|Ainu look Caucasian/Asian but their DNA shows no evidence of Caucasian genetic ancestry. They show kinship with Tibetans and Andaman Island aboriginals (Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D.)|
|Indigenous Ainu man, Native White Japanese, circa 1880 (Heritage of Japan)|
|Natives of the Americas are very much like the Native Ainu of Japan and Siberia|
|Ainu, 18th century (xiuyan.com.cn)|
Here is a good explanation of Ainu religion, which is like the shamanism of almost all native peoples.
- On Ainu etymology of key concepts of Shintō: tamashii and kami (Tresi Nonno, CAES)
- VIDEO: Life on Japanese-Russian disputed islands in Sakhalin region (RT)
- African origin of Japanese (like Andaman Island aboriginals)
- VIDEO: The "gulag"? Prisons of Siberia
- 101 East: Japan's Ainu (Al Jazeera English)
|Kuril Ainu dwelling (University of Tokyo)|
|Kuril Ainu next to traditional dwelling.|
|Ainu lands: Hokkaido, Sakhalin, Kuril islands|
Thus, even the disposal of discarded items such as food remains and broken objects is guided by the spatial classification of the Ainu universe and its directions, which derive from religious and cosmological principles.
What we call economic activities are religious activities to the Ainu, who regard land and sea animals as deities and fish and plants as products of deities.
(Sarastarlight) Ainu: First People of Japan, The Original and First Japanese: The Ainu [who are "white" but not genetically Caucasian. closer to Tibetans and Andaman Island aboriginals, and perhaps Agarthans] arrived in Japan maybe 14,000 years ago, 10,000 years before the Japanese. They were killed, enslaved, and driven off their lands, taking refuge in the northern islands of Japan (now Russia) where they now number less than 25,000. This is a documentary film by Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D. (BrainMind.com).
|Native American keystone totem animals like the bear|
According to tradition, the soul becomes perceptible when it leaves the owner's body. For example, when one dreams, one's soul [astral body] frees itself from the sleeping body and travels, even to places where one has never been.
Likewise, a deceased person may appear in one's dreams because the soul of the deceased can travel from the world of the dead to that of the living. During a shamanistic performance, the shaman's soul travels to the world of the dead to snatch back the soul of a dead person, thereby reviving the person nearing death
This belief underlies the Ainu emphasis on proper treatment of the dead body of humans and all other soul owners in the universe, resulting in elaborate funeral customs ranging from the bear ceremony, discussed later, to the careful treatment of fish bones, which represent the dead body of a fish.
|Yokai dracul (mokuhankan.com/Jed Henry's art)|
The soul has the power to punish only when it has been mistreated. Deities (kamuy), in contrast, possess the power to punish or reward at will. Some scholars believe that among the Ainu nature is equated with the deities.
Others claim that only certain members of the universe are deified. The Ainu consider all animal deities to be exactly like humans in appearance and to live just like humans in their own divine country -- an important point in Ainu religion.
Animal deities disguise themselves when visiting the Ainu world to bring meat and fur as presents to the Ainu, just as Ainu guests always bring gifts. The bear thus is not itself the supreme deity but rather the mountain deity's disguise for bringing the "gift" of bear meat and hide. ...
Evil spirits and demons
|Yokai, the Ainu's evil kami, are ghouls, monsters, and shape-shifters (scribblecitycentral)|
|Yokai; the many monsters of Japan|
Some of them are intrinsic or by definition bona fide demons, whereas others become demons. For example, if a soul is mistreated after the death of its owner, it turns into a demon.
The Ainu devote a great deal of attention to evil spirits and demons by observing religious rules and performing exorcism rites. Human combat with demons is a major theme in Ainu epic poems, discussed below.
Characteristically, the deities never deal directly with the demons; rather, they extend aid to the Ainu if the latter behave as directed.
Monsters, ghosts, fantastic beings, and supernatural phenomena haunt the folklore and popular culture of Japan. Broadly labeled yokai, these creatures come in infinite shapes and sizes, from tengu mountain goblins and kappa water spirits to shape-shifting foxes and long-tongued ceiling-lickers. Popular in anime, manga, film, and computer games, many yokai originated in local legends, folktales, and regional ghost stories (Michael Dylan Foster).
- The Ainu Portal on Wikipedia
- Kami (神) are spirits or phenomena worshiped in Shinto. They are elements in nature, animals, creative forces in the universe, as well as spirits of the revered deceased. Many kami are considered ancient ancestors of entire Japanese clans, and some ancestors became kami upon their death.
