HIEA 12 Week 2

Akhil Parvathaneni
2 min readJul 15, 2021

The Ainu are an ethnic group native to the Hokkaido region of Northern Japan with distinct physical features, culture, and language than Japanese people. If I were an Ainu person who lived through the Tokugawa regime’s takeover of my ancestral homelands, I would not be pleased. Under the Tokugawa regime, the northern part of Hokkaido was reserved for the Ainu people and the settlement of the Ainu’s land was prohibited. This changed over the mid through late 19th century with treaties such as the Treat of Shimoda and Treaty of St. Petersburg between Japan and Russia which were done in order to solidify the borders between the two. In this process, most of the Ainu inhabited regions were taken over by the Japanese and the island of Sakhalin was taken in by Russia and is the only island in the Japanese archipelago that is not in the nation of Japan.

An Ainu Man Source: Sapiens.org

If I were an Ainu person living through the Tokugawa takeover I would be very upset. The Tokugawa occupation is very similar to other colonial practices around the world. These practices included limiting traditional Ainu practices such as traditional fishing and hunting and prevented the speaking of the Ainu language. This is very similar to how Spaniards prevented Native American groups from practicing their religion. If I were to have my culture taken away from me it would be awful. The Japanese also prevented Aainu from accessing education, medical care, and other public amenities unless they adopted western farming techniques. In this situation, if I am being honest, I would completely submit to the rules laid out of the Tokugawa regime and live my life the best way I can. Maybe I would break the rules by continuing some parts of my culture such as occasionally hunting or teaching the Ainu language to my children, but being careful not to get caught.