The Ainu are an indigenous people living in Japan. Originally living in the whole Hokkaidō, Sakhalin island, Kuril islands and possibly Kamchatka, the Ainu people is today mostly concentrated in Hokkaidō, but large diaspora groups are also present outside of the island, for example in Tokyo. The history of Ainu people has been turbulent and harsh. Ainu have suffered from oppression and prevarication and sadly still today prejudice seems sometimes difficult to eradicate.
Within Japan, but also abroad, Ainu are often depicted as an enigmatic people and, in general, information about them is inaccurate or skewed by misconception – one such example is the erroneous idea that the Ainu language is dead.
In 2008 Ainu won recognition as indigenous people of Japan, which both was caused by and also helped the rise of a renewed consciousness of Ainu identity and traditions. Today there is a rather large Ainu community living mostly in Hokkaidō, whose effort to revitalize and preserve the rich Ainu cultural heritage is most important. It is thanks to this resilient community that the Ainu language is not dead today, although undeniably still in an endangered state. There are three varieties of Ainu: Hokkaidō, Sakhalin, and Kuril.
In this course, you will be learning how to speak Saru Ainu (Hokkaidō variety), which is one of the most widely studied dialects. At the same time, you will also gain knowledge about the Sakhalin variety.
- Lectures 42
- Quizzes 3
- Duration 4 weeks
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 1004
- Certificate Yes
- Assessments Yes