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Ainu Pitek, Emily


The Ainu inhabit the island of Hokkaidō, which was incorporated into Japan in 1868. Contact with the Japanese did not influence traditional Ainu religious beliefs and practices until the late 1880's. This entry focuses on the Ainu living in Saru Basin, Hokkaidō around the time of 1880; before major cultural changes occurred as a result of Japanese influence. At this time, the Ainu religious beliefs and ritual practices were present in all dimensions of life; this entry considers the religious group to be coterminous with the society at large. Religious beliefs are generally animistic in nature, and a variety of supernatural beings are present and active in Ainu daily life.

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