Ainu at a traditional marriage ceremony in Hokkaido.
Yamato-no-Takeru, prince of the Yamato dynasty.
Hokkaido Ainu clan leader.
Proposed population migration routes into Japan, based on haplogroups.
Ainu leader
Migration routes into Japan during the Jōmon period.
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

The term came to be used around the late 19th century to distinguish the settlers of mainland Japan from minority ethnic groups inhabiting the peripheral areas of the then Japanese Empire, including the Ainu, Emishi, Ryukyuans, Nivkh, Oroks, as well as Austronesians, Chinese, Koreans, and Micronesian peoples who were incorporated into the Empire of Japan in the early 20th century.

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

5 related topics

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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.

Ryukyuans are not a recognized minority group in Japan, as Japanese authorities consider them just a subgroup of the Japanese people, akin to the Yamato people.

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

Depending on the context, the term ethnic Japanese may be limited or not to mainland Japanese people, specifically the Yamato (as opposed to Ryukyuan people).

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

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.

Migration route of haplogroup D

Haplogroup D-M55

Y-chromosome haplogroup.

Y-chromosome haplogroup.

Migration route of haplogroup D
Migration route of Y-DNA haplogroups in East Asia

It has been found in fourteen of a sample of sixteen or 87.5% of a sample of Ainu males in one study published in 2004 and in three of a sample of four or 75% of a sample of Ainu males in another study published in 2005 in which some individuals from the 2004 study may have been retested.

D1a2a (M64.1/Page44.1, M55)   Japan(Yamato people、Ryukyuan people、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.

After the Treaty of Nerchinsk in 1689, they functioned as intermediaries between the Russians, Manchu and Japanese, also with the Ainu who were vassals of the Japanese.