu people in front of a traditional building in Shiraoi, Hokkaido.
Karafuto (Sakhalin) Ainu family behind their house in 1912.
Historical extent of the Ainu
Ainu houses (from Popular Science Monthly Volume 33, 1888).
Plan of an Ainu house.
The family would gather around the fireplace.
Interior of the house of Ainu - Saru River basin.

The Ainu are the indigenous people of the lands surrounding the Sea of Okhotsk, including Hokkaido Island, Northeast Honshu Island, Sakhalin Island, the Kuril Islands, the Kamchatka Peninsula and Khabarovsk Krai, before the arrival of the Yamato Japanese and Russians.

- Ainu people
Ainu at a traditional marriage ceremony in Hokkaido.

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Hokkaido

Second largest island of Japan and comprises the largest and northernmost prefecture.

Second largest island of Japan and comprises the largest and northernmost prefecture.

Former Hokkaidō Government Office in Chūō-ku, Sapporo
Palace reception near Hakodate in 1751. Ainu bringing gifts (cf. omusha)
The samurai and the Ainu, c. 1775
Matsumae Takahiro, a Matsumae lord of the late Edo period (December 10, 1829 – June 9, 1866)
Goryōkaku
The Ainu, Hokkaidō's indigenous people
Map of Hokkaido showing the subprefectures and the primary cities
Map of Hokkaido as seen by municipalities
Satellite image of Hokkaidō in winter
Hokkaido in winter and summer
Sapporo, Hokkaidō's largest city.
Large farm of Tokachi plain
Farm Tomita in Nakafurano
Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station on the Hokkaido Shinkansen
Hollow Dogū, the only National Treasure on the island (Hakodate Jōmon Culture Center)
Sapporo Dome in Sapporo.
Geofeatures map of Hokkaido
Hokkaido seen from the International Space Station
Satellite image of Hokkaido
The Oyashio Current colliding with the Kuroshio Current off the coast of Hokkaido. When two currents collide, they create eddies. Phytoplankton growing in the surface waters become concentrated along the boundaries of these eddies, tracing out the motions of the water.
Overview of Kushiro Wetland
Lake Akan and Mount Meakan
View of Lake Mashū
Lake Shikotsu
Sōunkyō, a gorge in the Daisetsu-zan Volcanic Area
Sapporo City
Asahikawa
Hakodate
Kushiro
Obihiro
Kitami
Iwamizawa
Abashiri
Wakkanai
Nemuro
Rumoi

Although there were Japanese settlers who ruled the southern tip of the island since the 16th century, Hokkaido was considered foreign territory that was inhabited by the indigenous people of the island, known as the Ainu people.

Settlements with Nivkh populations according to the Russian Census of 2002 (excluding Khabarovsk, Poronaysk and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk).

Nivkh people

The Nivkh, or Gilyak (also Nivkhs or Nivkhi, or Gilyaks; ethnonym: Нивхгу, Nʼivxgu (Amur) or Ниғвңгун, Nʼiɣvŋgun (E.

The Nivkh, or Gilyak (also Nivkhs or Nivkhi, or Gilyaks; ethnonym: Нивхгу, Nʼivxgu (Amur) or Ниғвңгун, Nʼiɣvŋgun (E.

Settlements with Nivkh populations according to the Russian Census of 2002 (excluding Khabarovsk, Poronaysk and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk).
Settlement of Nivkhs in the Far Eastern Federal District by urban and rural settlements in%, 2010 census
Giliaki or Yupi (meaning "[people wearing clothes made of] fish-skin"; a Chinese appellation also used for the Nani people) on an early 18 c. French map depicting the Vries Strait and the Strait of Tartary. Note that Niuchi doesn't refer to Nivkh but rather for Jurchen,
A Nivkh village in the early-20th century
A bear festival by Nivkh around 1903
Nivkh men who wear skiy and kosk
Mos, a traditional Nivkh dish
1862 illustration of an Ainu man (left) and a Nivkh couple (right).
Mitochondrial DNA study of Siberian peoples. The Nivkh (labelled ) can be seen to not be related to the other people.

Ming Chinese outposts in Sakhalin and the Amur river area received animal skin tribute from Ainu on Sakhalin, Uilta and Nivkh in the 15th century after the Tyr based Yongning Temple was set up along with the Nurkan (Nurgan) outposts by the Yongle emperor in 1409.

Sakhalin

Largest island of Russia.

Largest island of Russia.

