北の生活文化(Ainu folkcraft : Kuari and ~ )

 

 

北の生活文化(Ainu folkcraft : Kuari and Saranipu )


 

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 The tools and implements that have been used traditionally in Hokkaido were developed out of everyday life needs and those encountered in agricultural and fishing activities. They include those of the indigenous Ainu and a variety of tools and implements which were brought to Hokkaido by immigrants from various areas south of Hokkaido. Others were introduced through the influx of technologies and culture from foreign countries. Further, immigrants modified conventional objects and they newly designed articles which are expressive of Hokkaido's own identity.
 
Ainu folkcraft : Kuari and Saranipu
25.JPG 26-a.JPG 26-b.JPG
25. A bow with a catching device drawn in
   the middle of the 19th century. toward
   the end of the Edo period
26-a. Saranip made by
    hanging threads from
    above
26-b. Saranip made at a loon
 A bow with a catching device, called Kuari or Amappo in the Ainu language, is a tool the Ainu people used for hunting. A string is pulled tightly across the animal's path and when the animal touches the string it releases the crook to shoot a poison-tipped arrow. To prevent humans from being caught the bows were marked and the places for setting traps were carefully chosen by responsible hunting groups.

 These traps which didn't require people to tend them originated in the eastern part of the Eurasian continent. It is possible they may have used widely due to increased demand for the skins and fur of fox and other small game animals. The use of Kuari was banned by the Hokkaido Development Commission in the Meiji era and firearms for hunting were leased out.

 A Saranip is a woven bag which was used by the Ainu to transport gathered walnuts and acorns as well as to harvest and store barnyard millet and foxtail millet. A Saranip was made either by hanging threads from above or at a loom. The former method allowed women to weave easily regardless of the place and time by taking a short time out of their busy daily activities, while the latter is believed to have helped the Ainu people to concentrate on weaving bags for souvenir items.
 
Furnishings, tools and implements from Honshu and abroad
27.JPG 28.JPG 29.JPG
27. A pair of skis and poles
   (1920s)
28. Sendai style hoe 29. Ceramic bottle for vinegar
 The Japanese settlement was developed in Matsumae and the newly developed fishing villages were established along the coast of the Oshima peninsula from the Edo period to the early Meiji era. Most tools and other items found in areas such as these show a direct influence from Aomori and Akita in northern Honshu. Sendai style hoes were used in Date and Tobetsu and were brought by former samurai warriors of the Sendai clan when they settled in these areas. owari style hoes were used in Yakumo, introduced by immigrants who were former samurai of the Owari clan. The bottles in which vinegar was transported to Hokkaido were manufactured in various areas including Onomichi, Hiroshima, Osaka and Tottori during the Meiji and Taisho eras. Those bottles can be found in various parts of the island today, indicating the well-developed distribution system already existing in those days in Japan.

 Foreign articles were introduced to Hokkaido relatively earlier, and the Hokkaido Development Commission purchased agricultural tools and commissioned the production of Western style utensils and furnishings during the Meiji era. This was due to a policy of introducing European and American techniques and culture. Other than items for industrial use officially promoted by the policy, a variety of goods ranging from clothing, shoes, and tableware to sports equipment such as skis and skates were brought to the island along with the increase in trade and cultural exchanges. The waves of Western culture arrived at the shores of Hokkaido from the end of the Taisho era after the First World War until the early Showa period.
 
Development of furnishings, tools and implements of Hokkaido
 
30.JPG 31.JPG
30. Seed rice planting device 31. Snow removal operation at the Sapporo Railway
   Station, 1978
33.JPG
33. Back-pack like carriers made of wood and of braided ropes
 The furnishings, tools and implements of Hokkaido were connected with the fishery industry which had been the basis of economic activity in Hokkaido since the Edo period. A wooden device to carry the herring catch from boats to storage areas was made modeled after a backpack-like carrier made of braided ropes which was used in Honshu. This carrier for use in Hokkaido was made of wood because of wood's greater durability when carrying heavy loads and because of the rich forest resources available on the island. The herring catch reached its peak during the cold period of April and May. At that time the wooden carrier was much appreciated as it helped prevent a reduction in labor productivity that could be caused by illnesses resulting from workers' backs becoming wet from the fish they carried.

 Dry field cropping was dominant in the early Meiji era as settlers gave up on rice production due to the cold climate. Continuing efforts were made to improve rice varieties and rice is now produced in many areas of Hokkaido. Hokkaido produced the largest amount of rice in 2000 in Japan. This exceeded production in Niigata Prefecture, largely owing to the invention of a planter which allows the planting of unhulled rice directly in the paddy.

 Snow removal tools are one of the typical tools developed in Hokkaido. Due to the powdery type of snow which was unlike the snow in Honshu, a strip of wood was attached to three sides of a wooden shovel to keep the snow from falling off and bamboo shovels were also used. A box-shaped snow remover was later designed by the people of the former National Railways. Currently, the so-called "Snow Dump," a lightweight snow remover made of plastic or aluminum, is widely used.
 
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