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Even if there are Ainu, they are no more than Japanese who are descended from Ainu. All they do is insist relentlessly on exercising their rights. It's absurd, and I can't explain it to the taxpayers.

36 Comments

Yasuyuki Kaneko, 43, an LDP member of the Sapporo Municipal Assembly, who is under fire for posting on Twitter that native Ainu people "don't exist anymore." (Mainichi Shimbun)

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Disgusting for an elected official , and just a 43 year-old one at that, to hold this opinion. Depressing really. You would hope younger generations of Japanese would be more tolerant of minorities, not less so.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

This is nothing new. The Japanese government has a history of not wanting to acknowledge the existence of Ainu. He's just putting into words what some Japanese (hopefully a minority) really believe.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It is sad that there is this vocal element of politicians and people in Japan who are so enamored with the idea of Japan being a homogeneous island/society that they actively engage in lies, willful ignorance, and blatant deception in regards to ANY non-Yamato citizens or even residents of this nation.

Disregard the Ainu, the Ryuku/Okinawan, and of course the products of any mixed heritage or naturalized citizens (as few as there might be compared to other countries) as either not being of those groups, or if the person either is obviously of another heritage or insists on being recognized as being both a Japanese citizen and of a certain ancestry, accuse them of being not really Japanese.

A sad, racist trend that exists in certain elements. The more they are brought to the public light, hopefully the more they die off. Like most mold when exposed to light and air.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The Japanese Govt only gave the Ainu recognition 5 or 6 years ago (unbelievable - eh?), after denying the existence of a distinctly seperate ethnicity in pureland Yamato.

As I recall it was only given hastily, because a World Indigenous Peoples conference - or the like - was being held in Hokkaido, and how embarrassing would that have been for the "No Indigenous People" Japan.

The LDP politicians comments show how little has changed and even reflects on broader ailments in Japanese society.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Don't tell me, Ryukuans and the Ryukyuan languages don't exist anymore either. In fact, everyone living in Japan is Wajin. Isn't that right, Kaneko?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

An elected politician who don't know, understand or cares about the Ainu culture? While other countries have gone a long way with their native people Japan seriously lags behind without even an apology to the Ainu?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

It was actually in 2008 when the Japanese government for the first time in history, recognized the Ainu as an indigenous people of Japan. However despite the government's promise to create a law to help the Ainu recover their status, regain their culture, and build relationships between Ainu and non-Ainu people in Japan, the corresponding law has not yet been created to this day. The Japanese government has been reluctant to discuss injustices attributable to laws, which oppressed Ainu for the purpose of political gain. Therefore little is known about what the Ainu think in regard to their situation, their feelings about their historic oppression and the existing policies and law and how they would like to promote implementing cultural recovery through the protection and maintenance of their identity and traditional ways of living and also whether there are geographical and generational disunities in awareness and perspectives in the aforementioned challenges to their way of life.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The Ainu Association of Hokkaido

http://www.ainu-assn.or.jp/english/eabout04.html

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So much to say... but too lazy to write about being half yamato half ainu, raised outside Japan and at the end, having the feeling of belonging to nowhere. This lady is one good exemple of idiot people who helps to build the nowhereland...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

diversity alive and well in Japan. Arguably it is too alive and well in some other areas of the world.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

All they do is insist relentlessly on exercising their rights. -

And heaven forbid that people exercise their rights?! I mean where would the world be if people actually insisted that the laws were enforced equally!!

... I'd say this needs police investigation to find out precisely what rights are being interfered with, and charges bought against anyone denying anyone their legal rights.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It's absurd, and I can't explain it to the taxpayers.

You can't explain it because you aren't making any sense.

Even if there are Ainu

native Ainu people “don’t exist anymore.”