Historical extent of the Ainu people
De Vries (1643) mapped Sakhalin's eastern promontories without realising that he had visited an island (map from 1682).
French map from 1821 showing Sakhalin as part of Qing Empire
Mamiya Rinzō described Sakhalin as an island in his map
Display of Sakhalin on maps varied throughout the 18th century. This map from a 1773 atlas, based on the earlier work by d'Anville, who in his turn made use of the information collected by Jesuits in 1709, asserts the existence of Sakhalin – but only assigns to it the northern half of the island and its northeastern coast (with Cape Patience, discovered by de Vries in 1643). Cape Aniva, also discovered by de Vries, and Cape Crillon (Black Cape) are, however, thought to form part of the mainland
La Perouse charted most of the southwestern coast of Sakhalin (or "Tchoka", as he heard natives call it) in 1787
1823 Japanese map of Karafuto and part of eastern Siberia (modern Khabarovsk Krai)
Anton Chekhov museum in Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky, Russia. It is the house where he stayed in Sakhalin during 1890.
Settler's way of life. Near church at holiday. 1903
Sakhalin Island with Karafuto Prefecture highlighted
Central part of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, 2009
Sakhalin and its surroundings.
Velikan Cape, Sakhalin
Zhdanko Mountain Ridge
Nivkh children in Sakhalin c. 1903
Western Gray whale near Sakhalin
Anaphalis margaritacea with peacock butterfly
A Japanese D51 steam locomotive outside the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Railway Station
A passenger train in Nogliki
At the ceremony marking the opening of a liquefied natural gas production plant built as part of the Sakhalin-2 project

Smaller minorities were the Ainu, Ukrainians, Tatars, Yakuts and Evenks.

Composite map of the islands between Kamchatka Peninsula and Nemuro Peninsula, combining twelve US Army Map Service maps compiled in the early 1950s

Kuril Islands

The Kuril Islands or Kurile Islands (Japanese: "Kuril Islands" (クリル列島) or "Thousand Islands" (千島列島)) are a volcanic archipelago part of Sakhalin Oblast in the Russian Far East.

The Kuril Islands or Kurile Islands (Japanese: "Kuril Islands" (クリル列島) or "Thousand Islands" (千島列島)) are a volcanic archipelago part of Sakhalin Oblast in the Russian Far East.

Composite map of the islands between Kamchatka Peninsula and Nemuro Peninsula, combining twelve US Army Map Service maps compiled in the early 1950s
Caldera of the island Ushishir
Stratovolcano Mt. Ruruy; view from Yuzhno-Kurilsk
Kuril Ainu people next to their traditional dwelling.
A map of Kuril Islands from Gisuke Sasamori's 1893 book Chishima Tanken
Historical extent of the Ainu
Shana Village in Etorofu (Shōwa period): a village hospital in the foreground, a factory in the left background with a fishery and a central radio tower (before 1945).
Main village in Shikotan
Russian Orthodox church, Kunashir
Yuzhno-Kurilsk, Kunashir
Severo-Kurilsk, Paramushir
Atlasov
A view of the volcano Bogdan Khmelnitsky on Iturup Island
Mendeleyeva in the southern part of Kunashir
Yuzhno-Kurilsky District
Ebeko volcano, Paramushir
White Rocks, Iturup

The name Kuril originates from the autonym of the aboriginal Ainu, the islands' original inhabitants: kur, meaning 'man'.

Sakhalin Oblast

Federal subject of Russia comprising the island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands in the Russian Far East.

Federal subject of Russia comprising the island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands in the Russian Far East.

Aleksandrovskaya Prison in Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky in 1903
Anton Chekhov museum in Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky. It is the house where he stayed in Sakhalin during 1890
Shakhtyorsk narrow gauge railway, Central Processing Plant in Shakhtyorsk
This Japanese D51 steam locomotive stands outside present day Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Railway Station Sakhalin Island, Russia

Japanese or Ainu: 0.05%

Ryukyuan people

East Asian ethnic group native to the Ryukyu Islands, which stretch between the islands of Kyushu and Taiwan.

East Asian ethnic group native to the Ryukyu Islands, which stretch between the islands of Kyushu and Taiwan.

Haplogroup dispersal and migration routes into Japan.
The gusuku fortification are on the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu UNESCO's list.
Map of Okinawa Island, showing the Sanzan period polities.
The castle town and Ryukyu Kingdom's capital Shuri Castle.
Five Ryukyuan men, Meiji period.
The kamekōbaka (Turtleback tomb) is the traditional Ryukyuan family tomb.

The Ryukyuans differ strongly from the Ainu people, which, according to the authors, is a strong evidence for the heterogeneity of the Jōmon period population.

Japanese people

Ethnic group that is native to the Japanese archipelago and modern country of Japan, where they constitute 98.1% of the country’s population.

Ethnic group that is native to the Japanese archipelago and modern country of Japan, where they constitute 98.1% of the country’s population.

Shakōki-dogū (遮光器土偶) (1000–400 BC), "goggle-eyed type" figurine. Tokyo National Museum.
Genetic structure of present-day and ancient Eurasian and Ikawazu Jomon.
Location of Imperial Japan
A Shinto festival in Miki, Hyogo
Hindu God Ganesha in a Buddhist Shrine in Japan
Bisque doll of Momotarō,
a character from Japanese literature and folklore
The print Red Fuji from Katsushika Hokusai's series, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji
The Japantown Peace Plaza during the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival

Later, Philipp Franz von Siebold argued that the Ainu people were indigenous to northern Japan.

