Some Notes on the Ainu

Maricon Power writes:

Robert Lindsay, why do pure Ainu have lighter skinned than Japanese? Are Ainu Northern Australoids (cold adapted Australoids?) or are they pigmented? I’ve seen pigmented Tamils and Veddas that look almost European; even the Australian aborigines would.

Look at this map of glacier cover in Japan at the height of the last glaciation about 20,000 years ago.

It shows the Hokkaido (Ainu land) living in a climate different from every other Asian countries.

Glaciation in Japan at the height of the last Ice Age 20,000 YBP.

The Ainu are indeed cold adapted Australoids, and they are actually Vedda types. A comparison of Veddoids and Ainu will show that they match perfectly.

The map of Ainu land is not correct. 20,000 YBP there were no Ainu in Japan. The ancestors of the Ainu are the Jomon. Jomonese skulls line up perfectly with skulls from Thailand 16,000 YBP. The Jomonese show up in Japan 13,000 YBP. So the Jomon left Thailand sometime between 16,000 and 13,000 YBP and made their way eventually up to Japan. When they first arrived in Japan, the Jomonese ranged over the entire country. They were not in Hokkaido alone.

They only ended up in Hokkaido when the Yayoi came from Korea to Japan 2,300 YBP and slowly conquered their way up the island, defeating and displacing the Ainu along the way. The Ainu were eventually pushed up to Hokkaido where the Japanese no longer pursued them much. Hokkaido is where they were found when modern anthropology discovered them in the modern area, but they have not always been located only there.

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30 thoughts on “Some Notes on the Ainu”

  1. It is interesting that when the Ainu came to the island of Sakhalin, the local aborigines, language-isolate Nivkhs, quite soon noticed that Ainu did not know trousers and their overall dress was more adapted for the moderate southern climates, than to the harsh northern Sakhalin weather (the Nivkhs themselves always dressed warmly like all other northern people).

  2. I’ve seen several pictures of Ainu and never noticed them looking any lighter than ethnic Japanese. However they do look very different, there hair is looks very different and they have a lot more of it. Okinawans are known for being hairier in general, I wonder if there is a connection; of course most people on Honshu are convinced that Ryukyu Islanders are ethnic Japanese.
    I’ve read that many academics have concluded that the first Samurai were actually Ainu or related, it is well documented that they were descendants of the Jomon and the Daimyo were descendants of the Yayoi.

    Ever heard of the Emishi?

      1. That would make sense. Many of my friends from Honshu were baffled to here that Okinawa has a completely different language or that there is a substantial independence movement for the Ryukyu Islands.

        I know there native faith is similar to Shinto, but is not Shinto. They also prefer Confucius to Buddha, despite their economy was once entirely trade oriented.

        1. Actually there are several Okinawan Japonic languages, but they are not doing well.The Japanese government has set out to destroy them and it did a good job. I believe it does not even acknowledge their existence.

          The 5-6 Okinawan languages are not intelligible with each other nor are any of them intelligible with any Japanese lect. They split from Western Japanese 1,000 YBP.

          1. Are there multiple on Okinawa, or do you mean the Ryukyu Islands as a whole? I was fully aware the government sought to destroy them. Personally I think the islands should have been granted independence from Japan after WWII, shame on our military for aiding in linguicide.

        2. Ryukyu Kingdom had a very close relationship with China and Joseon Korea where Neo-Confucianism was the worldview until a century ago.

          A Southern Ryukyan language uses a unknown script for writting, the Ryukyu native faith is similar to Shinto but women have the role of the shaman like in Korea, there is the theory that ancient religion was dominated by women before the Patriarchy.

    1. C. Loring Brace originally suggested the ‘Kamakura Samurai were Ainu’ theory. It hasn’t had much subsequent corroboration.

    2. I doubt the Samurai’s were descendant of the Jomon. Samurai only started to exist in the 8th century somwhere. While/Jomon Ainu lived in Japan 10,000+ years before Japanese. Also according to wikipedia ” Japan underwent widespread reform. One of the most important was that of the Taika Reform, issued by Prince Naka no Ōe (Emperor Tenji) in 646 AD. This edict allowed the Japanese aristocracy to adopt the Tang dynasty political structure, bureaucracy, culture, religion, and philosophy.[3] ”

      The Emishi were conquered by the Japanese while they were expanded north and the Emishi used mostly bows and arrows on their warfare, their swords don’t look nothing like a Katana either.

      Japanese, Okinawan, Ainu autosomal DNA

      Each genetic cluster shows DNA difference.

      1st cluster: Japanese 95% Yayoi, Okinawan 80% Yayoi, Ainu 65% Yayoi
      2nd cluster: Japanese 98% Yayoi, Okinawan 85% Yayoi, Ainu 80% Yayoi
      3rd cluster: Japanese 98% Yayoi, Okinawan 90% Yayoi, Ainu 83% Yayoi

      1. Katanas were not common until the Tokugawa era. Samurai before then utilized a wide variety of swords, but the focus was on archery and horsemanship. Swords became more common when guns were introduced, ironic considering the reverse was true in Europe. I know very little about DNA science. Not all Samurai were descendants of Jomon I’d only read that the very first were. Musashi and others who were born commoners certainly weren’t.

