Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts The Ainu People of Hokkaido

The Ainu People of Hokkaido

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards

D2.Geo.2.9-12. Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions and their political, cultural, and economic dynamics.
D2.Geo.3.9-12. Use geographic data to analyze variations in the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics at multiple scales.
D2.Geo.5.9-12. Evaluate how political and economic decisions throughout time have influenced cultural and environmental characteristics of various places and regions
D2.Geo.6.9-12. Evaluate the impact of human settlement activities on the environmental and cultural characteristics of specific places and regions.
D4.6.9-12. Use disciplinary and interdisciplinary lenses to understand the characteristics and causes of local, regional, and global problems; instances of such problems in multiple contexts; and challenges and opportunities faced by those trying to address these problems over time and place.
D4.3.9-12. Present adaptations of arguments and explanations that feature evocative ideas and perspectives on issues and topics to reach a range of audiences and venues outside the classroom using print and oral technologies (e.g., posters, essays, letters, debates, speeches, reports, and maps) and digital technologies (e.g., Internet, social media, and digital documentary).

Student will be introduced to the Geography, Origins, History and Culture of the Ainu peoples of Hokkaido (Northern Japan). This group of people had been considered fully assimilated by the Japanese in the late 1800s, but approximately 25,000 Ainu remain as of 2018. The students will use their prior knowledge of the history of American assimilation to consider the cultural implications for the Ainu. Students will use various sources to gather information about the Ainu including databases, Historical New York Times, photographs, illustrations, videos, museum websites and articles. Students will then be expected to synthesize resources to develop an informative research report.

1. Watch the United Nations introduction video “AINU: Indigenous Peoples in Japan”- 5 minutes, students should be directed to watch for the following topics- Geography, Origins, History, and Culture.

2. Discuss the video, draw a graphic organizer (cluster chart) of the listed topics on the whiteboard and encourage students to add information from the video to the cluster chart

3. Read the article “Ainu” from the Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania Vol. 1.
Students should be directed to continue including information to their cluster chart-Geography. Origins, History and Culture

4. Analyze the photographs from the Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum (attached google slides) using the guiding questions and link to the Ainu Museums.

5. Discuss the analysis with the class and categorize the images based on the topics; Geography, Origins, History and Culture.

6. Read the New York Times articles “Japan’s Forgotten People Try to Make Voices Heard” N. Kristof and “Recognition for a People Who Faded as Japan Grew.” by Norimitsu Onishi

7. Write a Newspaper article or research paper about the Ainu.
(Basic Newspaper Story Outline from Scholastic:

Modification: Students can be directed to”jigsaw” the article. Each group will focus on the cluster chart topics and add information from their group to the whiteboard. That information should also be included in their own notes/graphic organizer.

Modification: Students can be put in small groups for the photo analysis task and questions. These can be printed.

Modifications: Students can present their analysis of the photos at a Smartboard in small groups.

Modifications: The Newspaper story task can be divided by topics and assigned to small groups or individual students.

Research using Proquest/Historical New York Times articles.
*Compare and Contrast the Ainu and Native Americans

Research using the United Nations – UNDRIP 2007
*Locate specific articles in the declaration that are being addressed by the government of Japan relation to the Ainu peoples.

Informational Text:
West, Barbara A. “Ainu.” Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania, Vol. 1, Facts On File, 2008. History, Accessed 12 Aug. 2018.

New York Times Articles:
Kristof, Nicholas D. “Japan’s Forgotten People Try to make Voices Heard.” New York Times (1923-Current file), Oct 05 1996, p. 4. ProQuest. Web. 13 Aug. 2018 .
Onishi, Norimitsu. “Recognition for a People Who Faded as Japan Grew.” New York Times (1923-Current file), Jul 03 2008, p. 1. ProQuest. Web. 23 Aug. 2018 .

Museum Links:
Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum-
Ainu Museum
National Museum of Natutural History

Video Links:
“AINU: Indigenous Peoples in Japan” (5 minutes)
“Japón – Tonkori, instrumento Ainu / Ainu instrument – Japan”
(2 minutes)

  • Victoria Scarpa
  • Passaic County Technical Institute
Grade Level
  • High School: 9
Time Frame
  • 2- 40 minute class periods

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