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Title: Alone with the Hairy Ainu - or, 3,800 miles on a pack saddle in Yezo and a cruise to - the Kurile Islands.
Author: Landor, A. H. Savage
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  [Illustration: _Frontispiece_. PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR.
  "When my clothes came to an end I did without them."]










This book is not meant as a literary work, for I am not and do not
pretend to be a literary man. It is but a record--an amplified log-book,
as it were--of what befell me during my solitary peregrinations in
Hokkaido, and a collection of notes and observations which I hope will
prove interesting to anthropologists and ethnologists as well as to the
general public.

Without any claim to infallibility I have tried to take an open-minded
and sensible view of everything I have attempted to describe; in most
cases, however, I have given facts without passing an opinion at all,
and all I have said I have tried to express as simply and plainly as
possible, so as not to give rise to misunderstandings.

There are a few points which I want to make quite clear.

First, that I went to Hokkaido entirely on my own account and for my own
satisfaction. Next, that I accomplished the whole journey (some 4200
miles, out of which 3800 were ridden on horseback and on a rough
pack-saddle) perfectly alone. By alone I mean that I had with me no
friends, no servants, and no guides. My baggage consisted of next to
nothing, so far as articles for my own convenience or comfort were
concerned. I carried no provisions and no tent.

I am endowed with a very sensitive nature, and I pride myself in
possessing the gift of adaptability to an extreme degree, and this may
partly explain why and how I could live so long with and like the Ainu,
whose habits and customs, as my readers will see, are somewhat different
to ours.

When I go to a country I do my best to be like one of the natives
themselves, and, whether they are savage or not, I endeavour to show
respect for them and their ideas, and to conform to their customs for
the time being. I make up my mind that what is good for them must be
good enough for me, and though I have occasionally had to swear at
myself for "doing in Ainuland as the Ainu does," especially as regards
the food, I was not much the worse for it in the end. I never use force
when I can win with kindness, and in my small experience in Hokkaido and
other countries I have always found that real savages in their
simplicity are most "gentleman-like" people. With few exceptions they
are good-natured, dignified, and sensible, and the chances are that if
you are fair to them they will be fair to you. Civilised savages and
barbarians I always found untrustworthy and dangerous.

The Island of Yezo, with the smaller islands near its coast, and the
Kurile group, taken together, are called "the Hokkaido." The Hokkaido
extends roughly from 41° to 51° latitude north, and between 139° and
157° longitude east of Greenwich.

My view of the origin of the word Ainu is this: _Ainu_ is but a
corruption or abbreviation of _Ai-num_, "they with hair," or "hairy
men," or else of _Hain-num_, "come with hair," or "descended hairy."
Considering that the Ainu pride themselves above all things on their
hairiness, it does not seem improbable to me that this may be the
correct origin of the word, and that they called themselves after the
distinguishing characteristic of their race.

The word Ainu is a generic term, and is used both in the singular and
plural; but when specifying, the words _Kuru_ (people, men), _utaragesh_
(woman), etc., are generally added to it: viz., _Ainu kuru_, Ainu
people, Ainu men; _Ainu utaragesh_, an Ainu woman; _Ainu utaragesh
utara_, several Ainu women.

The Ainu population of Yezo is roughly reckoned by the Japanese at about
15,000 or 17,000 souls, but at least half this number are half-castes,
and in my opinion (and I have visited nearly every Ainu village in Yezo)
the number of thoroughbred Ainu does not exceed 8000 souls.

The illustrations in this book are my own, and are the reproductions
from sketches which I took on the spot. They may not show much artistic
merit, but they seem to me to be characteristic of the country and the
people, and I hope that my readers will be impressed with them in the
same way.



  From Hakodate to Mororran--Volcano Bay--The first Ainu--A
  strange institution among them                                       1

  From Mororran to the Saru River                                     12

  Up the Saru River--Piratori and its chief                           22

  An Ainu Festival                                                    30

  From the Saru River to Cape Erimo                                   35

  From Cape Erimo to the Tokachi River                                44

  The Tokachi Region--Pure Ainu Types--Curious Mode of River
  Fishing                                                             50

  From the Tokachi River to the Kutcharo River                        68

  The Koro-pok-kuru, or Pit-dwellers                                  78

  The Kutcharo River and Lake--A Sulphur Mine--Akkeshi and
  its Bay                                                             95

  From Akkeshi to Nemuro--A Horse Station--Nemuro and its
  People                                                             106

  The Kurile Islands                                                 121

  On the East and North-East Coast--From Nemuro to Shari-Mombets     133

  Along the Lagoons of the North-East Coast--From Shari-Mombets
  to Poronai                                                         145

  On the North-East Coast--From Poronai to Cape Soya                 157

  From Cape Soya to the Ishikari River                               167

  The Ishikari River                                                 179

  Nearing Civilisation                                               187

  Completing the Circuit of Yezo--The End of my Journey              196

  Ainu Habitations, Storehouses, Trophies, Furniture--Conservatism   207

  Ainu Art, Ainu Marks, Ornamentations, Weapons--Graves and
  Tattoos                                                            218

