北の生活文化(Ainu clothing)

 

 

北の生活文化(Ainu clothing)


 

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 The rich tradition of Hokkaido cooking is best represented by three main streams. There are Ainu culinary specialties such as "Ruibe," Japanese cuisine developed during the period under the governance of the Matsumae clan and dishes using dairy products which were introduced in the era of modern development. Winter clothes and boots were developed to adapt to the snowy climate and the standard housing units are highly insulated and airtight as opposed to the types of units which are commonly seen on the main island of Honshu. These products originated in Hokkaido and have been introduced to the south of Japan.
 
Ainu clothing
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53. Clothing using the fabric made of grass fiber
 Ainu clothing essentially manifested their feelings of awe toward and wish to have control over supernatural beings that cannot be influenced by humans. The patterns on the clothing were not designed to simply decorate garments but to protect the intended wearers by working to avert malign influences at times of need. This was the case with patterns on the hilts and sheaths of swords or on carved wooden trays and tobacco cases which were crafted by men. It is presumed that the patterns concentrate on specifically designated parts of clothing through which demons or evil spirits were believed to easily enter into people's bodies. Today, the clothing of the Ainu renews our recognition of the importance of magico-religious and talismanic power as it relates to clothing. Basic patterns appearing on Ainu clothing include Morew or whirlpools and a parenthesis-like design alternating with point marks which is referred to as Ayus. Patterns similar to both of these are found in areas along the Amur River, in Sakhalin and in areas as far away as Mongolia.

 In addition to such fabrics as those mentioned above hides and fur, fish skin and bird feathers as well as fibers from the inner bark of trees and grass fibers were available in the cold climatic zone. The use of hides, fur and bird feathers, however, was considered symbolic of an uncivilized state by the Japanese people and these materials were subsequently underutilized. The active trade with Honshu and the continent introduced foreign cotton and silk to the island, and Attus, which were made at a loom, were worn on official occasions jointly observed with the Matsumae clan or the Shogunate. Silk garments known as Ezo nishiki were brought to Hokkaido from China and were greatly appreciated on ceremonial occasions.
 
Changes in winter clothing over time
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56. Cloak for women, around 1920 57. Woolen mantle for men which is double-
   layered in the upper part, around 1920
 Owing to the relatively moderate climate in the Japanese settlement areas in modern period times in Matsumae, Hokkaido, traditional Japanese clothes which were padded with cotton or quilted were extensively worn. In addition, people wore the Ainu Attus, a type of clothing made of plant fiber, as well as the hides of bear and deer which were used for coats. Japanese style clothing was deemed inappropriate in the harsh, cold climate and the combination of Japanese and Western style clothing was widely and quickly accepted. Notably, some Western woolen fabrics were referred to as "Aka (red) getto," originating in the English term for blanket and flannel was also used widely. (In Japanese, "blanket" is pronounced "buranketto." The ending "-ketto," changed to "-getto," forms the ending of the word "akagetto.") Typical winter clothes seen in the first half of the 20th century were hoods, cloaks which resembled plain brown or dark blue woolen blankets, and winter clogs for women. Black woolen mantles which were double-layered in the upper part were worn by men.

 The 1910s was an era when Western clothing and leather shoes became widespread. Shinroku Iwai learned shoemaking techniques from the Dutch and opened a shoe store which is the oldest in operation today in Sapporo. Rubber boots began to replace clogs, straw shoes and strawboots around 1920, enabling people to be more actively and comfortably engaged in outside activities during witertime.

 The Sapporo Winter Olympic Games in 1972 was a landmark event that spurred the production of more colorful winter sportswear. More emphasis was given to style in order to produce sophisticated winter clothing like that shown at the Fashion Show which is annually held as part of the Sapporo Snow Festival.
 
Diet of the Ainu
 
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60. a wild garlic, A. victoriali v. platyhyllum 61. Dase, grilled or smorked, and completely
   dried above a hearth
 The Ainu people are often classified as one group of hunter-gathers due to the fact their lives were centered around the rigors of deer hunting and salmon, trout fishing for which they used original weapons and gear. However, they led relatively sedentary lives compared with other groups of hunters and gatherers because they could rely on a steady catch of a large amount of salmon which migrated back at a definite time of year. This salmon catch was later dried and stored for winter consumption.

 The fish were cut into fillets after the heads and organs were removed and were dried in the sun during winter or smoked or grilled on a spit before being completely dried above a hearth. Edible wild plants were chopped finely, dried in the sun or boiled and dried for preservation. Thus, the hearth placed in the center of a room was most essential for preparing food for preservation.

 Ainu people gather and use a few hundred different plants and herbs, employing their extensive knowledge of flora. Pounding lily bulbs into starch that is preserved for later consumption is one example of the Ainu people's extraordinary use of resources. Northern peoples who are hunters and gatherers generally place strong emphasis on fishing and hunting and much less on gathering. The fact that Ainu people supported themselves on the border of temperate and sub-arctic zones allowed them to obtain abundant resources not only for food but material for tools and ingredients for medicines and dyes from the deciduous broadleaved forests. It should not be overlooked that the Ainu, at the same time, were able to utilize rich resources of mammals that had underpinned the northern hunting and gathering culture.
 
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