BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Recognition at last for Japan’s Ainu
Japan’s parliament is to adopt a resolution that, for the first time, formally recognises the Ainu as “an indigenous people with a distinct language, religion and culture”.
In a nation that has always preferred to perceive itself as ethnically homogenous, it is a highly significant move.
“This resolution has great meaning,” says Tadashi Kato, director of the Ainu Association of Hokkaido. “It has taken the Japanese government 140 years to recognise us as an indigenous people.”
And doesn’t this sound familiar?
Ainu land was redistributed to Japanese farmers. Ainu language was banned and children put into Japanese schools. Japanese names became compulsory.