  Ainu Heads, and their Physiognomy                                  229

  Movements and Attitudes                                            236

  Ainu Clothes, Ornaments, and Tattooing                             245

  Ainu Music, Poetry, and Dancing                                    255

  Heredity--Crosses--Psychological Observations                      266

  Physiological Observations--Pulse-beat and Respiration--Exposure--
  Odour of the Ainu--The Five Senses                                 274

  The Ainu Superstitions--Morals--Laws and Punishments               281

  Marital Relations, and Causes that limit Population                293


  I.--Measurements of the Ainu Body, and Descriptive Characters      298

  II.--Glossary of Ainu Words, many of which are found in
  Geographical Names in Yezo and the Kurile Islands                  304

  INDEX                                                              313


  Portrait of the Author                            _Frontispiece._
  Aputa                                                           1
  Ainu Woman saluting                                             6
  Toya Lake, near Aputa                                          11
  Fisherman's Hut                                                12
  Pack-Saddle                                                    18
  Norboribets Volcano                                            19
  Horobets                                                       21
  Storehouses at Piratori                                        22
  Benry, the Ainu Chief of Piratori                              25
  Ainu Man waving his Moustache-lifter before drinking           29
  Ainu Festival, An                                              30
  Ainu Women dancing                                             33
  Piratori Woman in Costume                                      34
  Utarop Rocks                                                   35
  Ainu Lashed Canoe                                              37
  Front View of Lashed Canoe                                     38
  Ainu Oars                                                      38
  Sailing Canoe                                                  38
  Ainu Wooden Anchors                                            39
  Ainu Canoe, Top View of an                                     39
  Erimo Cape                                                     43
  Natural Stone Archway, A                                       44
  Iwa Rocks at Biru                                              49
  Ainu Houses and Storehouse, Frishikobets, Tokachi River        50
  Madwoman of Yammakka                                           55
  Ainu Woman of Frishikobets, on the Tokachi River               60
  Shikarubets Otchirsh, The                                      67
  Ainu Man of the Upper Tokachi                                  68
  Ainu Hook for Smoking Bear-Meat                                77
  Koro-pok-kuru Fort                                             78
  Flint Arrow-Heads                                              78
  Flint Knives                                                   79
  Koro-pok-kuru Pottery and Fragments of Designs                 86
  Stone Adzes and Hammer                                         94
  Ainu Huts and Storehouses on Kutcharo Lake                     95
  Kutcharo Lake from Mount Yuzan                                 98
  Sulphur Mine                                                  100
  Akkeshi in a Fog                                              105
  Ainu Man and Woman on Horseback                               106
  Ainu Bits                                                     110
  Semi-Ainu Rat Trap                                            120
  Ainu Woman of the Kurile Islands                              121
  Shikotan Ainu                                                 126
  Woman of the Kurile Islands                                   132
  Abashiri Island                                               133
  Ainu Belle, An                                                140
  Saruma Lagoon                                                 144
  Eagle-displayed Sable, An                                     145
  My Host, the Madman                                           148
  Sarubuts, showing River-Course altered by Drift Sand          157
  Ainu Village on the East Coast of Yezo                        166
  Mashike Mountain                                              167
  Ishikari Kraftu Ainu                                          178
  Kamui Kotan Rapids, The                                       179
  Woman of Ishikari River                                       186
  Ainu Bark Water Jugs                                          187
  Ainu Half-caste Child of Volcano Bay                          194
  Komatage Volcano, Volcano Bay                                 196
  Wooden Drinking Vessels                                       207
  Kammakappe, The, &c.                                          209
  Ahunkanitte, The, &c.                                         210
  Atzis-Cloth in process of Weaving                             210
  Roasting Hook                                                 211
  Ape-Kilai, The, or Earth-Rake                                 214
  Pestle, Mortar, Spoon, &c.                                    215
  Ainu Pipe Holder and Tobacco Pouch                            217
  Ainu Knife, with ornamented Sheath, &c.                       218
  Kike-ush-bashui, or Moustache-Lifters                         220
  Suggestions of Leaves, &c.                                    221
  Elaborations of Chevrons, Wave Patterns, &c.                  222
  Tchutti, or War-Clubs, &c.                                    223
  Ainu Knives                                                   224
  Monuments for Women                                           225
  Wooden Monuments over Men's Grave                             225
  Wooden Blade                                                  226
  Ainu Pipe, An                                                 228
  Ainu Man walking with Snow-Shoes                              236
  Thiaske-Tarra, The                                            238
  Atzis, The                                                    245
  Atzis, after Japanese Pattern                                 245
  Winter Bear-skin Coat                                         245
  Atzis, Back of                                                246
  "Hoshi," The                                                  247
  Boots, Deer-Skin Shoe, &c.                                    248
  Tattoo-marks on Women's Arms                                  253
  Snow-Shoes                                                    254
  Ainu Salutation                                               255
  "Mukko," A, or Musical Instrument                             258
  Wooden Pipe, A                                                265
  Naked Ainu Man from the North-East Coast of Yezo              274
  Trophy of Bears' Skulls                                       281
  Inao-netuba, &c.                                              292

[Illustration: APUTA.]


From Hakodate to Mororran--Volcano Bay--The first Ainu--A strange
Institution among them.

