Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Ainos, the aborigines of Yezo. South Sakhalin, and most of the Kurile Islands, and formerly widely diffused throughout the whole of Japan and the lower Amur basin, where they are still represented by the Ghiliaks. The Ainos, i.e. "Men," are absolutely distinct in physique and speech from the surrounding Mongolic races, forming an isolated ethnical group, apparently of Caucasic stock, but with no known or certain affinities elsewhere; taller than the Japanese and well made, with regular, almost European features, light-brown complexion, somewhat wavy black hair, very full beard and hirsute bodies, whence their Japanese name, Mozin, from the Chinese Mao-shin ("hairy body"). They are a gentle, inoffensive people, possessed of considerable intelligence, but still in the fishing and hunting state, living in rude huts like those in the remoter uplands of Japan, forming small monogamous family groups rather than tribes, paying much respect to their women, choosing as head of the group some person distinguished by age or wealth, but exercising little absolute control. They venerate as divinities the sun, moon, sea-god, and all striking natural phenomena, worshipped under the form of simple symbols, with sacrifices and offerings. The dress is a short-sleeved smock reaching a little below the knee, made of bark-cloth in summer, of fur or sealskin in winter, and of like form for both sexes. All go bareheaded, the women allowing their abundant hair to fall loosely over the shoulders. The pure Aino race, now reduced to about 15,000, appears to be dying out; but a population of half-breeds has sprung up along the shores of Yezo by alliances with the Japanese.