The most futile rebellion in history - Shakushain - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Early modern era & beginning of the modern era. Exploration, enlightenment, industrialisation, colonisation & empire (1492 - 1914 CE).
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#14281744
Today Japan is one of the most homogenous nations worldwide. We are one empire with one people, one culture, one heritage and one history. Most people don´t know that it wasn´t always like that. Since roughly 14.000 years two kind of people inhabit the islands of Japan. My kind is called Yamato people. We lived in south Japan. The north of Japan was inhabitated from the Ainu. The Ainu are very different to us. Their culture and language is completly different but they also look different. They are smaller than we are and wear long beards.

The differences between the Ainu and us is that big, that archeologists can see them even on bones. For thousands of years there was a balance between the two groups. Roughly around 500 - 400 before christ my people got the upper hand and started to push the Ainu more and more away. In the 1660 the Ainus were extinct in most parts of Japan and just managed to survive on Hokkaido in the North. They traded with our empire but over time we started to make settlements there. The deals with the Ainu were very unfavorable for them. They were treated like subjects. It was clear, that it was just a matter of time till Hokkaido too will be part of Japan. One of their chieftains, called Shakushain, realized that. The situation for the Ainu did grow more and more desperate and in 1669 Shakushain tried to build up an alliance with other ainu chiftains. Most were scared about what he planned. Some called it madness. There were roughly 50.000 Ainu. They had stoneage weapons and no armor and he planned to declare an war of independence against the empire of Japan. An empire with 25 million people, an army of Samurai, with guns and cannons.

Shakushain attacked an mining outpost and burned it down. The few japanese troops in the area retreated back to Honshu and the local Matsumae lord was unable to organize a quick reaction because he had only 50 Samurai at hand. It took quite a time till the message reached the Shogun at Edo (Tokyo). He organized quickly a campaign against Hokkaido. A large army was send because no one believed the Ainu rebelled against the Empire alone. Nobody expected that, because it looked like complete madness. It was believed it was organized from the russians, mongols or chinese.

The troops arrived at Hokkaido and several large battles started. But its infair to call it battles. It was much more like a massacre. The Ainu lost tenthousands of people. The army of Japan lost only one soldier. Shakushain himself was slain without even holding a weapon. It was endgame for the Ainu.

Their language and culture was banned. Today only a few thousand Ainu are left. They are marginalized and ignored in Japan and most in the world never heared about them. In 2011 our Emperor visited them for the first time.
It was the first time at all since 1800 years, that a japanese emperor did meet with Ainu leaders. It brought them some attention.

It is a really interesting but not well known fact of our history and i find it very interesting. But i think the Ainu have no bright future. They are only a few and their numbers decline more and more.
#14281748
They might survive, since they are a protected group now, since 1997. Although the battle in Hokkaido was fierce back then, I think that there can be reconciliation with them.

In 1899, the 'Hokkaido Former Aborigines Protection Act' was passed into law, but it had incredible flaws because you can see even from the name that the law was intended to try to assimilate them, but they cannot be assimilated because they are too different. In the 1930s, the most ridiculous sections of that law were thankfully repealed so that the Ainu regained a sort of minority group status. In 1997, the 'Ainu Cultural Promotion Law' was brought into existence which funds a lot of things pertinent to their interests, and the Ainu now participate in the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations since 1987.

Things that I think need to be added though, are more autonomy for them over the administration of the areas that they still occupy. Also, representation in the diet for them would not be too bad either.

It's important that Japan works to make sure that Ainu people don't disappear, not only because they share Japan, and not only because they are in Hokkaido and might well take a deal from foreigners if they can't get it from the Japanese state, but also the model behaviour of Japan toward the Ainu will add to Japan's credibility when it participates in the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations and wants to apply pressure to the United States, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, on the issue of the oppression of the Native Americans who are clearly an Asian population group as well.

We don't want a situation where some scumbags in Canada or the USA could be like, "well, it's not like you are being nice to the Ainu, so who are you to now be pressuring us about the Native Americans?"

So far though, I think that Japan has done a pretty acceptable job of protecting the Ainu, but more work needs to be done, and people need to continue to pressure the Japanese government to pay attention to the issue. In the long term, it is not enough to merely protect Ainu culture, since it is not really possible to have Ainu culture be self-sustaining unless the Ainu people are given the authority to own and financially administrate the land that they are on, in a semi-autonomous way.
Last edited by Rei Murasame on 31 Jul 2013 18:38, edited 1 time in total.
#14281750
The whole world is moving to homogenity, at some point there are going to be 5-6 languages left and 5-6 cultures. This is just a step in a big process that has been going on since 5000 years or so. Guess we are going to be all Chinese or American in 10 000 years.
#14281751
I don't think that people will allow that, John Rawls. Maybe the liberal internationalist dream is to create that scenario, but practically speaking it has met with immense resistance and will continue to be met with resistance.