I have often asked myself _why_ I went to Yezo; and, when there, what
possessed me to undertake the laborious task of going round the island,
up its largest rivers, travelling through jungles and round lakes,
climbing its highest peaks, and then proceeding to the Kuriles. There
are certain things in one's life that cannot be accounted for, and the
journey which I am going to relate is one of them.

Pleasure and rest were the two principal objects which had primarily
induced me to steer northwards; but it was my fate not to get either the
one or the other.

I was on the Japanese ship the _Satsuma Maru_. Rapidly nearing the
Hakodate Head, which we soon passed, we entered the well-protected bay
and the town of Hakodate at the foot of the Peak came into view. It
looked extremely pretty, with its paper-walled houses and its tiled
roofs, set against the background of brown rock with its fringe of green
at the foot. As we cast anchor, hundreds of coolies, carrying on their
backs loads of dried fish and seaweed, were running along the _bund_ or
wharf. A few _musemes_ (girls), in their pretty _kimonos_ (gowns) and
with oil-paper umbrellas, were toddling along on their wooden clogs, and
a crowd of loafers stood gazing at the ship as she came to anchor. The
Peak, more than 1000 feet high, was towering on our south side, forming
a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a sandy isthmus, and the large
bay swept round us, forming nearly a circle. The place has a striking
resemblance to Gibraltar.

I landed, and put up at a tea-house, where I was in hopes of learning
something regarding the island from the Japanese settlers, but no one
knew anything. The reports that there were no roads extending beyond a
few miles; that there was but very poor and scarce accommodation along
the coast; that the Ainu, who lived further north, were dirty people;
and that the country was full of bears, were certainly not encouraging
to an intending traveller.

I must confess that my first day in Yezo was a dull one; but the second
day I had the pleasure of meeting a Mr. H., a resident, who kindly
offered me his hospitality, and the next two were pleasantly spent at
his house. In conversation with a friend of his, I heard the remark that
no man alone could possibly complete the circuit of the island of Yezo,
owing to the difficulties of travel; and my readers can imagine the
astonishment of my interlocutors when I meekly said, that if no one had
ever done it, I was going to do it; and, indeed, that I intended to set
out alone the next morning.

"Impossible!" said one, "you are too young and too delicate."

"Absurd!" said my kind host, "it would take a very strong man to do
it--a man who could stand any amount of hardships and roughing." At the
same time he gave me a pitiful look, which undoubtedly meant, "You are a
mere bag of skin and bones."

However, the bag of skin and bones kept his word, notwithstanding the
poor opinion that his new friends had formed of him.

The preparations for my journey were simple. In two large Japanese
baskets I packed three hundred small wooden panels for oil-painting, a
large supply of oil colours and brushes, a dozen small sketch-books, my
diary, three pairs of boots, three shirts, an equal number of pairs of
woollen stockings, a revolver, and a hundred cartridges. The remainder
of my luggage was left in charge of Mr. H. till my return. I did not
burden myself with either provisions or a tent.

I rose early the following morning and bade good-bye to my kind host.
"Good-bye," said he, "I expect we shall see you back to-night to
dinner." The word "dinner" was the last English word I heard from the
mouth of an Englishman, and it was five long months before I heard

The first thirty miles of my journey were ridden in a _basha_, a covered
cart built on four wheels that ought to have been round, but were not.
There were no springs for the comfort of the traveller, and no cushions
on the seats. The conveyance was public, and was drawn by two sturdy
ponies. The driver, a Japanese, carried a brass trumpet, on which he
continually played.

I might have begun my story by the usual "One fine day," if,
unfortunately, the day on which I started the rain had not poured
in torrents. A Japanese policeman and a girl were my only
fellow-passengers. Travelling at full gallop, on a rough road, in a trap
with unsymmetrical wheels and with no springs, during a heavy storm, is
scarcely what one would call a pleasant mode of progression; but after
some hours of "being knocked about," we went zig-zag fashion, first up a
steep hill, then down on the other side, giving the horses a rest at a
roadside tea-house by the famous lakes of Zenzai. The larger of these
two lakes--the Ko-numa--is extremely picturesque, with its numerous
little islands wooded with deciduous trees. In shape it is very
irregular, and many points, which project into the lake, add to the
loveliness of the scene, while the high ridge over which I had come, on
the one side, and the rugged volcano of Komagatake on the other, form a
beautiful background to the limpid sheet of water. The outlet of this
lake empties itself into Volcano Bay, S.E. of the Komagatake Volcano.
The other lake, though smaller, is quite as striking, and possesses the
same characteristics of its larger brother. It goes by the name of
Ono-numa. A peculiarity of these lakes is that they abound in a smallish
fish--the _funa_--which is greatly appreciated by the Japanese.

I sat down in the tea-house on the soft mats, and my _bento_--Japanese
lunch--was served to me on a tiny table. There was water soup; there was
sea-weed; there was a bowl of rice, and raw fish. The fish--a small
_funa_--was in a diminutive dish and its back was covered by a leaf; the
head projected over the side of the plate. On the leaf were placed
several neatly-cut pieces of the raw flesh, which had apparently been
removed from the back of the underlying animal. As I had been long
accustomed to Japanese food of this kind I ate to my heart's content,
when, to my great horror, the _funa_, which had been staring at me with
its round eyes, relieved of the weight that had passed from its back
into my digestive organs, leaped up, leaf and all, from the dish and
fell on the mat. All the vital parts had carefully been left in the
fish, and the wretched creature was still alive!

