Edited by Léo-Paul Dana and Robert B. Anderson
Chapter 14: The Ainu of Japan and the Land Given by the River
Sandra Pennewiss Introduction Much is known about entrepreneurship (Dana, 1999) and small business (Dana, 1998) in Japan. The indigenous Ainu of Japan, however, are a people less understood. As noted by Espiritu, ‘Traditionally, the Ainu hunted, ﬁshed, gathered, and engaged in subsistence farming. They also vigorously traded and forged alliances . . . The Ainu were important intermediaries among Japanese, Dutch, Chinese, Russian, Manchurian, and Korean markets’ (2005, p. 18). Time changes as humans try to ﬁght their way towards a better world. Past centuries were ﬁlled with the pursuit of conformity and mostly forced integration. Individuals were measured on standardized rules of conduct implemented by those of power or majority. Any nation or individual who acted, behaved or could be singled out because of their physical traits were persecuted, suppressed and nearly extinguished. I dare say that Woodstock and ‘ﬂower power’ had a considerable impact on changing the world’s view and rules from conformity to individuality. With it awoke an interest in minorities and indigenous societies who held their diﬀerence, language and heritage despite persecution and deprival of rights. Despite decades of hard struggle on the part of human rights activists, there is still plenty of discrimination and wrongdoing even in highly developed countries. Fortunately the law and the majority are now aware and in favour of those who are smaller, weaker and often unable to protect themselves. Many have understood that, sometimes, the smaller a minority group the stronger is the need to protect their rights, heritage and skills, as...
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