Ainu at a traditional marriage ceremony in Hokkaido.
Hokkaido Ainu clan leader.
Green: Karafuto Prefecture within Japan in 1942
Light green: Other constituents of the Empire of Japan
Ainu leader
Map of Sakhalin with parallels showing the division at the 50th parallel north with the Karafuto Prefecture highlighted in red
Historical homeland and distribution of the Ainu people.
Green: Karafuto Prefecture within Japan in 1942
Light green: Other constituents of the Empire of Japan
1843 illustration of Ainu
The Karafuto Prefectural Office in Toyohara
Photograph of Tatsujiro Kuzuno, a famous Ainu individual.
A Japanese soldier at the border between the Karafuto Prefecture and Soviet Sakhalin
Sakhalin Ainu in 1904
This Japanese D51 steam locomotive stands outside the present day Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Railway Station, Sakhalin Oblast, Russia. They were used by the Soviet Railways until 1979.
A picture of Imekanu, right, with her niece Yukie Chiri, famous Ainu Japanese transcriber and translator of Ainu epic tales. (1922)
Karafuto Prefecture with 4 subprefectures, namely Toyohara, Maoka, Esutoru and Shikuka . Toyohara City was also a part of Toyohara Subprefecture.
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.

Most were of Japanese or Korean extraction, though there was also a small White Russian community as well as some Ainu indigenous tribes.

- Karafuto Prefecture

The same act applied to the native Ainu on Sakhalin after the Japanese annexation of it as the Karafuto Prefecture.

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

5 related topics

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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

South Sakhalin was administered by Japan as Karafuto Prefecture (Karafuto-chō (樺太庁)), with the capital at Toyohara (today's Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk).

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'.

In August 1945 the Soviet Union mounted an armed invasion of South Sakhalin at the cost of over 5,000 Soviet and Japanese lives.

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%

South Sakhalin was administrated by Japan as Karafuto-chō (樺太庁), with the capital Toyohara, now known as Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

Empire of Japan

Historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II 1947 constitution and subsequent formation of modern Japan.

Historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II 1947 constitution and subsequent formation of modern Japan.