"Horrible!" I cried, violently pushing away the table and walking out
disgusted, to the great surprise of the people present, who expected me
to revel in the deliciousness of the dish.

For days and days after I could see in my mind the staring eyes of the
_funa_, watching each movement of my chopsticks, and its own back being
eaten piecemeal! Wherever I went this big eye stood before me, and
increased or diminished in size according to my being more or less
lonely, more or less hungry. I had often eaten raw fish before, but
never had I eaten live fish!

The journey in the _basha_ was resumed that afternoon, and, more dead
than alive, I alighted in the evening at Mori, a small Japanese village
at the foot of the Komagatake Volcano. The peak of this mountain is 4000
feet above the level of the sea, but its basin-like crater is at a
somewhat lower altitude. Up to a certain height it is thickly wooded
with deciduous trees and firs, thence its slopes are bare of vegetation,
rugged in form, and very rich in colour. It makes part of a volcanic
mass which extends from the Esan Volcano, further south, to the limit of
the Shiribeshi province, crossing straight through the province of
Oshima as far as the Yurapdake Mountain. Komagatake is one of the most
majestic and picturesque mountains I have ever seen, as it possesses
lovely lines on nearly every side. Its isolation and sudden sharp
elevation, rising as it does directly from the sea, gives, of course, a
grand appearance to its weird and sterile slopes, which are covered with
warmly-tinted cinders, pumice, and lava.

I went over to Mororran, across Volcano Bay, and the following morning I
risked my life on a small craft, which took me over to Mombets. From
this place I rode on to Uso and Aputa, two Ainu villages at a short
distance from each other.

Coming from Japan the first thing that strikes a traveller in the Ainu
country is the odour of dried fish, which one can smell everywhere; the
next is the great number of crows--the scavengers of the country;
lastly, the volcanic nature of the island. On visiting an Ainu village
what impressed me most were the miserable and filthy huts, compared with
the neat and clean Japanese houses; the poverty and almost appalling
dirt of the people and their gentle, submissive nature.

I shall not dwell at length on these Volcano Bay Ainu, as this part of
the country is comparatively civilised, and has been travelled over by
many people previous to my going there. Besides, most of them have
intermarried with Japanese, and have consequently adopted many Japanese
customs and manners.

The Ainu of the coast build their huts generally on a single line, near
the shore, and each family has its "dug out" canoe drawn up on the
beach, ready to hand when wanted. The huts are small and
miserable-looking, and they have no furniture or bedding to speak of.
The roof and walls are thatched with _arundinaria_, but so imperfectly
that wind and rain find easy access through their reedy covering.
Curiosity is the only good quality which I ever possessed, and in
obedience to it I poked my nose into several of the huts along the
beach. This was a mistake on my part, for in the Ainu country the nose
is the last thing one ought to poke in anywhere. I was more than
astonished to see how human beings could live in such filth! The natives
kindly asked me to enter, and I of course did so, stooping low through
the small door and raising the mat which protects the aperture. When I
was in I could smell a great deal more than I could see, for the east
window--the size of a small handkerchief, and the only one in the
hut--did not give light enough to illuminate the premises. However, I
soon got accustomed to the dimness, and then I could make out my
surroundings clearly enough. There was an old man, perfectly naked, with
a fine head, long white hair and beard, sitting on the ground among a
mass of seaweeds, which he was disentangling and packing. Two young
women and two young men, with bright, intelligent eyes and high
cheek-bones, were helping him in his work. In their quiet, gentle way
they all brought their hands forward, each rubbed the palms together,
and, lifting the arms, slowly stroked their hair, and the men their
beard with the backs of their hands, while the women rubbed the first
finger under the nose from the left to the right. This is their
salutation, and it is most graceful. They seemed pleased to see me, and
asked me to sit down. As there were neither chairs nor sofas, stools nor
cushions, I squatted on the ground.

[Illustration: AINU WOMAN SALUTING.]

Most Ainu of Volcano Bay understand Japanese, and they also speak it,
interpolating Ainu words when necessary, so I began a conversation. My
presence did not seem to disturb them or arouse their curiosity, and,
beyond gazing at the mother-of-pearl buttons on my white coat, they did
not appear to be struck by me. Evidently the buttons were much more
interesting to them than the person who wore them. Now and then they
uttered a few words, but whenever one spoke some of the company seemed
to be angry, as at an impertinence or a breach of etiquette. Men and
women wore large ear-rings or pieces of red or black cloth, which added
a great deal to their picturesqueness; but the women were disfigured by
a long moustache tattooed across the face from ear to ear. Rough
drawings adorn the arms and hands of the women, and some of the younger
females would undoubtedly be fine-looking if not disfigured by the
tattoos, for they carry themselves well when walking, and possess comely
features. Judging from appearances, I should think them very passionate.