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is the sort of insensitive and discriminatory crud we have come to expect from LDP politicians, particularly from municipal assemblies. What this remark proves is that Yasuyuki Kaneko is an ignoramus with particular malicious bend. When a person like that complains about people "exercising their rights" you know that he is not a mere simpleton but a direct danger to democracy. He should be kicked out of the Sapporo assembly.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

How dare people want to exercise their rights! It's such an inconvenience for the dictatorship, I mean leadership...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Idiot detected. Show due caution.

Seriously, ship her to Hokkaido to explain that to Ainu citizens in person.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Since when is "Yasuyuki" a woman? This is a male and he is in Sapporo already.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Meguroman

Though I saw another poster refer to that gender. And belatedly saw "Kaneko" which is probably what he/she got the wrong idea from. (Worked with a "Kaneko", I know it's, at least commonly, a surname)

Can't edit posts and can't post twice in a row to make a correction.

That aside, he's still an idiot regardless of his plumbing. If he's already in Hokkaido, that makes him an even bigger one.

I also hope your not inferring something because I'm not as knowledgeable about Hokkaido as you because I don't live there. Not that I care less about which politicians are active areas that I have lived in before..

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You would hope younger generations of Japanese would be more tolerant of minorities, not less so. -

Tolerance and respect of diversity is not a subject taught in Japanese school's, so I ask you, how are the younger generations supposed to learn or taught to be tolerant when the people teaching them have no idea about it themselves?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What Kaneko stated afterwards in his blog is essentially correct. The "Ainu" are Japanese for there are no distincition in their Koseki nor Jyuminhyo. They live and work under the same conditions and same set of laws. But what Kankeko was referring to is the special priviledges given to by 'Ainu" in regards to low interest home loans and subsidies for driver license, and scholarships subsidized by the local government. So how does one qualify for "Ainu"?

Zichi gave the link to The Ainu Association of Hokkaido. There are no 'set' criteria. Once could simply claim to be decendents or married to one and you are 'officially' certified as one. After that, you are entitled to the above subsidies from the local government.

As a member of Sapporo Municipal Assembly, he's not the only lawmaker that received complaints from the voting public about this scheme.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Constituencies mean funds flowing. Funds flowing mean there is a percentage to be had, by someone, somewhere. And reelection.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yasuyuki Kaneko: "This is a good photo. Mr. Ainu can you stand in the center here. Plus Mr. Navaho Chief here. Oh and lets get this Dodo bird in front of us. There we go!" Say Cheese!!!

One for the history books. Disperse now folks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No surprise it's coming from an LDP member.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I am technically what is called a "Native American" because my grandfather was an American Indian. But my hair is brown, my eyes are green, and I don't know a word of the old language. Even my grandfather knew little. Were I to return to the reservation my grandfather ran away from, I would never fit in. Whatever my ethnic background might me, I am simply an American. I look and sound like most other Americans. But, because of my ancestry, and status as a "native American" (isn't anyone born in a particular country supposed to be a "native"?), I am entiltled to benefits which other Americans aren't. I can qualify for BIA grants, scholarships, and other things, but I, like my grandfather, do not like to take things that I didn't earn. That these benefits are available to a particular race of people indicates a belief that these people are inferior in some way, and are incapable of getting by on their own.

Recognition is one thing, subsidies are another. I have to side with Kaneko's opinion here. If one wants to call themself an "Ainu" because their great-grandfather was half Ainu, even though he looks like like any other Taro Suzuki, that is fine. But it is not necessary to provide him subsidies which others whose great-grandfathers were not half Ainu do not get.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

sangetsu - where does it say the great grand children of half Ainu blood ancestors are claimants?

What is the purpose of his comment?

Is it to curry favour with his electorate (eg votes) by making a big bad wolf out of an easy target?

Is it an act of seeking justice and equality for all Japanese regardless of their ancestral backgrounds?

Or is it to focus on public funds wastage - you know the scourge of rightful democracies?

If this is his real intent I'd suggest he'd be better off looking deeply at the nepotism, bureaucratic back rubbing, amakudari and general grifting his party specializes in and commenting on such to the public at large.

Then he may garner a little cred.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What is the purpose of his comment?

