北の生活文化(Disintegration of Ainu society~)

 

 

北の生活文化(Disintegration of Ainu society and movement for restoration)


 

 

 
Disintegration of Ainu society and movement for restoration
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8. Special exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution, 1999 9. Memorial service is annually held in
  front of the Statue of Shakushain,
  the hero of the Ainu.
 In 1869, the Hokkaido Development Commission wasestablished by the Meiji Government to promote large-scale development of the island. The island had been deemeda settlement area for other ethnic groups, an exception that was not under the control of the central government. The intended change in the name of the islandfrom Ezo to Hokkaido implied the official integration of the island into the Japanese national territory and the direct rule of the Ainu as one people in the nation state.

 Amid continuing tension with Russia, the nationalgovernment carried out a package of Hokkaido development policies under the banner of national prosperity, defense and industrial advancement. At the same time assimilation policies were intensified in order to force Ainu society to lose its integrity, The policies were best illustrated by the "Hokkaido Former Aborigines Protection Act." This act attempted to Japanize the Ainu by promoting agriculture among the Ainu while limiting the scope of their hunting and fishing activities and integrating them into the formal education system at schools. Consequently, Ainu people lost their basis for living and suffered from poverty.

 The assimilation policies were camied out over a long period of time,yet growing criticism was voiced from the Ainu people from the 1920s resulting in the foundation of the Hokkaido Ainu Association in 1946. The Association subseqtlently began to deepen its relations and solidarity with other indigenous peoples in the world and developed a movement to abolish the aforementioned act and restore their rights. The so called "New Ainu Law" was enacted in 1997.

※The "Law for the Promotion of Ainu Culture and for the Dissemination and Advocacy for the Traditions of the Ainu and
  the Ainu Culture"
 
A journey of immigration
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10. Hakodate Port, 1876
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11. Horonai Railways around 1883 12. Immigrants in Otaru, at the beginning of the
   20th century
 Sailboats were a major means for transport from the main island of Honshu to Hokkaido, formally Ezo, during the period from the modern(late 16th century) to the early Meiji era. Merchants traded using "Kitamae" ships, sailing north along the Japan Sea coast and calling on several ports including Osaka in the south and Matsumae, Esashi and Hakodate in Hokkaido. Due to the lack of regular service and frequent accidents with these ships, travelers went north by land up to Tsugaru or Aomori from where they came to either Matsumae, Esashi or Hakodate by boat. They traveled further north mostly either on foot, by boat or on horseback and used dugout canoes in the river systems.

 A trunk road connecting Sapporo and Hakodate opened in 1873 but large-scale construction work to build inland road systems took place only after 1886. Roads, however, were often closed due to melting snow, torrential rain or accumulated snow. The Hokkaido Development Commission hired Russian technicians to make horse-drawn sleighs and established a government owned transport company. The wide use of horse-drawn sleighs began from the 1910s or the end of the Meiji era.

 The first railway in Hokkaido was the American style Horonai railway which was built under the supervision of an American engineer, Joseph Crawford, in 1882, connecting Temiya in Otaru and Horonai in Mikasa. During the 1910s, the railway lines stretched northward to Wakkanai and eastward to Nemuro and major railways were established in the inland area.
 
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