Coming out of the hut I saw a scene which I shall never forget. Two
naked boys, covered with horrible skin eruptions, had got hold of a
large fish-bone, out of which they were endeavouring to make a meal.
Round them were gathered about thirty dogs, wild with hunger, barking
furiously at the frightened children, and attacking and fighting them
for that miserable repast.

I walked along the beach, and endeavoured to make friends with some of
the Ainu who were less shy than the others. One little girl was
especially picturesque. She was only about ten, and her large eyes,
tanned complexion, white teeth, the tiny bluish-black tattoo on her
upper lip, her uncombed long black hair flying around her, and her red
cloth ear-rings, made her indeed one of the quaintest studies of colour
that I have seen in my life. I got her to sit for me; and while I was
painting her, an old man, the chief of the village, dressed up in a
gaudy costume, with a crown of willow shavings on his head, came to me
and made his "salaams." He bore the name of Angotsuro, and before all
his salaams were over he found himself "caught in the action" in my
sketch-book. Many of the villagers had collected round, and one of them,
a half-caste, expressed the wish that I should paint the chief in
colours, like the picture of the girl. I asked for nothing better, and
started an oil-sketch of him. The excitement of the natives who were
witnessing the operation grew greater and greater as each new ornament
in the chief's dress was put in the picture. Some seemed to approve of
it, others were grumpy, and apparently objected to the picture being
taken at all. The _séance_ was indeed a stormy one; and though the chief
had his regal crown knocked off his head two or three times by the
anti-artistic party, he sat well for his likeness, especially as I
promised him in Japanese, that when the picture was completed he should
be given a few coins and two buttons off my coat.

It was while portraying him that I noticed what extraordinary effects
colours produce on those whose eyes are unaccustomed to them. A man in
the crowd would get excited, and open his eyes wide and show his teeth
every time I happened to touch with my brush the cobalt blue on my
palette. Other colours had not the same effect on him. His eyes were
continually fixed on the blue, anxiously waiting for the brush to dip in
it, and this would then send him into fits of merriment. I squeezed some
blue paint from a tube on to the palm of his hand, and he nearly went
off his head with delight. He sprang and jumped and yelled, and then ran
some way off, where he squatted on the sand, still in admiration of the
blue dab on his hand, still grinning at intervals with irrepressible
enjoyment. Where the point of the joke was no one but himself ever knew.

When the picture was finished I had no little trouble to keep the many
fingers of my audience off the wet painting. Moreover, some person
endowed with kindly feelings threw a handful of sand in my face, which
nearly blinded me for the moment and partly ruined the two pictures I
had painted. The money and the buttons were duly paid to Angotsuro and I
moved on.

That same evening I went out for a walk. It was a very dark night, and I
love dark nights. When for some years you have done nothing but see
strange things and new places there is indeed a great fascination in
going about in complete darkness; it rests both your eyes and your
brain. I walked for some time along the beach, stumbling against the
canoes drawn on shore and against anything that was in my way. Hut after
hut was passed, but everything was silent; there was not a sound to be
heard, not a light to be seen. The Ainu are early people; they retire
with the sun. I walked on yet farther and farther afield, till through
the thatched wall of one of the huts I discerned a faint light. I stood
and listened. The sad voice of a man was singing a weird, weird song,
the weirdest song I have ever heard. Then came a pause, and another
voice, even more plaintive than the first, continued the same air.

What with the strange melody in the hut, the soothing noise of the waves
gently breaking on the shingle, and the distant howling of dogs or
wolves, the mystic effect was such that I could not resist the
temptation, and I crept into the hut. A fire was burning in the centre,
but it had almost gone out, leaving a lot of smoke. Three old men were
sitting on the ground. They decidedly looked as if they did not expect
me, but, after their first astonishment was over, they asked me to squat
down in a corner, and there I was left to amuse myself, while they
resumed their singing and drinking. Of the latter they seemed to have
had enough already; but, all the same, several wooden bowls, about five
inches in diameter and two deep, were passed round and emptied in no
time. The more they drank, the wilder and more melancholy the song
became. Only one at a time sang, and he would begin in a very low tone
of voice and go up in a _crescendo_, gradually getting awfully excited;
then all at once he would stop, as if the effort had been too great for
him. His head drooped, and he seemed to sleep. Then, suddenly waking up,
coming back to his full senses in a startling manner, he drained one of
the bowls, which meantime had been refilled, and resumed the song. The
three men were facing each other, and so absorbed were they in their
music that, though I was not more than four feet away from them, they
seemed to have forgotten me altogether.

I was so impressed with the strangeness of the song that I pulled out my
pencil and paper to write down the air. As there was no light but the
flicker of the fire, I turned the white leaf of my sketch-book toward it
to see what I was writing. This caught the eye of one of the men. He
woke up, startled from his musical dream, jumped to his feet, and made a
dash for me, yelling some words which I did not understand, and holding
over my head something that I could not distinguish at the moment owing
to the dimness of the light. Standing thus he paused, evidently waiting
for an answer to something he had said. It came from one of the other
fellows, who pushed him so violently as to send him sprawling on the
floor, while, what he held in his hand--a big, heavy, pointed
knife--fell and stuck deep in the ground about an inch from my toes. A
dispute arose among themselves, but among the Ainu everything ends up in
a drink. The large wooden bowls were again refilled; grand bows were
made to me, and they all stroked their hair and beard several times--a
sign of great respect. I was then handed one of the bowls and made to
swallow the contents. But, heavens! never have I felt any liquid work
its way down so far. Had I swallowed fire it could not have been as bad;
and, indeed, it was neither more nor less than liquid fire.

