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of their adopted country. These so-called 'pit-dwellers' built their huts above shallow excavations, a multitude of which are still to be seen along the coasts of Yezo. Adjacent rubbish-heaps contain, besides bones and oyster-shells, flint arrow-heads and implements, with fragments of tastefully ornamented pottery. Similar relics occur as well in Nippon, the main island of Japan. In the Kurile Islands, if any. where, a remnant of this wellnigh vanished race still exists. There, until 1875, a handful of people led migratory lives, transporting themselves and their wretched chattels in frail canoes from one to the other of the Thousand Isles,' and living on the flesh of bears and seals, eked out with berries and sea-birds' eggs. But the Japanese Government, by way of improving their lot, collected together all the ninety comparatively happy ramblers, and virtually imprisoned them in the desolate island of Shikotan. They were there visited, in 1888, by Mr. Romyn Hitchcock, whose valuable paper on the Ainu we have included among our headings; and Mr. Landor, two years later, interrupted his peregrinations in Yezo to follow his example. The colony had then dwindled to sixty members, of whom many were sufferers from rheumatism and consumption; so that, by this time, the little graveyard on the hillside has probably more inmates than the village below. The time of the survivors is divided, Mr. Landor tells us, between fishing and praying. For they were obliged, under Russian rule, to conform to the Greek Church, and Jacko,' their chieftain and priest, on whatever day of the week strikes him as likely to be Sunday, reads the Greek service, and delivers an interminable sermon to a marvellously patient congregation. The men have European features, with some general hairiness; the women, with showy Russian kerchiefs knotted round their necks, and confining their jet-black hair, might almost be taken for peasants from the Campagna. The absence of tattooing constitutes a marked distinction between the Shikotan tribe and the true Ainu. They are even more strongly differentiated from them by the nature of their habitations. Mr. Batchelor's statement that the Kurilsky people are pitdwellers has been fully borne out by Mr. Hitchcock's descriptions and photographs. The excavated parts of their abodes, however, are occupied only in winter. Their summer lodges are mere thatched cabins, erected on the level ground, and these alone were inspected by Mr. Landor. He had no

*The Ainu of Japan, p. 311.

suspicion that they concealed semi-subterranean retreats for hibernation. The Shikotan fishermen cannot then be identified with the Ainu, whose scheme of life includes no change of quarters with the seasons. They may, on the contrary, be regarded as representing the ancient, obscure, and almost extinct race of Yezo pit-dwellers.

The Ainu of Sakhalin and Yezo belong unmistakably to the same stock. Physiognomy, religion, language, customs -down to the minutest detail-all tell the same tale of close consanguinity. And yet their separation dates-at a moderate estimate-two thousand five hundred years back. We have here an astonishing instance of savage immobility. From century to century tribal custom has preserved the status quo. From century to century improvements and innovations have been kept at bay. The Ainu learn no lessons from experience. The very sense of discomfort, the perception of what constitutes cleanliness, have left them. Their sordid huts combine, as of old, the advantages of giving access to the winds of heaven, and denying exit to the smoke from their fires. They are curiously devoid of the spirit of invention, as well as of any impulse towards novelty. They have never attempted the manufacture of the rudest pottery; they are ignorant of the first elements of metallurgy. Wood or bark furnishes the material for all their native utensils. They buy knives, but would certainly dispense with, rather than try to make them.

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They have no writings,' Mr. Hitchcock says, 'no records of their past, no aspirations. Their language is still a puzzle, their traditions and myths are scarcely known except to a few students. They are incapable of advancement. After a century of contact with the Japanese, they have learned no arts, adopted no improvements. The hunter to-day shoots the bear with poisoned arrows from a bow as primitive as early man himself, although the Japanese are famous for their archery and weapons.'

Japanese cotton goods have, however, begun to supersede a home-made fabric woven out of elm-bark fibres, which might be called the chef d'oeuvre of Ainu industry. In a few years, doubtless, the very remembrance of its former production will have passed away, and the rude looms employed in the process will have finally disappeared from their hovels. For the Ainu are among the shortest-memoried of savages, and forget more easily than they acquire. There is reason to believe that they were considerably more advanced in the arts of life when they were the adversaries of the Japanese than they are now as their subjects. Progress

in a rearward direction has since led them very near to the inevitable fate of annihilation. Fifteen or sixteen thousand Ainu are now living in Yezo, and less than 2,500, according to a Russian official report, were to be found in Sakhalin in 1857. In both places their numbers are steadily diminishing and an epidemic of small-pox or cholera would presumably make short work of them.

The hides of various animals serve the Ainu for warm clothing; salmon-skin boots are added, and the women wear, at all seasons, leggings coarsely made of grass or rushes. The ceremonial suit of a Sakhalin chief is composed of embroidered fish-skin. Ordinary costume is still more fantastic.

'For medium garments,' we learn from Mr. Howard, 'birch-bark is used, other materials being stitched to it. For the coldest weather the clothing is much like that of the Esquimaux and Kamtschatdales. The grotesqueness of these dresses arises not so much from the awkwardness of their shape as from the variety of their materials. In one of these Joseph-coat dresses were mixed patches of sable, bear, deer, and foxskins, including the tails, in haphazard fragments, while behind and before, there was underneath all these a large piece of birch-bark. The purpose of the bark, I afterwards found, was to serve incidentally as mail, for protection against accidental shots from poisoned arrows."