Settlement of Ulchi in the Far Eastern Federal District by urban and rural settlements in%, 2010 census

Ulch people

Indigenous people of the Russian Far East, who speak a Tungusic language known as Ulch.

Indigenous people of the Russian Far East, who speak a Tungusic language known as Ulch.

Settlement of Ulchi in the Far Eastern Federal District by urban and rural settlements in%, 2010 census
An Ulchi man and woman
Interior of a Mangun House, drawing by Richard Maack ca. 1854-1860

Their religion bears similarities to the religion of the Nivkh people and Ainu people.

The Kuril Islands with Russian names. Borders of Shimoda Treaty (1855) and Treaty of St. Petersburg (1875) shown in red. Since 1945 all islands northeast of Hokkaido have been administered by Russia.

Kuril Islands dispute

Territorial dispute between Japan and the Russian Federation over the ownership of the four southernmost Kuril Islands.

Territorial dispute between Japan and the Russian Federation over the ownership of the four southernmost Kuril Islands.

The Kuril Islands with Russian names. Borders of Shimoda Treaty (1855) and Treaty of St. Petersburg (1875) shown in red. Since 1945 all islands northeast of Hokkaido have been administered by Russia.
Disputed islands in question: Habomai Islands, Shikotan, Kunashiri (Kunashir) and Etorofu (Iturup)
Southern Kuril islands seen from the International Space Station
A 1939 map of the Pacific Rim. Dates shown indicate approximate time that the various powers gained control of their possessions
Japanese Iturup residents (then called Etorofu) and a Buddhist temple (before 1939)
Agreement regarding entry of the Soviet Union into the war against Japan
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met local residents in Yuzhno-Kurilsk, 1 November 2010
Japanese people visiting their family graves on Tanfiliev Island (Suishō-jima), one of the Habomai Islands, 2008
A protest truck confronting the Japanese police near the Russian Embassy on August 9, 2015
A van covered with slogans calling for Japanese sovereignty over the Northern Territories (北方領土), 2006
The Ainu people were the original inhabitants of the Kuril Islands

Some individuals of the Ainu also claim the Kuril Islands, on the basis that their ethnic group inhabited the archipelago and Sakhalin prior to the arrival of Japanese and Russian settlers in the 19th century.

Reconstruction of the Sannai-Maruyama Site in the Aomori Prefecture. The site shares cultural similarities with settlements of Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula, as well as with later Japanese culture, pointing to continuity between ancient and modern Japanese culture.

Jōmon period

Time in Japanese prehistory, traditionally dated between c. undefined 14,000–300 BCE, during which Japan was inhabited by a diverse hunter-gatherer and early agriculturalist population united through a common Jōmon culture, which reached a considerable degree of sedentism and cultural complexity.

Time in Japanese prehistory, traditionally dated between c. undefined 14,000–300 BCE, during which Japan was inhabited by a diverse hunter-gatherer and early agriculturalist population united through a common Jōmon culture, which reached a considerable degree of sedentism and cultural complexity.

Reconstruction of the Sannai-Maruyama Site in the Aomori Prefecture. The site shares cultural similarities with settlements of Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula, as well as with later Japanese culture, pointing to continuity between ancient and modern Japanese culture.
Incipient Jōmon pottery (14th–8th millennium BCE) Tokyo National Museum, Japan
Jōmon pottery in the Yamanashi museum.
Spray style Jōmon pottery
The Japanese archipelago, during the last glaciation in about 20,000BC.
Azuki bean cultivation was common in southern Jōmon period Japan and also in southern China and Bhutan.
Jōmon clay mask, bearing similarities to clay masks found in the Amur region.
The Magatama is a famous jewelry from Jōmon period Japan, and was also found in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia.
Reconstruction of a Jōmon period houses in the Aomori Prefecture.
Jōmon period clay figure from the Yamanashi Prefecture.
Reconstruction of Yayoi period houses in Kyushu.
Middle Jomon vessel
Forensic reconstruction from a local Niigata Jōmon sample.
Late Jomon clay statue, Kazahari I, Aomori Prefecture, 1500–1000 BCE.
Late Jomon clay head, Shidanai, Iwate Prefecture, 1500–1000 BCE.
A Middle Jomon jar. 2000 BCE.
Final Jomon jar, Kamegaoka style.
Clay statue, late Jomon period (1000–400 BCE), Tokyo National Museum
Reconstruction of a Yayoi period house in Kyushu.

The relationship of Jōmon people to the modern Japanese (Yamato people), Ryukyuans, and Ainu is not well clarified.