As the night was wearing fast, and the old fellows had got on well with
their drink, the sing-song became rather too languid and monotonous; and
I crept out of the hut as quietly as I had entered it, not without first
giving the inmates something for their trouble. I had some difficulty
in finding my way back to my less musical quarters; and passing too
close to some of the other huts, the dogs--which infest all Ainu
villages--barked furiously and roused the whole place.

I learned afterwards that it is an Ainu fashion to try a man's courage.
This is done in the way in which my musical friends tried mine, namely,
by making a sudden rush with a knife as if death and destruction were
imminent, which to a perfect stranger, unconscious of the strain of
"bluff" in the action, is not very reassuring. If the person to be
tested is aware of this fashion he has to submit to an unlimited number
of whacks, administered to him on his bare back, with a heavy war-club.
These tests of a man's courage and endurance are called the _Ukorra_.

In the first instance it is done, in a certain sense, good-naturedly,
and not meaning to hurt one. Should, however, the person apparently so
dangerously threatened show fright or signs of cowardice, he loses the
respect of the Ainu, unless he has the happy thought of giving them a
sufficient quantity of some intoxicating liquor to make them all
drunk--which is a sure means of turning the most inimical Ainu you may
meet into your fast friend, even if you have had a deadly feud with him.

The second way--with the war-club--of course is a painful process, and
the Ainu have recourse to it when it is necessary to determine the
relative amount of courage possessed by certain members of a community.
The one that can stand the greater number of blows is naturally entitled
to the respect and admiration of his neighbours, and he is elected
leader in bear-hunts or similar expeditions. At the election of a new
chief--when the chief's line of descendants dies out--this process, I
was told, is often practised; for bravery is the first quality which an
Ainu chief must possess.

At Aputa, through some of the half-castes, I was able to pick up a great
number of Ainu words, which were most useful to me afterwards; and from
that, gradually increasing my stock of words, I soon knew enough to
understand a little and also to make myself understood.

One day I went along the coast to the next village of Repun, and then
retraced my steps to Aputa, as there was nothing of interest at the
former place.

An excursion which I enjoyed more was to the Toya Lake, with its three
pretty islands in the centre and the magnificent Uso Volcano on its
southern shores. The walk there and back was hardly fifteen miles, over
a mountain track and through forests of pine-trees and oaks. The lake is
about 250 feet above the level of the sea, and is about five miles in
diameter. Its shores are surrounded with thickly-wooded hills, which
have grassy terraces at a certain altitude, extending especially towards
the north-western shores of the lake. The barren Uso Volcano, with its
sterile slopes, is a great contrast to the beautiful green of the
comparatively luxuriant vegetation of the lower altitudes. The lake
finds an outlet into the Osaru River by means of a high waterfall.

The following day I rode back to Mombets, and the next on to
Shin-Mororran (the _new_ Mororran, distinguished by this affix from
Kiu-Mororran, the _old_ settlement on the northern shore).

Mororran has a well-protected harbour, and it would be the best future
port in Hokkaido if the anchorage were of a larger capacity. In more
speculative hands than the Japanese this port would be a great rival to
Hakodate. It consists of a thickly-wooded peninsula, which forms a
well-sheltered bay, at the entrance of which the picturesque island of
Daikuku stands high above the sea-level. In the harbour itself, smaller
islets and huge rocks contribute to its beauty.

The village of Mororran is a mere streak of fourth-rate tea-houses along
the road by the side of the cliffs. Apart from the natural loveliness of
the harbour, it has, indeed, no claims to consideration at present. In
former days it was called by the Ainu, Tokri-moi, "the home of the
seals," for these valuable amphibious animals were said to be then
plentiful in the bay.

[Illustration: TOYA LAKE, NEAR APUTA.]

[Illustration: FISHERMAN'S HUT.]


From Mororran to the Saru River.

Thirteen more miles in a _basha_--for I was still in civilised
regions--took me to Horobets--a village half Ainu and half Japanese.

The Ainu often name their villages after rivers, and this word Horobets,
which in English means "large river," is an instance of this custom. In
Southern Japan, previous to my visiting Yezo, I was told that nearly all
the Ainu of Horobets had become "good Christians." If such were the
case, which I do not wish my readers to doubt, the small experience
which I had here, led me to believe that "good Christians" often make
"very bad heathens."

I left all my baggage in a tea-house at the entrance of the village,
and, taking my paint-box with me, I went for a walk along the beach. I
saw a crowd of Ainu in the distance, and I hurried up to them. They were
busy skinning a large Ushi-sakana (cow-fish), cutting it into pieces
with their long knives. They did not pay much attention to me, and this
disregard of what would be to others a cause of curiosity and
interruption I afterwards found to be a characteristic of the Ainu. They
are seldom distracted from any particular idea that occupies their mind
at a certain moment. In fact, they are so little accustomed to reflect
at all, that it seems almost impossible for them to think of two things
at the same time. Of all the existing races of mankind they may be said
to be the most purely one-idea'd.

