The Ainu are the indigenous people of Japan, living in Hokkaido, the furthest most island of the island chain. There aren't many Ainus left, but there are heritage parks you can visit to see traditional building, costumes, and dance of the Ainu.
Here is a man who works at one the villages. As you can see, his features are different from what people would consider Japanese.
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gabrielpat (7163) 2006-07-23 16:56
a very nice portrait,full of majesty,this man must have a great personality,i think.nice colours and shrpness for portrait.:)
piotrkweclich (792) 2006-07-23 17:19
Nice shot, I like feeling of thinking by the character.
daddo (22718) 2006-07-24 3:33
Excellent portrait of a member of the worshipers of the bear.Excellent light, excellent details. Regards. Klaudio
eleparc (24063) 2006-07-24 6:20
there is a certain majesty in the way he looks outside of the frame towards the infiny... nice sharp colors as well! a very neat portrait;-)
Klapaucius (623) 2006-07-24 10:27
Okinawa and Hokkaido? You have definately travelled Japan well.
This is a great portrait of a very interesting man. Like the Okinawan dancer, you have again showed a unique part of Japanese culture. The Ainu are a part of Japan unlike any other part of Japan. They add to the complexity and wonder of the country and its people.
Excellent clarity, good framing, good lighting and colours have come out well.
This is an article on the Ainu from Encarta. You might find it interesting or useful - or anyone else reading this might like it...
"Ainu, aboriginal people of Asia, chiefly occupying parts of the Japanese island of Hokkaido as well as the Russian Kuril Islands and Sakhalin. The Ainu are thought to be descended from an ancient circumpolar people who were gradually driven north on the Japanese archipelago by invaders now known as the Japanese. Full-blooded Ainu are rare, primarily because so many have intermarried with Japanese. Traditional Ainu possessed various physiological characteristics such as a light complexion, heavy beard (in men), and thick, wavy hair. They were also, on the whole, rather short and sturdy. The Ainu language appears to be unrelated to any other; it is now mainly supplanted by Japanese. The decline of traditional Ainu culture is largely attributable to reforms introduced into Japan after World War II ended in 1945; these reforms caused rapid social and economic assimilation of most Ainu groups by the Japanese.
Traditional Ainu social organization is based on patrilineal kin groups, each headed by a chief. Local groups usually consist of five to ten households. Spawning grounds of dog salmon are owned collectively; cooperative activities within local groups include house building and a ceremony involving the dog salmon.
Ainu agriculture, essentially unmechanized until recently, was engaged in mainly by women, who practised a method of crop rotation. Women also gathered food whilst men hunted; both sexes engaged in fishing. The people have a basic diet of cherry salmon, dog salmon, deer, bear, and about nine different plants. Tattooing of the face, around the mouth, and on the arms is a common practice among the women, and it is also common for both men and women to wear earrings. Adult males never shave. The traditional religion, based on faith in a supreme deity, is a form of nature worship that revolves around a belief in spirits associated with natural phenomena and forces; it is now practised by very few people. A bear cult is especially prominent; an annual religious festival culminates in the sacrifice of a bear, approximately three years old, which has been hand reared from cubhood. Some contemporary anthropologists contend that a pure Ainu culture no longer exists, having been absorbed by the Japanese culture."
So are the Ainu people 'Japanese' or not? I would say that, because they live in Japan, they are Japanese. ^_^
lestans (17030) 2006-07-26 14:39
The note is interesting, well done and short as I prefer. The man is handsome, and the portrait is well framed in the red and white dress, good also the dark backyard.
A perfect shot, sharp, detailed, capturing a deep glance of the subject.
storca (2) 2007-03-15 15:27
Très joli personnage que ce témoin d'un peuple original que je viens récemment de découvrir.
J'aurai bien aimé voir ces habits en entier ?