        1. I doubt any Samurai were descendants of Jomons at all. As we all know Samurai code is based on Tang dynasty political structure, bureaucracy, culture, religion, and philosophy which is what the Japanese/Yamato people adopted and is part of Japanese culture even today. While the Ainu, Emishi, Jomon ect had none of these influence. I mean how did Brace conclude that Samurais were Ainu based on skull? this is strictly his interpretation and theory.

          1. A quick Google search has revealed that it’s mostly just Dr. Brace’s idea. Not everyone completely rejects his theory, but those who don’t say it’s a gross oversimplification.

  3. Robert, do you have any theories about the large amount of Jomon Y-DNA in modern Japanese? It seems counterintuitive that a technically advanced invading group would end up with native admixture mostly on the male side.

  4. Robert lindlsay, you say Jomons are from Southeast Asia. So are these Timorese Veddoids the ancestors of Jomon (ancestors of Ainu ) ?

    Southeast Asia , East Timor

    ” The island of Timor was populated as part of the human migrations that have shaped Australasia more generally. It is believed that survivors from three waves of migration still live in the country. The first is described by anthropologists as people of the Veddo-Australoid type, who arrived from the north and west at least 42,000 years ago. Around 3000 BC, a second migration brought Melanesians. The earlier Veddo-Australoid peoples withdrew at this time to the mountainous interior. ”

    Timor was inhabited 42,000 years ago by a veddoid-australoid type before any Melanesians, Papuan type. in fact many of the mtDNA of East Timor show resemblence to Jomon.

    I wonder if they were widespread in all of Asia before Papuan and Melanesian. I know negrito was widespread in all of Asia and many Southeast Asian today have inherited Negrito mtDNA. Thai people and Malaysians have roughly 11% Negrito mtDNA M21a and others. Fillpino also 3.5 – 7% Negrito tmDNA depending on the dialect group

    However I’ve always wondered why I see so many Indian looking Southeast Asian and many of them look like they are partially Veddoid, like they had some pseudo-caucasian trait rather than Negrito or Papuan influnece

    Here are east Timorese, they have pseudo-caucasian traits

    East Timor old man

    East Timor old man with beard

    1. Wow look, he’s a White man! The other man is an Ainu!

      Yes they may have been generalized throughout SE Asia at some point. It looks like they were one of the groups that went to the Philippines early on also.

      1. So are these what the 16,000 YBP Jomonese of Thailand would have looked?

        The Timorese people today are a mixture of Veddoid , Mongoloid, Papuans. They seem to have high level of mtDNA M. I wonder if M is related with Australoid because they are in South Indians 90-100%, Adamanese 100%, Negrito of Malaysian, Thailand 48-84%.

        Some still look more veddoid than others

        1. Robert Lindsay, I do agree on many of your point. The only thing I don’t agree is that Jomons (ancestors of Ainu ) were descendants of the Jomonese Thailand in 16,000 YPB. You’re right that they descended from Southeast Asia but most likely that location is in southern Southeast Asia, maybe Timor.

          ” According to Hanihara, modern Japanese lineages began with Jomon people, who moved into the Japanese archipelago during Paleolithic times from their homeland in southeast Asia. ”

        2. Hello, a study was done on either 16,000 YBP skulls from Thailand or Jomonese skulls from Japan 13,000 YBP. At any rate, when plotted on a graph with many other skulls, Jomonese 13,000 was a perfect match for Thailand 16,000. Proto-Jomonese types were probably widespread through SE Asia at the time. The types in Easts Timor and in Thailand are probably the same people.

    2. Robert Lindsay, so were are these so called descendants of Jomonese in Thailand. I mean they still exist in East Timor even the Ainu still exist despite the fact the vast majority of them look East Asian instead of Ainu/Jomon, where are the Jomon in Southeast Asia?

      Could they have been absorbed? In Southeast Asia there is 2.5 to 20% South Asian maternal mtDNA. But I don’t know if they are strictly related to Veddoids or recent South Asian.

      In Southern Thailand, South Asian maternal DNA is 5-10%, it reachest 10-20% in the western part of penisula

      I’ve seen Thai people with a partially veddoid look but I don’t know if they are related with

      Here are Southern Thais ( They look veddoid influence )

  5. If the Jomon arrived 15KYA, who were the inhabitants of Japan stretching back 30-40KYA?

    It’s said this older population had haplogroup D and the newer Jomon group at around 15KYA had haplogroup C, but haplogroup is not a good indicator of race, since you can have a haplogroup of another part of the world and be 99.99% not of the other race.

    The Ainu have legends of “Koropokkur,” describing them as very short people who fished for food and lived under butterbur leaves. Either this is some Negrito-like population or it’s the Nivkhs who were pushed by the Jomonese further north into Sakhalin.

    What do you think?

  6. Ainu look like South Australian Aborigines, followed by Berbers and Paleo Sardinians. These groups all have very similar craniometrics. Dolichocephalic, wide face, huge brow ridges, and darker pigmentation. For other Caucasoids, Armenoids plot close to Tungids, Orientalids with Ethiopids. The Caucasoid race therefore does not really make sense.

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