Watanabe, Hitoshi, 1919-. The Ainu: a study of ecology and the system of social solidarity between man and nature in relation to group structure

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Title: The Ainu: a study of ecology and the system of social solidarity between man and nature in relation to group structure

Published By: Tokyo: University of Tokyo, 1964. 164 p.: ill., maps

By line: [by] Hitoshi Watanabe

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2009. Computer File

Culture: Ainu (AB06)

Subjects: Functional and adaptational interpretations (182); Production and supply (433); Community structure (621); Community heads (622); Ritual (788); Tribe and nation (619); Fishing (226); Gender status (562); Boats (501); Ethnobotany (824); Annual cycle (221); Hunting and trapping (224); Division of labor by gender (462); Real property (423); Land use (311);

Abstract: Once one of the original inhabitants of much of the Japanese archipelago, the remaining Ainu, following Japanese encroachments and incursions, now occupy sections of Hokkaido, Sakhalin, and other islands. Being subject to often extreme acculturative and assimmilative pressures of one sort or another, Ainu society has been transforming or modifying itself along Japanese lines to the point where the traditional subsistance economy, sociopolitical kinship and territorial system, and religious complex have been wholly lost or left only partially intact. In rediscovering some of these aboriginal institutions and organizations this document offers a fairly comprehensive and exhaustive description and analysis of what the interrelationships between ecological and economic processes were probably like among several of the aboriginal Ainu tribes of Hokkaido. The empirical findings in this monograph derive from the author's field research among the Ainu, involving interviews of informants knowledgeable of Ainu society as it was immediately prior to the 1880's before the Japanese undertook various agricultural development and land reallotment schemes which had the effect of undermining to a large extent the traditional Ainu economic system, and of fragmenting and dispersing Ainu village communities. He deals specifically with the Ainu situation under the 'basho' or feudal land district system during the last phases of the Tokugawa Shogunate just before the administration of the area by the Japanese government. The author's objective is to reconstruct from informant interview evidence and other historical documents the nature of aboriginal society and economy before the large-scale economic changes which were undertaken by the Japanese government. The author, a Jaanese anthropologist, organizes his data and evidence within an ecological framework by relating his findings to the theoretical concepts of cultural ecology. In evaluating and examining his material, he uses many of the ecological insights of Daryll Forde, whose student the author had been at the University of London. A section of extensive notes amplifying many of his general arguments and observations follows the main text. A useful bibliography, as well as explicit ecological maps and charts, is also included.

Document Number: 11

Document ID: ab06-011

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Note: Includes 2 folding maps, including 1 end map.

Field Date: 1951-1959

Evaluation: Ethnologist-4,5

Analyst: Gilbert Winer ; Helen Bornstein ;1968-1975

Coverage Date: 1900-1959

Coverage Place: Hokkaido

LCSH: Ainu


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