Even within China, they have about 53 small ethnic groups that have proven almost entirely resistant to being Han-ised. Much like the Ainu have never been Yamato-ised.

It's interesting to note that restoring the Ainu's minority status was a process that began in the 1930s. This is because the Japan of the 1930s was being realistic, people understood intuitively that assimilation only ends up being repugnant to basically everyone. To put it most simply, the minority doesn't want to lose its culture or land, and the majority doesn't want to have to live among the minority. So it inevitably leads to the previous post that I wrote.
Last edited by Rei Murasame on 31 Jul 2013 18:48, edited 1 time in total.
#14281753
JohnRawls wrote:The whole world is moving to homogenity, at some point there are going to be 5-6 languages left and 5-6 cultures. This is just a step in a big process that has been going on since 5000 years or so. Guess we are going to be all Chinese or American in 10 000 years.



American? I doubt USA still exists in 50 years in it´s current form. I´ll ignore the rest of your insultive comment. I would prefer death over being called American. Beside that Japan is the most homogenous nation on earth and fought of any "mixing attempts".

@Rei: I agree 100% with that. I respect the Ainu but i believe their numbers are to small to build up a strong presence. But they are an important part of Japan. We share our nations since many thousand years with them. They maybe just few in numbers but they are part of Japan.
#14281755
Akuma wrote:@Rei: I agree 100% with that. I respect the Ainu but i believe their numbers are to small to build up a strong presence. But they are an important part of Japan. We share our nations since many thousand years with them. They maybe just few in numbers but they are part of Japan.

Yes, well said.

They can't stand alone, but they can stand with Japan.
#14281756
I don't think that people will allow that, John Rawls. Maybe the liberal internationalist dream is to create that scenario, but practically speaking it has met with immense resistance and will continue to be met with resistance.

Even within China, they have about 53 small ethnic groups that have proven almost entirely resistant to being Han-ised. Much like the Ainu have never been Yamato-ised.

It's interesting to note that restoring the Ainu's minority status was a process that began in the 1930s. This is because the Japan of the 1930s was being realistic, people understood intuitively that assimilation only ends up being repugnant to basically everyone.


I do agree with you thats a liberal dream, but the process has been going on for thousands of years now. And the minorities get exterminated more than they get assimilated, so its not just the internationalist dream to blame. Back in the day before the 17th century this process still continued but in a more violent way. There are several large groups which might become the final victor, well atleast the scientists say that. Simply put Americans(Leaders of the anglican group), Continental Europeans(Guess germany is the leader?) and the Chinese(Dont know if this group includes everybody far east asian though) are the contenders, ofcourse Slavics, Japanese, Africans and so on are part of this process but i just dont see them finnishing this process in the end.
#14281758
Sometimes it goes in reverse though, where ethnic groups manage to climb back out of the hole and live. For example, many might have thought that when the liberals and communists won the second world war, it would be the end of the Ainu because a lot of the Ainu were in Sakhalin and the Soviets expelled them all when it seized that area 'back' from Japan.

However, there may be a potential future in which Sakhalin becomes part of Japan again and is administered as part of a semi-autonomous zone that includes the Ainu parts of Hokkaido in presently-existing Japan. Could it happen now? No, but if there is a future where there is a weak Russian government that cedes the territory or fails to hold it in some kind of conflict, more living-space for the Ainu could open up for the Ainu as soon as the sun flag is replanted there.
#14281759
China tried to get Japan since 2600 years. It ended always in their complete annihilation. Why should that change? Normally they back off when we reached the 2 million kills "achievement".

P.s. we have 5 tombs with 5 chinese headless diplomats in Japan. They came to speak with our emperor and said they would not leave before our emperor talks to them. They wait now since 719 years.
#14281760
Rei Murasame wrote:Sometimes it goes in reverse though, where ethnic groups manage to climb back out of the hole and live. For example, many might have thought that when the liberals and communists won the second world war, it would be the end of the Ainu because a lot of the Ainu were in Sakhalin and the Soviets expelled them all when it seized that area 'back' from Japan.

However, there may be a potential future in which Sakhalin becomes part of Japan again and is administered as part of a semi-autonomous zone that includes the Ainu parts of Hokkaido in presently-existing Japan. Could it happen now? No, but if there is a future where there is a weak Russian government that cedes the territory or fails to hold it in some kind of conflict, more living-space for the Ainu could open up for the Ainu as soon as the sun flag is replanted there.



