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BKX300 Capstone: Learning about Ainu: Home

Library guide created by EvaMarie Olson for her Book Studies Senior Capstone seminar project


Hello and welcome to the Learning about Ainu LibGuide or Library Guide! This is an online resource that lists materials from the Five-College library catalog about the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido and Northern Japan, such as Japanese picture books, manga, English books, as well as sound recordings, video resources, articles and websites.

Since the late 19th century when Japan began imperial expansionist activities and annexed the island of Hokkaido into the Japanese empire, the Ainu have been assimilated into Japanese culture by enduring the forced removal and restriction of their land and fishing rights, as well as banning of the Ainu language and the forced speaking of Japanese. Recent years have seen a revival in interest in Ainu language and culture, producing many of the Japanese-language picture books included in this LibGuide. The Ainu were officially designated as an indigenous people of Japan in 2008, but as the Ainu continue to face discrimination and suppression of their culture and history efforts continue also to preserve and promote knowledge of the Ainu in Japan and around the world.

This LibGuide was created as the Book Studies Senior Captone Seminar Project of EvaMarie Olson, Smith College Class of 2019, who wanted to combine her major in East Asian Languages and Literature focusing on Japanese and her Book Studies Concentration, with her interests in education and libraries. During her study abroad year in Japan she traveled to Hokkaido and visited public and university libraries as well as several museums including the Shiraoi Ainu Museum to research and gather information on the Ainu for a research project, which became this LibGuide.

Please use this LibGuide if you are a student or speaker of Japanese to find Japanese-language books about the Ainu to read. This LibGuide can also be used by anyone interested in the Ainu, diversity and minorities in Japan, or indigenous peoples to find English-language information about the Ainu.

Thank you very much for visiting this LibGuide!