Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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2. Ainu.

The Ainu are an aboriginal people who once inhabited Hokkaidō, Sakhalin and the Kuril islands. Their music and culture link them to other Siberian peoples rather than to the ethnic Japanese. After World War II the Ainu on the Kuril islands and southern Sakhalin migrated to Hokkaidō, which is the only area they now inhabit. The present Ainu population is estimated at over 20,000, the great majority of whom are thought to be of mixed blood. With the dissolution of the tribal system, only a few elderly Ainu carried on the traditions described in the present tense below, but recent years have seen a revival of interest among Ainu as well as other Japanese.

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