True. Just look at the Mayans. One would think their end came with the conquista. Yet they managed to survive in the millions and build up their own nation. Sure its not a real nation but Mexico, Guatemala and Belize hold no power in the Mayan areas. I have highest respect for them.
#14281762
It goes back and forward but a lot of minorities get assimilated or exterminated along the way. In middle ages we had a bigger division of peoples, now we have larger states and enteties of the people. For example at some point italians were different people or french but nowadays rarely anybody accociat themselves with the smaller groups. The same thing can be said about China or Russia, the main groups(Han and Moscovite-Kievan-Novgorod slavs) consumed a lot of ethnicities on their way to the modern day.
#14281763
Akuma wrote:China tried to get Japan since 2600 years. It ended always in their complete annihilation. Why should that change? Normally they back off when we reached the 2 million kills "achievement".

Indeed, I never noticed that pattern, the '2 million kills achievement'. It's almost like that is a magic number.

Akuma wrote:True. Just look at the Mayans. One would think their end came with the conquista. Yet they managed to survive in the millions and build up their own nation. Sure its not a real nation but Mexico, Guatemala and Belize hold no power in the Mayan areas. I have highest respect for them.

Yep. I should add to my point regarding Sakhalin and say that if Japan retakes it one day and puts the Ainu on it, it should be renamed to 'Karafuto prefecture', which is its true name.

Russia needs to get a slap to the face, it's just that Japan is having to be patient in the present environment.

JohnRawls wrote:It goes back and forward but a lot of minorities get assimilated or exterminated along the way. In middle ages we had a bigger division of peoples, now we have larger states and enteties of the people. For example at some point italians were different people or french but nowadays rarely anybody accociat themselves with the smaller groups. The same thing can be said about China or Russia, the main groups(Han and Moscovite-Kievan-Novgorod slavs) consumed a lot of ethnicities on their way to the modern day.

Well, if their opponents are not strong enough, then there is unfortunately little that can be done about it.
Last edited by Rei Murasame on 31 Jul 2013 19:08, edited 1 time in total.
#14281764
JohnRawls wrote:It goes back and forward but a lot of minorities get assimilated or exterminated along the way. In middle ages we had a bigger division of peoples, now we have larger states and enteties of the people. For example at some point italians were different people or french but nowadays rarely anybody accociat themselves with the smaller groups. The same thing can be said about China or Russia, the main groups(Han and Moscovite-Kievan-Novgorod slavs) consumed a lot of ethnicities on their way to the modern day.



You do realize that some countries are breaing up because people associating with their ethnicity more than nation?

Even in europe. Belgium is at the breaking point. Spain can barely hold the basque, catalanians and galizians in the country, the scottish want leave UK...
#14281766
You do realize that some countries are breaing up because people associating with their ethnicity more than nation?

Even in europe. Belgium is at the breaking point. Spain can barely hold the basque, catalanians and galizians in the country, the scottish want leave UK...


Yes i do, thats why it goes the other way also, but the general direction is the decrease of minoritie ethnicities. America for example once started as a colonie with a few states and nowadays is a huge country that has 10 times more territory and people in america mostly consider themselves americans with a heritage of someone. Same goes for Russian Slavs and the Hans. Nation states are not ethnicities but broadly they can be considered as the zone that the predominate group tries to assimilate/extermiante other minorities. This a bit vague considering that modern Europe doesnt fit into that description to a full degree but thats atleast what i think.
#14281773
This a bit vague considering that modern Europe doesnt fit into that description to a full degree but thats atleast what i think.

The Roman Empire was heading in that direction until the Germanic barbarians moved in and bitchslapped them. In fact, the collapse of the western Roman Empire, and the subsequent failure of all efforts to politically unify Europe again is one of the most significant events in human history.
#14281792
The Roman Empire was heading in that direction until the Germanic barbarians moved in and bitchslapped them. In fact, the collapse of the western Roman Empire, and the subsequent failure of all efforts to politically unify Europe again is one of the most significant events in human history.


Your love for the roman empire is impressive as usually Pot. In all honesty there were other attempts to unify europe after the roman empire and before the 20th century, which were more significant but not so long lasting.
#14281795
Your love for the roman empire is impressive as usually Pot.

Thank you.

In all honesty there were other attempts to unify europe after the roman empire and before the 20th century, which were more significant but not so long lasting.

A fact which I pointed out. The most serious attempt to unify Europe was made by the Papacy, but it ultimately failed. Various nations, from time to time, also attempted it, and they all failed. The last such attempt was made by Hitler as recently as the middle of the 20th century. He, too, failed.

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