Because there are no full-blood Ainu, and there have been none for some time. What is worse, there is no specific way to determine who is or isn't part Ainu. You have to go back some generations to find any "pure" Ainu people, and even then, they were few. I find it funny to see Japanese who identify themselves as Ainu when they look entirely Japanese. Simply making costumes copied from old black-and-white photos and wearing them at public events doesn't make a Japanese an Ainu anymore than my wearing mocassins and a feather headress would make me a "native American." But at least America requires verifiable proof of ancestry before a so-called native American can claim public benefits for doing more than being a native American.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The Ainu have been greatly reduced in number through centuries of discrimination and assimilation.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I take your points fairly, but defining only "pure bloods" as having any rights to ancestral claims is hugely debatable

And as I stated - what's in it for Yasuyuki Kaneko? Probably something akin to what I previously posted - but I could be wrong - he may be a man of compassion.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Because there are no full-blood Ainu, and there have been none for some time. What is worse, there is no specific way to determine who is or isn't part Ainu. You have to go back some generations to find any "pure" Ainu people, and even then, they were few.

Perhaps not "pure", but considering that there were still large numbers living traditional Ainu lifestyles 150 years ago, it would be surprising if the heritage had been completely eradicated. Also, if there is no full-blood Ainu, there are probably few full-blood Japanese in Hokkaido who is not part Ainu.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Weren't the Ainu the first real residents of Japan? Doesn't that make the people complaining about them descendants of Chinese or Korean immigrants? So who has the right to complain?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Not being "full-blooded Japanese" is enough to not be considered Japanese and be discriminated against in Japan.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"full-blooded Japanese" what does that even mean, Japanese as with all other nationalities in the world are descendants from a single tribe in Africa around 200,000 years ago, Genetic analysis of modern day human populations in Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and South America have revealed that we are all descended from these common ancestors. so compared to our common ancestors that would make us all unpure blooded No!? science doesnt lie

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Racism in its worst way to acknowledge but quickly forget

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Doesn't surprise me no one lies to admit the land was stolen fro the original people. Same here in the United States. But in both cases there is still living evidence of the original people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@nigelboy and sangetsu03

Ah, this is a money thing?

Well, I guess some proof would be in order then, if there are some "claimants" who seem dubious.

Just what are they after?

I'm from a minority, half of me anyway. If people want to continue their culture (language, art, music, whatever) and it's not harmful (like headhunting), I'm behind any minority 100%. Even if you're not from that minority, I see no problem with showing your support and joining in any activities aimed at the above. People have been swapping cultures since year dot. (Same applies to majorities, because they consist of people too)

Money is a tricky thing. I see a minorities back home get special treatment. I agree with in part, especially if they have an uphill battle, but it does get ridiculous at times. Minority or not, you're also a citizen of a country and should have the same responsibilities as others.

In short, we're all people and should respect each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Ainu have been greatly reduced in number through centuries of discrimination and assimilation.

How in the world can any people be reduced in number through discrimination or assimilation?

It's like saying Okinawan's are not Japanese, they are as citizens, ethnically and culturally they still have differences just like the Ainu and they will always be there.

The ONLY way the number can be reduced is by death.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Overall I think the financial burden is not so great that it can't be maintained a least for a little while if only just as a kind of penance. Aside from the opinions of far-rightists I see no indication that the Japanese people at large are anything but happy at this monetary act of contrition. Contrary to what some may believe most Japanese are a highly apologetic lot towards the peoples they've wronged in the past. Even the Japanese I know outside of Japan are very contrite to me and my friends for no better reason than because we're Chinese. Officially there are only 25000 Ainu pure-bloods today, some say as much as 250000 but they're more likely mixed. And their culture still remains for the most part intact and preserved. Lots of them still live in the traditional style they did 150 years ago. Point is the government only accepts those 25000 which is about 0.0002% of the population. For a country like Japan this is minuscule compared to Australia which has 670000 undeniable Aborigines or 3% of the country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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