The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Ainos, or Ainns
AINOS, or Ainns (i. e., men), tribes inhabiting Saghalien, Yesso, and the Kurile islands, and various adjacent regions, partly under Japanese and partly under Russian jurisdiction, the latter being generally called Kuriles. Tradition says that the Japanese were originally Ainos, and only became a distinct race by intermarrying with Chinese. The Ainos are different from other Mongolian tribes, and in their more vigorous physical formation assimilate to some extent to the Caucasian type. Though armed and painted like savages, they are inoffensive and hospitable, but shy of Japanese and Russians, especially on the coasts of the Saghalien islands, which they formerly occupied exclusively, and where the Gilanes tribe at present inhabit the N. part. The men are stout, short, with very hairy bodies, and allow the hair of the head and beard to grow to full length, which has caused them to be designated as the hairy Ainos. They are pagans, and sacrifice the first of the animals they kill, generally bears, to their idols. They are polygamists, groups of 10 to 12 families living together in miserable huts, with a chief for each group. They support themselves by fishing and hunting. The Aino language is divided into several dialects, and is regarded by Siebold as somewhat connected with the Japanese, but this opinion is not generally entertained. It is polysyllabic, has an alphabet of 47 letters, and is written in four different sets of characters, one of them, the Katakana, being sometimes called the writing of men, and another, the Hiragana, that of women. August Pfizmaier published a description of it (Vienna, 1852), and a vocabulary (1854).