In December last year, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Putin agreed to start discussion of joint economic activities on the four Northern Islands and to expand the opportunities for free travel of indigenous people to the Islands. In the near future will begin discussions aimed at the concretization of this project. However, the problems of the Ainu people are the indigenous population of the Kuril Islands are not included in the agenda — I forgot about them. Representative of the community “Ainu” Alex Nakamura answered the questions of our newspaper and called for the inclusion of the Ainu nation in the Russian-Japanese project for the development of the four Islands.
The Russian government does not recognize the Ainu nation
Takayuki Tanaka: the conditions In which he now lives the Ainu ethnic group in the Russian far East?
Alexei Nakamura: the Government does not consider us indigenous national minority. The fact is that from the point of view of the development of natural resources, the government is more profitable to assume that the Southern Kuril Islands including the four Islands, it was not the indigenous population. In Soviet times it was forbidden to revive national traditions. As a result, many Ainu were deprived of their individuality. About ten years ago we created on the Kamchatka Peninsula social organization and began to revive the national culture, and also search Potomac. Now, the community has a population of 217 people. Currently there is the idea of buildings in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky national races village where you can learn how the Ainu ethnic group lived in the past, as well as the creation of a dictionary of the Kamchatka dialect of Ainu.
— As the Ainu who lived in Northern territories, joined to Russia?
— My ancestor, the Japanese warrior, in the beginning of the eighteenth century married a daughter of the head of the community of the Ainu on the island of Iturup. He was one of the leaders of the revolt of the Ainu in the South Kuril Islands, but lost the battle. By 1705 most of the Ainu, including my ancestor, moved to Kamchatka. In 1875, the Kuril Islands were ceded to Japan, with the result that many Ainu also moved to Kamchatka.
Shikotan and Iturup is the name of a language of Ainu
— Now you have four Northern Islands and Japan?
— We communicate with the Ainu and research institutions in Hokkaido. Some travel to Japan, but few people moved there due to language and cultural reasons. Mostly descendants go to Southern Kurils to attend the graves of their ancestors. Five families moved there.
— The positions of Russia and Japan on the issue of “Northern territories” are very different. The parties can not solve this problem.
— One option is to allow the Japanese to the Ainu or family to return or move on four Islands. In the South Kuril Islands is almost no people. As for the joint economic activities of Japan and Russia, it is possible to make so that it was beneficial for both countries, and the Ainu people. Many place names in the Kuril Islands taken from the Ainu language. For example, Shikotan means a large village, Iturup — a big salmon. The Ainu nation was sandwiched between the big countries that treated her mercilessly. I hope the world community is aware of the need to respect the rich culture, history and language of the Ainu.