The name Ainu,' like Aryan,' may be interpreted as an assertion of distinguished descent. The people who bear it are, indeed, proud of their lineage, and of their personal peculiarities, although the obvious one of hairiness has been to some extent exaggerated. The men, if rather short of stature, are often of imposing presence, and but for the neglect of the most elementary processes of the toilet would be really good-looking. The possibility of female prettiness is still more completely abolished by dirt and dishevelment, labour and exposure. 'As repulsive-looking creatures as it is possible to imagine,' is Mr. Howard's verdict on the women of Sakhalin; and he adds that a double-teamed 'horse-rake could not have got through the hair of their heads, which came below their waists, and had never seen ' a comb.'

To be unseen, to be unheard, and to do the work before them in their own quiet way, seemed to be with these women their only ambition. I never for an instant saw in any one of their faces an expression of a wish to please, or a sign of being pleased. Nor did I ever see in one of them what could be suspected of being a smile. My impression was, that even if their faces were capable of it, such expressions would be suppressed as indecorous. They had the sadness,

the silence of nuns, and to men always showed the profoundest courtesy. Each time one of the women left the hut to fetch something-a pipe, tobacco, or what not-she always retired from our presence walking backwards, with as much punctiliousness as is seen on state occasions at Buckingham Palace. On returning, she would present the thing brought, kneeling.'

The relations of Ainu men and women are of a thoroughly savage type. That is to say, the nobler sex hunts and fishes, the weaker toils, drudges, weaves, and digs. Their servitude is tempered only by fear; for an Ainu woman, once thoroughly exasperated, becomes reckless, and may do incalculable spiritual mischief to her helpmate, besides bringing him into contempt with his fellow-villagers. With advance in years, both her power and her malignity are supposed to increase; and hag-like crones lord it over the household through the terror that they inspire. Everything in and out of reason is done to induce them to depart this world in tolerably good humour, an irate ancestress being regarded as a peculiarly formidable kind of hanger-on. Ainu women are excluded from any participation in religious worship. It is a moot point, to begin with, whether they have souls at all; but in any case, they might, and probably would, bring to the ears of gods, if admitted to intercourse with them, many things that their lords and masters, for excellent reasons, prefer keeping in the background. So, for safety's sake, access is denied them, and their lot remains unalleviated by any hope of redress, here or hereafter. Nor are they always tolerant of it. Suicide by hanging affords to the more desperate among them a means of escape into the unknown beyond.

Mr. Landor's account of this people is apparently biassed by a desire to recognise in them the long-sought 'missing link.' He accordingly accentuates their degradation, which, profound though it be, still leaves them essentially and affectingly human. He is at any rate mistaken in gainsaying their possession of religious ideas. On this subject the Reverend Mr. Batchelor is the only competent authority. He has lived in Yezo as a missionary to the Ainu for the last nine or ten years; has spent months at a time in the closest intercourse with them; and has won a very unusual amount of their confidence. Moreover, the statements contained in the volume by him cited at the head of this article carry with them intrinsic, and often conclusive, evidence of authenticity.

The Ainu believe in a Supreme Creator, in the immor

tality of the soul, in a judgment after death, and in the apportionment of happiness or misery according to its upshot. These tenets, it must be understood, are loosely and confusedly held; but their possession in any form raises this abject race to a higher theological level than that attained by the brilliant and enterprising Homeric Greeks. They are certainly indigenous; since the Ainu are much too stupid to comprehend such lofty conceptions unless they made part of their deposit of tradition. For the same reason, they cannot have appropriated them from the Japanese, who besides are ignorant of most of them; nor is it likely that they have been taught the doctrine of purgatory by Protestant missionaries.

The monotheism of the Ainu, however, is overlaid by an excrescent, yet riotously flourishing, polytheism. Almost every object in nature represents to their imagination a separate subordinate Deity, honoured as occasion requires. Among this countless horde the most important, perhaps, is the goddess of the hearth-fire-the Ainu Hestia-since upon her faithful report to the Highest depends the weal or woe in the next life of each member of the household committed to her protection. There are bad gods, too, representative of an evil Providence ; so that more or less dualistic notions as to the government of the world are vaguely entertained by the hairy men. They have neither priests nor temples, but at certain times prayers are recited by the head of the family before a sacred fence' erected outside each hut. It is a rough construction of branches and sticks, adorned with bears' skulls, and consecrated by an arrangement of peeled willow wands with the shavings attached. Similar objects are invariably to be seen inside the dwelling, sticking upright in the ashes of the hearth, and projecting through the sacred, and often solitary, east window. These inaos' symbolise deity, and avert malefic influences. In Sakhalin precisely similar forms of worship are used, only with more frequency and fervour.

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The special reverence paid by the Ainu to the bear is carried no further than suits their perfect convenience. The beast gets little benefit by it. He is slaughtered and eaten freely; then, by way of apology, a bear feast is held in his honour, at which he is slaughtered and eaten again. He is certainly not in any sense of the word their totem. The Ainu trace their descent from a human hero to whom they have decreed the honours of apotheosis. No blood relationship with animals is acknowledged by them, although they

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