Stark naked, with their long hair streaming in the wind, they formed a
picturesque group. What a chance for a sketch! I sat down on the sand,
opened my paint-box, and dashed off a picture, when a young lad, who had
taken his share of the fish, came over to see what I was doing. "What is
it?" he asked me in broken Japanese, to which question I answered that I
was painting the group of them. The news seemed to give him a shock. He
rejoined the others, excitedly muttered some words, and apparently told
them that I had painted the whole group, fish and all. Had anyone among
them been struck by lightning, they could certainly not have looked more
dismayed. I never knew until then that painting could have such an
overpowering effect on people, except, perhaps, when one has sat to an
amateur artist for one's own likeness, the result of which is often one
of dumb and blank amazement. Anger and disgust naturally followed. The
fish was thrown aside, but not the knives, armed with which they all
rushed at my back. The sudden change of ideas had evidently made them
exceedingly angry. The grumbling became very loud, and louder still when
they saw me complacently giving the finishing touches to the fish, which
was now left alone, and not as before shifted about every second. They
grew wilder and wilder, until one of the crowd shouted in my ears some
words which sounded remarkably like swearing. Nevertheless it takes more
than that to stop me from sketching; but ... "By Jove!" I exclaimed,
when, all of a sudden, a rush was made on me. My paint-box, picture,
palette and brushes were snatched out of my hands and smashed or flung
away, and I found myself stretched on the sand, my late involuntary
sitters holding me down fast by the legs and arms. A big knife was kept
well over my head, so that I should not attempt to move, while the
painting, on a heavy wooden panel, was being mercilessly destroyed by
others. "If these are Christians, well I am ..." were, I must confess,
the first words that rose to my lips.

It is, indeed, difficult to describe how and what one feels when, to all
appearance, one is going to be murdered--for painting a fish! My first
thought, of course, went to my parents. My next was, what a nuisance it
was to be murdered with the sun shining in my eyes, so that I could not
even see who would give me the "finishing touch." All the events of my
life, the bad ones first, flashed across my mind in those few seconds,
and then I almost began to feel as if I had made my first steps into the
other world, and I could see angels and devils disputing for my
company--the devils, of course, having by far the largest claims. The
bitterness of death had in some sense passed, when, to my great
astonishment, and with a few, but very sound, kicks I was made to
understand that I could get up and go.

The sensation of being brought back to life, when one has made up one's
mind to be dead, notwithstanding the abrupt manner in which it was
produced, was indeed a pleasant one. I did get up, and pretty quick, I
can tell you; but only to see my poor wooden paint-box floating
half-smashed in the sea, my brushes stuck here and there in the sand,
and the sketch utterly destroyed.

My assailants were about fifteen or twenty, and I was alone. Stupidly
enough, and relying on the Christianity of the people, I had not
burdened myself with the extra weight of my revolver; I had left it with
my heavy luggage in the small Japanese tea-house where I had put up,
nearly a mile away. The Japanese police-station was at Washibets,
another village some miles off. Nothing was left for me but to pick up
the few unbroken brushes which were within easy reach and retire; but I
was neither frightened nor conquered, and I swore to myself that I would
have my revenge. I hurried to the tea-house, took my revolver, and
filled my pocket with cartridges, then I ran back to the spot where I
had sketched and been assaulted. There they all were as I had left them,
one of them mimicking me with the broken palette, which he had fished
out of the sea. I had kept well behind some thick brushwood, so that
they should not see me, and for some time watched them unobserved. The
imitation was perfect. The impromptu Raphael's hair was long enough to
give him the look of an artist, and he was sufficiently brave to carry
on his imitation sketching under a shower of missiles and sand thrown at
him by his friends and companions. As he turned his head I recognised in
my brother-artist the man who had been holding the knife over my head
about an hour before, and also the very person who had given me the
soundest kick. Just like a brother-artist! If my sketching had not
lasted long, his parody was even shorter. I sprang out from the
brushwood screen and caught him by the throat, pointing my revolver at
his head, and telling him in Japanese to follow me to the
police-station. Another man, attacking me from behind, stabbed me in my
left arm, but not very severely, as I saw him just in time to avoid his
blow. The sight of my revolver had a salutary effect on my hairy
friends, and they were done out of their fun when, keeping them at bay,
I told them that if they did not follow me they would all be dead men
before they knew where they were. They had seen guns of the Japanese,
and they knew the effects of them, so the saucy gentlemen stroked their
hair and beard and made signs of submission and obedience. However, I
was not to be easily appeased, as it was necessary to give them a lesson
to prevent the same thing happening to future travellers; so I made them
march in front of me, not caring to have them at my back, and thus took
them all to the Japanese police-station, where they were duly arrested.
The Japanese are very severe with recalcitrant Ainu, and my assailants
would have been unmercifully dealt with had it not been for their wives
and children, who came to me begging me to forgive their husbands and
fathers for what they had done. I willingly did so, on condition that
they should all come and prostrate themselves at my feet, imploring
pardon and forgiveness and offering submission, as well as confessing
their sorrow. This penitential function was reluctantly fixed by the
Japanese policeman--the only one in the place--at a late hour in the
afternoon. During the interval, as I fortunately had a large supply of
painting materials, I managed to repaint from memory the scene
represented in the sketch destroyed. The evening came, and the little
Japanese policeman brought the resigned and humbled Ainu to the inn.
Their wives and relatives followed, and they all looked supremely
mournful and sad. I sat, Japanese fashion, on the small verandah on the
ground-floor, and the policeman placed the Ainu on a line in front of
me, and then came to sit by my side. He then addressed them, partly in
the Ainu language, partly in Japanese, and bestowed on them names which
went well to the point. He scolded them harshly, and asked them why they
had assaulted me.

