Opening My Eyes To New Perspectives

Before I began studying the Ainu I did not know much about the group. My knowledge was very limited, I was only aware of the location of the indigenous group and some of the holidays that the region took part of. The research I conducted, helped me to become incredibly more knowledgeable about the Ainu.

When someone thinks of the Ainu and learn they are from Okinawa, they may make assumptions about this group. They may look at the modernized Okinawa and think the Ainu fall into the same category of people. However, this is false as the relationship the Ainu has with the people and tourists of Japan is not stable. This goes to show that this group is more than a single story, that their cultures values and traditions differ from those of modern Japan which has led to the unstable relationship.

As I touched basis on in the previous paragraph, tourism does have a negative effect on Ainu people. Tourists help to promote modernization of Okinawa, because of this, past beliefs, traditions, and essential parts of culture are lost. Tourism is hiding the history of the people that lived their and is promoting an ever changing future. Since the Ainu do not support this and wish to continue living with their traditions, problems have occurred between the groups. This is promoting a single story as the tourist are simply viewing the Ainu of people as the past and not the future.

By researching the Ainu I learned specific customs, holidays, and ways of living that the Ainu take part in. By learning all these elements I was able to deepen my knowledge on belief systems, ways of survival, and values that other groups of people hold dear. It was able to open my own perspectives to another way of viewing the world.

The most important aspect I applied to my blog posts was in depth research. I read through and watched many different sources of information before writing anything for the blog post. This gave me a good basis on how I wanted to build my post and what was the most important factors to talk about in my post. I also used organization to help build my blog posts, this helped to keep my thoughts in order and keep adding to my ideas without getting lost.


Pictures That Extend a Look Into the Ainu’s Culture

This photo shows a Tanabata festival that took place in 2016. During this festival people write down their wishes on slips of paper and hang them on trees.


This photo shows a Shishimai festival, during this festival a wooden lion mask and a wool costume is worn. The dance is preformed to loud music that includes gongs, drums, bells, flutes, etc.


This photo shows a groups of Ainu people dressed is traditional clothing. This photo was taken in 1930 and helps to present the indigenous groups culture.


APA Citations:

Tanabata festivalis [Photograph found in Lietuvių: Tanabata festivalio dekoracijos]. (2016, November 30). Retrieved February 27, 2017, from http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2283.html (Originally photographed 2016, November 30)

H., E. (2007, August 17). Shishimai matsuri07 [Photograph found in Français : Shishimai au festival Matsuri Japon 2007]. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from http://www.flickr.com/photos/dptlc/1187812739/in/set-72157601574646098/ (Originally photographed 2007, August 17)

Shinkosha. (2009, August 22). Ainu people circa 1930 [Photograph found in Series of Japanese geography and folk culture: Vol.14, Okinawa]. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ainu_people_circa_1930.JPG (Originally photographed 1930)


Cultural Tourisms Impact On The Ainu

Video 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjBYtYAOsJc

This video shows the Anius relationship with the modern day groups of Japan and the tourist that come to the island. It shows how the Ainu people aren’t treated fairly be the rest of the people of Japan. The Ainu are trying to take charge of this situation and move forward with the rest of Japan as a more united group.

The title of this video is The Despised Ainu People: A look into the modern-day situation of the Ainu people of Hokkaido in Japan”. The date it was uploaded on YouTube was May 11, 2011 but was originally released in 1994. ABC Australia published this video. The purpose of this video is to show how the relationship between the Ainu and modern Japan is being strained. However, these two very differing groups are learning to see each others perspectives and move towards a better future.

J. (1994). Motion picture. ABC Australia . Retrieved February 20, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjBYtYAOsJc


Video 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXuwP67PsJ4

This video shows numerous items that were used in Ainu culture. It focuses on the hunting and fishing aspects of their culture and the tools they had once used.

The title of this video is “Honkan Japanese Gallery Ainu Culture”. It was uploaded to YouTube on September 25 2015. This video was published by Shiran De Silva. The purpose of this video was to explain the uses of these historic tools and how the Ainu used them in their culture.

Silva, S. D. (2015, September 25). Retrieved February 20, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXuwP67PsJ4


Cultural Changes Among The Inhabitants of Okinawa

Article 1:

Morris, S. (1999, December). THE AINU: BEYOND THE POLITICS OF CULTURAL COEXISTENCE. Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine . Retrieved February, 2017, from https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/ainu-beyond-politics-cultural-coexistence

This article talks about how the protection law was placed on the Ainu people (indigenous group in the Ryukyu Islands). It shows that this law helped to protect their heritage and that their past history shows how they resisted colonization with protests. However, before the law was put into place they still were victims of colonization as many of their resources were engulfed in the modernization of the state.

Morris-Suzuki studies the history of Japan and Korea. She studied at the University of Bristol and has written books such as, Re-inventing Japan and Exodus to North Korea. This article falls well into her range of expertise as she has studied Japanese culture. Morris-Suzuki is also a professor at the School of Culture, History, and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific. These credentials show that she has a large focus on the research of other cultures. The goals of these institutions is to expand the knowledge they know on the cultures they are studying and to teach others what they have learned from these cultures. This article was originally published in 1999 which makes it out dated for my current research. I cannot know what has occurred in the many years that have passed since this article was published. The author is addressing the larger group of people who have colorized indigenous groups. They are trying to show the importance of the Ainu’s past and trying to head the larger group from erasing their cultural background.