The Empire of Japan at its peak in 1942:
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The Naval Battle of Hakodate, May 1869; in the foreground, and of the Imperial Japanese Navy
The Empire of Japan at its peak in 1942:
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Prominent members of the Iwakura mission. Left to right: Kido Takayoshi, Yamaguchi Masuka, Iwakura Tomomi, Itō Hirobumi, Ōkubo Toshimichi
Emperor Meiji, the 122nd emperor of Japan
Ōura Church, Nagasaki
Interior of the Japanese Parliament, showing the Prime Minister speaking addressing the House of Peers, 1915
Prince Aritomo Yamagata, who was twice Prime Minister of Japan. He was one of the main architects of the military and political foundations of early modern Japan.
Baron Masuda Tarokaja, a member of the House of Peers (Kazoku). His father, Baron Masuda Takashi, was responsible for transforming Mitsui into a zaibatsu.
The Tokyo Industrial Exhibition, 1907 (Mitsubishi pavilion and Exhibition halls)
Marunouchi District in 1920, looking towards the Imperial Palace
A 1-yen banknote, 1881
Thomas Blake Glover was a Scottish merchant in Bakumatsu and received Japan's second highest order from Emperor Meiji in recognition of his contributions to Japan's industrialization.
Prince Katsura Tarō, thrice Prime Minister and the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan. Katsura commanded the IJA 3rd Division under his mentor, Field Marshal Yamagata Aritomo, during the First Sino-Japanese War.
Map of the Japanese Empire in 1895. This map was issued shortly after the Japanese invasion of Taiwan and is consequently one of the first Japanese maps to include Taiwan as a possession of Imperial Japan.
Marquess Komura Jutaro, 1911. Komura became Minister for Foreign Affairs under the first Katsura administration, and signed the Boxer Protocol on behalf of Japan.
French illustration of a Japanese assault on entrenched Russian troops during the Russo-Japanese War
Japanese riflemen during the Russo-Japanese War
Count Tadasu Hayashi was the resident minister to the United Kingdom. While serving in London from 1900, he worked to successfully conclude the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and signed on behalf of the government of Japan on January 30, 1902.
Port Arthur viewed from the Top of Gold Hill, after its capitulation in 1905. From left are the wrecks of Russian pre-dreadnought battleships Peresvet, Poltava, Retvizan, Pobeda and the protected cruisers Pallada
Emperor Taishō, the 123rd emperor of Japan
Topographic map of the Empire of Japan in November, 1918
Native Micronesian constables of Truk Island, circa 1930. Truk became a possession of the Empire of Japan under a mandate from the League of Nations following Germany's defeat in World War I.
Commanding Officers and Chiefs of Staff of the Allied Military Mission to Siberia, Vladivostok during the Allied Intervention
Groundbreaking ceremony of Ginza Line, the oldest subway line in Asia, 1925. Front row, right to left: Rudolf Briske, Noritsugu Hayakawa, Furuichi Kōi, Ryutaro Nomura.
Count Itagaki Taisuke is credited as being the first Japanese party leader and an important force for liberalism in Meiji Japan.
Count Katō Komei, the 14th Prime Minister of Japan from June 11, 1924, until his death on January 28, 1926
Emperor Shōwa during an Army inspection on January 8, 1938
Tokyo Kaikan was requisitioned as the meeting place for members of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association (Taisei Yokusankai) in the early days.
Japanese Pan-Asian writer Shūmei Ōkawa
Rebel troops assembling at police headquarters during the February 26 Incident
A bank run during the Shōwa financial crisis, March 1927
National Diet Building, 1930
Political map of the Asia-Pacific region, 1939
Japanese troops entering Shenyang, Northeast China during the Mukden Incident, 1931
The Japanese occupation of Peiping (Beijing) in China, on August 13, 1937. Japanese troops are shown passing from Peiping into the Tartar City through Zhengyangmen, the main gate leading onward to the palaces in the Forbidden City.
IJN Special Naval Landing Forces armed with the Type 11 Light Machine Gun during the Battle of Shanghai, 1937
Signing ceremony for the Axis Powers Tripartite Pact
Founding ceremony of the Hakkō ichiu (All the world under one roof) monument in 1940
A map of the Japanese advance from 1937 to 1942
Victorious Japanese troops march through the city center of Singapore following the city's capture in February 1942 (Photo from the Imperial War Museum)
Imperial Japanese Army paratroopers are landing during the Battle of Palembang, February 13, 1942.
A model representing the attack by dive bombers from USS Yorktown (CV-5) and USS Enterprise (CV-6) on the Japanese aircraft carriers, and in the morning of June 4, 1942, during the Battle of Midway
Group of Type 2 Ka-Mi tanks on board of 2nd class transporter of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1944–1945
The rebuilt battlecruiser sank at her moorings in the naval base of Kure on July 24 during a series of bombings.
The Japanese archipelago and the Korean Peninsula in 1945 (National Geographic)
A drawing depicting a speech in the Imperial Japanese Diet on November 1, 1945, the end of the Second World War. In the foreground there are several Allied soldiers watching the proceedings from the back of the balcony.
From left to right: Marshal Admiral Heihachirō Tōgō (1848–1934), Field Marshal Oku Yasukata (1847–1930), Marshal Admiral Yoshika Inoue (1845–1929), Field Marshal Kageaki Kawamura (1850–1926), at the unveiling ceremony of bronze statue of Field Marshal Iwao Ōyama
Population density map of the Empire of Japan (1920).
Population density map of the Empire of Japan (1940).
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army
Naval ensign of the Empire of Japan
Flag of the Japanese Emperor

As a result, Russia lost the part of Sakhalin Island south of 50 degrees North latitude (which became Karafuto Prefecture), as well as many mineral rights in Manchuria.

The Kuril Islands also historically belonged to Japan and were first inhabited by the Ainu people before coming under the control of the Matsumae clan during the Edo Period.

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.

After the end of World War II, many Nivkh people and Orok people from southern Sakhalin, who held Japanese citizenship in the Karafuto Prefecture, were forced to repatriate to Hokkaidō by the Soviet Union as a part of the Japanese people.