The New Student's Reference Work/Aino

Aino (ī′nō) or Ainu, an aboriginal Japanese race of Caucasian stock inhabiting Yezo (Hokkaido), the Kuriles, the southern part of Saghalien and other northern islands of Japan. They are in appearance short in stature, stoutly built, and in general rather hairy; their chief occupations are hunting and fishing. Their present number is less than 20,000. In early times they lived in the heart of the Japanese archipelago and exercised considerable influence upon the Japanese, though these treated them as half-barbarians and drove them to their present retreat in the northern sections of the country. Their religion is a primitive nature worship, though of late many of them have become Buddhist, while a few have been made converts to Christianity. An Aino grammar and dictionary has been published by the Rev. John Batchelor, a missionary who translated the New Testament into the native tongue. Of recent years the Ainos have been blending with the Japanese, the latter having parted with their former low opinion of the mental inferiority of the race and their backward civilization. See Batchelor’s The Ainu of Japan (London, 1892), Chamberlaine’s Things Japanese (London, 1899), and Savage Landor's Alone with the Hairy Ainu (London, 1893).