The Ainu people have gained their popularity all over the world because of their interesting uniqueness in all the ethnic Japanese people. Their cultural and racial backgrounds are significantly different where in researches have shown they have influences from both Japanese and Russian origins. They are an indigenous group of people whose cultures, traditions and even language are being protected and preserved today.
On the other hand, there is a very big hurdle with regards to this protection and preservation as intermarriages have somewhat blurred the originality and authenticity of their customs. The population of this indigenous group is actually unclear because of this fact. Some say that original Ainu people are in the number of about 25,000 while those that have been influenced through intermarriages extend up to about 200,000 people. These are merely estimates and the exact number is unknown. Based on studies about their culture and history, one of the theories includes the idea that they are descendants of Mongolian migrants during the Jomon Period. This, on the other hand is still unproven and the origin of this indigenous group still remains unknown.
Their name “Ainu” actually translates to the word that means human as they regard all other things as Kamuy or gods. Their daily routines involve rituals and ceremonies as prayers to their nature gods, animal gods and object gods. It is normal for indigenous groups to worship nature and animals as gods however this may be among the rare cases where objects are still worshipped. This includes pots, boats, houses and many more.
Their way of clothing, traditional attires and even their headdresses are different from the usual patterns observed from ethnic Japanese. Because of this, their group becomes even more fascinating. The problem, on the other hand, is the fact that the native Ainu language is slowly starting to deteriorate as the younger generation prefers using Nihonggo.