Racial discrimination in Japan where whites are the Natives being exterminated or ethnically cleansed by the invaders. A small boy denies his Ainu ancestry for fear of being bullied in a society where conformity is valued above all else. The Ainu people were chased into the north and are despised by the rest of Japan. Different in appearance, language, customs and DNA, they have suffered more than a century of discrimination. They are denied their traditional fishing rights, their sacred sites are being destroyed, and tourists come to gawk at their culture in museums. But now the Ainu are fighting back. They have at last won a seat in Japanese parliament, and many are re-learning the Ainu language. They are struggling to preserve their unique heritage in the face of an urbanized and uncaring modern Japan (ABC Australia - Ref. 87).
- Shamanism is part of the indigenous Ainu religion and Japanese religion of Shinto, although Shinto is distinct in that it is shamanism for an agricultural society. Since the early middle-ages Shinto has been influenced by and syncretized with Buddhism and other elements of continental East Asian culture [whereas Ainu presumably has not]. The book "Occult Japan: Shinto, Shamanism and the Way of the Gods" by Percival Lowell delves further into researching Japanese shamanism or Shintoism. The book Japan Through the Looking Glass: Shaman to Shinto uncovers the extraordinary aspects of Japanese beliefs.
|Ainu shaman, Exhibition from Laura Liverani, HESO Magazine (hesomagazine.com)|
|Ainu shamanism: "pet bear sacrifice," Japanese scroll painting, circa 1870 (wiki)|
Shamanism is highly valued among the Sakhalin Ainu, and highly regarded members of society of both sexes, including heads of settlements, may become shamans.
Although shamans sometimes perform rites for divination of various sorts and for miracles, most rites are performed to diagnose and cure illnesses.
When shamans are possessed by spirits, they enter a trance and the spirit speaks through their mouths, providing the client with necessary information such as the diagnosis and cure of an illness or the location of a missing object.
|Bear Geisha or indigenous Ainu influences in Japanese art (Shimizu Yoku/yokuarts.com)|
Although she also diagnoses illnesses, male elders take over the healing process. Male elders must consult a shaman before they make important decisions for the community. In other words, the politically powerful male cannot even declare a war without consulting the shaman...
|Kuril Ainu girl with face markings|
For the Ainu, the oral tradition is both a primary source of knowledge about the deities [kami] and a guide for conduct. There are at least 27 native genres of oral tradition, each having a label in Ainu, that may be classified into two types, verses (epic or lyric) to be sung or chanted and narrative prose. More
What is "Zen"?
|Ascetic Bodhidharma brings Zen to Japan|
Similarly, Tibet had Bon, Himalayan shamanism, until Buddhism arrived. But they did not lose their indigenous practices and worldviews.
They expanded them to accommodate the world's first missionary religion. Buddhism arrived not to take over the country the way Christianity is used to precede the military but to spread the Dharma. So Japanese and Tibetan Buddhism, called Zen and Vajrayana, are both distinct forms of Vedic/Hindu-influenced Mahayana Buddhism.
Zen came from China, where it is called ch'an. The word translates as "meditation" but in its original sense of "meditative absorption" (jhana, dhyana, deep effortless-concentration, trance, samadhi). Every culture colors Buddhism when it arrives creating a distinct school as indigenous lore gets folded in.
|White? Do I look white? I'm Ainu (dijaspora)|
It is the core of spirituality, which if not arrived at by drums, austerities (like yoga, fasting, breath control, etc.), or natural predilection will be seen with entheogens be they mushrooms, plants, roots, or potions.
Shinto and Zen overlap, both being deeply Japanese, the character of which is deeply influenced by the Ainu natives that were driven into the sea the way US forces pushed out the Native Americans but then assimilated their lore, ways, and mythology.
- From Primitives to Zen: Ainu shamanism (Mircea Eliade from Man and the Sacred)
- Buddhism is waning in Japan ( Thousands of Japan's historic Buddhist temples are expected to shut down. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with Ian Reader, an expert on Japanese culture, on how Buddhism is changing in the country.
- Peter Matthiessen on writing and Zen Buddhism Fresh Air listens back to a 1989 interview with Snow Leopard author and Paris Review co-founder Peter Matthiessen, who died Saturday at age 86. His new novel In Paradise comes out Tuesday.