The Ainu are an indigenous people who primarily inhabit the island of Hokkaido in Japan, but also live in the north of Honshu, Japan's main island, and Sakhalin island in Russia. There are more than 24, Ainu in Japan. While there are no official census figures, the Hokkaido Government conducted surveys of Ainu living conditions in Hokkaido in , , , , , and and according to the latest survey, the population of Ainu in Hokkaido is at least 19, The origins of the Ainu people itself as well as their language are subject to contestation.
Refworld | World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Japan : Ainu
If you were to ask people to describe "Japan" or "the Japanese" in one word, there's a pretty good chance that you'd hear one word over and over again: "homogeneous. In reality, Japan, like any other nation, is an ocean of diversity, home to multiple minority groups. One of these groups is Japan's indigenous people, or the Ainu. Don't be surprised if you haven't heard of the Ainu. In fact, many Japanese themselves are unaware of the existence of their own country's indigenous people.
World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Japan : Ainu
Japan is known for its social homogeneity, but there's much more to the story of the Japanese people than this popular myth. Though Japan is still a place of strong tradition, Japanese society is changing and diversifying constantly. How will Japan cope with the problem of an ageing population? These are just some of the challenges facing the next generation of Japanese people in the coming years.
The term ethnic Japanese is used to refer to mainland Japanese people, specifically the Yamato. The Japanese language is a Japonic language that is related to the Ryukyuan languages and was treated as a language isolate in the past. The earliest attested form of the language, Old Japanese , dates to the 8th century. Japanese phonology is characterized by a relatively small number of vowel phonemes , frequent gemination , and a distinctive pitch accent system.