This information in the article is fact. They talk about the history and laws put into place of the Ainu people. The only opinion in this article is the authors own feeling towards indigenous groups. The information is valid as they explain the history of the group and give definitions of the laws. They also use dates to support that their evidence is based in real time. This article is similar to other works I’ve read as they discuss how the indigenous groups fights the urge to be colonized but in term do have changes occur within the process. The colonization of this group seems similar to the others I have read about. I do believe the author is somewhat bias about the group as their research career has been based on people of this origin. However they do try to remain factually based for the most part, it only shifts to a more opinionated outlook when they start discussing the outcomes of what could happen to the Ainu people.

Article 2:

Figal, G. (2008, April & may). Between War and Tropics: Heritage Tourism in Postwar Okinawa. The Public Historian , pp. 88-107. Retrieved February, 2017, from http://tph.ucpress.edu/content/30/2/83

This article talks about how Okinawa was re imagined to look more like a tourist hot-spot after the war. The focus of the island was changed to appease those who visited and they re imaged it as more a tropical tourist spot which in turn has changed the islands heritage. However, World War II and the effects casted onto the island still remain to be a large part of its history among the people living there.

Gerald Figal has done many other studies on Okinawa and the war/tourism that occurs their. He is writing a book-length study on Okinawa currently. Figal is an associate professor who teaches about Japanese history, popular culture, and anime. He is part of the institution, Vanderbilt University, this school helps to promote the leanings of other cultures and what their effects are on the world surrounding them. This article was published in 2008 so it is somewhat out of date. It is almost 9 years old which is large amount of time for change to have occurred. The author is addressing a general audience towards those who have basis knowledge of Okinawa and what their views are on it.

This article is based on fact as it uses evidence of past events to show a cause and effect relationship that has now taken place on the current Okinawa. It does seem valid and well researched as it gives direct info on past events that are well documented and dated. This article is similar to the other cited article as they both examine the changes that have occurred over time. They also both support indigenous groups and want to preserve their history. The author isn’t completely free of emotion as when he talks about the war, he seems to extend some emotion towards the destruction that took place to Okinawa. I think it is clear the author knows a lot about this group but isn’t completely clear if he is a member of this group.


Ryukyuans – Festivites Within The Islands

The Ryukyuan People

The indigenous group that interests me are the Ryukyuan people (also known as the Lewchewan people). This group is located in the Ryuku Islands, which is located between the islands of Kyushu and Taiwan. I have always been drawn to Asia’s culture, especially those located close to Japan. I though it would be interesting to learn more about the origins of the people who had first settled in these areas. I also thought it might be interesting to see how their cultural aspects may have effected modern day culture and beliefs. Ryukyuan people hold many activities throughout the year but some of their larger events take place during the summer months. For instance, Tanabata takes place in July. During this event wishes are written on paper strips which are hung to bamboo trees. The Obon Festival also takes place in July, during so people participate in Eisa Dancing. It is believed ancestors gather with their living relatives and over the course of three to four days, the families give offerings and dance with one another. In August they have harvest festivals. During these festivals Shishimai dances occur; a wooden lion mask and a wool costume is worn. The dance is preformed to loud music that include gongs, drums, bells, flutes, etc.

The map shows that the islands are quite small in comparison to Japan. Okinawa is the largest island that is part of the Ryukyu islands.

The second map shows the chain of islands. They are located southwest of Japan, are approximately 1,100 kilometers in length, and are made up of 55 islands in total.



Blog Post #1 – Indigenous Groups and The Stories Among Them

Step 1:

  • Inuit – This group is known to reside in arctic regions such as Alaska and Canada. They are commonly known as Eskimos and hunt food by spear fishing.

It would be interesting to be a tourist in this region as their environment is very different from the one I live in. The climate is extremely than mine as they live in cold temperatures in barrens areas.

  • ! Kung – People within this group are refereed to as “Bushmen”. This group resides in South Africa. One of their traditions that revolves around the holiday Christmas is eating a large animal (Ox) together. They can be known for teasing one another even if what they say is untrue.

By being a tourist you would be able to learn the differences in their traditions, where their food sources are/come from, and how they treat one another.

  • Tiv – This group resides in Western Africa. They preform many ceremonies involving their elders. They also like to drink and mingle amongst one another quite often. During these drinking sessions they are known for telling stories and having a designated “story teller”. Within these stories different outcomes to shared stories become present.

It would be interesting to visit this group as you could take part of their story telling, and in turn learn the differences between shared stories.

Step 2:

  • Inuit – (1) People don’t like to be called Eskimos among their own people. They prefer Inuit but know that outsiders call them Eskimos.

    (2) An anthropologist once tried to learn their way of hunting (spear fishing), he wanted to be able to provide food to the people (play his part).

  • ! Kung – (1) An anthropologist living among the ! Kung was in charge of getting the ox for the feast. He ended up believing he had picked a bad Ox because all the Bushmen kept teasing him on the ox he had chosen.

    (2) – They usually have little food so Christmas is a special occasion where everyone gets to eat as much as they want.

  • Tiv – (1) An anthropologist shared the story of Hamlet with an elder and learned how her version of the story was much different then their version of it.

    (2) Many ceremonies are preformed and when they aren’t being preformed people will drink at the start of the day. They will sing, dance, and play drums when this occurs.