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24. Jul 2022

Hokkaido Trivia – How True Is “Hokkaido Has a Short Human History”?

Hokkaido is a land where humans lived before the entire geographical formation was completed, which dates back to 30,000 years ago.  During this long period of time, various cultures and people of different race came into Hokkaido from further north. 

Different races, such as the Jomon and the Okhotsk people, left behind in history bits of their culture, religion and livelihood. 

They are considered today as the ancestors of Ainu, who are the indigenous people of Hokkaido.  A theory existed in the past that the origin of Ainu is from Europe, but no.  DNA says they are pure Asians.

When you hear people say that Hokkaido has a short history, they are referring to Hokkaido from the view point of “wajin” (people in mainland Honshu).  Yes, it’s only 150 years or so since “wajin” started governing Hokkaido.  But human history in Hokkaido started much earlier, and was so much affluent even from the eyes of modern people today.

Although they’ve become a minority in Hokkaido, their wisdom in life, language and culture are reflected in modern Hokkaido.  Know more about the Ainu! They’ll further enrich your activities in Hokkaido!

*rf: “The Guide Book on Ainu Culture” by Hokkaido Tourism Organization

A tapestry adorned with Ainu embroidery