Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 33.djvu/214

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Their number can not be given with the least degree of satisfaction. The Japanese Government census is not correct, nor is it claimed to be. Individual estimates range from 15,000 to as high as 50,000, but I fancy 16,000 or 18,000 would be about the number of Ainu in the empire of Japan. It is rather satisfactory to learn, from those who have been among the Ainu of late years, that they are holding their own, if not actually increasing in population. They may have survived their usefulness, though it is not easy to say just what that usefulness has been; but the same reason for alleging that they now but cumber the earth can not be advanced in their case that has been charged against the North American Indians (with whom the Ainu have been compared, though upon what grounds I can not see). The Indian is naturally a bloodthirsty savage, while a more peaceful, law-abiding race than the Ainu can not be imagined. In my general opinion of the Ainu I hold a middle ground between Miss Bird's enthusiasm, which makes him a gracious courtier, and the contempt of most Japanese who say, "The Ainu are just dogs, and have no souls."

The people know themselves as Ainu—Ainu utara. Ainu is singular, and utara is a plural suffix: Ainu, however, is often used when speaking of them collectively. Inasmuch as the Japanese word for dog is inu, there is some. ground for supposing that the tradition concerning the Ainu descent from a "large white dog" was invented by the Japanese after they became acquainted with the Ainu name for themselves, and was intended to show the contempt of the conquerors for the "vile and ignominious Aino." I do not venture to express any opinion as to the origin of this race of people, since it is a subject about which they themselves know nothing for certain. Batchelor says: "The older Ainu have a tradition to the effect that a person named Okikurumi" (who is strongly suspected to have been none other than the Japanese hero Yoshitsune—J. K. G.) "was the true Ainu ancestor. He descended from heaven to a mountain in Piratoru many years before the Japanese knew or were known by the Ainu. Okikurumi had a wife who was called Turesh, and who is always known by name—Okikurumi Turesh Machi. Okikurumi Turesh Machi bore a son, whom they called Wariunekuru, and from Wariunekuru the Ainu are said to be descended. Some of the Sara Ainu say that their forefathers came from the islands which lie to the northeast of Karafuto, or Saghalien, meaning thereby the Kurile Islands. The Kurile-Islanders are said to be ' quite as hairy as the bear,' and this accounts for the hairiness of the Ainu."

I think that the character of the Ainu house would seem to indicate that the people are of southern origin, and have been