One of them, as grave as a judge, with his eyes cast down, and in a
half-broken voice, came forward and said, that if once you have your
likeness taken you have to give up your life to it, and it brings
illness to yourself, to your children, your parents, and your
neighbours. Not only that, but as I had _taken_ many people together,
famine was sure to fall on the country. "Then," he added--and he seemed
positive of what he was talking about--"then there was a fish the
stranger _made_"--the Ainu have no word for painting--"and had we not
destroyed his _makings_ all the fish would have disappeared from the
sea, and all the Ainu would have died of starvation"--which was a
terrible contingency, as the Ainu live mainly by fishing. "We have not
hurt the stranger," continued this hairy representative of Master
Eustache de St. Pierre, "and now that all the Ainu and the fish he made
are destroyed we are safe."

"You are mistaken," said I, when, by the aid of the policeman, I
understood the meaning of this long harangue, and I produced the large
sketch of the scene which I had repainted from memory. This certainly
beat them. They could hardly believe their own eyes, and looked at each
other as if some great calamity were approaching. I have no doubt that
they considered me an evil spirit, and, as such, too powerful to be
contended with. Discretion was their best part of valour, as they
proved. One by one they approached the verandah, sat cross-legged in
front of me, rubbed their hands together, stroked their hair and beard
three times, and three times each put his head down to my feet, begging
my pardon. The Ainu women and children who had assembled in the back
yard, where the function took place, were crying and moaning piteously.
The most trying part for me was, of course, to keep serious during this
long tragi-comic performance, and I was indeed glad when it was all
over; when my supremacy was acknowledged, and my immunity from further
insult secured; when submission had been made, and such whips and stings
of outrageous fortune as might come from the painting of a fish had been
humbly accepted.

The Ainu are gentle and mild by nature, but, like all ignorant people,
they are extremely superstitious, and superstition is a powerful
excitant. Nevertheless, they are good people in their own way, and it
must not be inferred from this small experience of mine that they are
bullies, for they are not. The superstition regarding the reproduction
of images is common all through the East, with the exception of the
Japanese, and in many parts of Europe itself strange ideas are connected
with portrait-painting. In Spain or Italy many a girl of the lower
classes would think herself dishonoured if she happened to be sketched
unawares, or if her picture were shown without the consent of her
parents, brothers, relatives, and the parish priest.

However, these Horobets Ainu are said, since civilisation has set in in
that part of Yezo, of late years to have become untrustworthy and
violent. They are more given to drunkenness than their neighbours, as
they can procure from the Japanese stronger beverages than their own.
_Sake_ (Japanese wine) of inferior quality is sold and exchanged in
large quantities, and has the same fatal effects on them as rum--our
fire-water--had on the American Indians.

I was not sorry to leave a village which had displayed so little
appreciation of my art. I took two ponies and two pack-saddles, to one
of which was lashed my baggage, while I sat on the other. Riding is a
delightful pastime when you have a good horse and a good saddle; but not
when you have to look after two vicious animals, and are yourself
perched on a rough wooden pack-saddle. Moreover, Ainu pack-saddles are
perhaps the most uncomfortable of their kind. The illustration shows one
of them. It is made with a rough, solid wooden frame, of which the front
and back parts are semicircular. One large hole is perforated in each of
these to allow ropes to be passed through. Under this frame are two mat
cushions or pads, which are somehow supposed to fit the pony's back; and
by means of three ropes, one of which is passed under the pony's body
and fastened on each side of the saddle, while the others hang loose
across its chest and under its tail respectively, the pack-saddle is
made to remain in position either going uphill, downhill, or on level
ground. Stirrups, of course, there are none; and mounting involves some
difficulties at first. One has to face one's pony and place the left
foot on the breast-piece, lift oneself up and swing right round,
describing three-quarters of a circle before attaining one's seat in the
saddle. If distances are miscalculated in this gymnastic feat, it is a
common occurrence to find oneself seated on the pony's neck, or else
landed heavily on either of the two hard wooden arches of the saddle,
instead of gracefully falling between them. Keeping your equilibrium
when you are on is also a trying exercise to anybody not born and bred a
circus rider, and balancing your baggage perfectly on each side of the
saddle is somewhat more difficult than it sounds.

[Illustration: PACK-SADDLE.]

Nine miles from Horobets one comes across the Nobori-bets[1]
hot-springs. There was, formerly, a _geiser_ here, but it is seldom
active now. These hot-springs are situated two-and-a-half miles from the
sea-coast, and a miserable building, which is a mere shanty, is built in
the vicinity of them, where people who wish to be cured of different
complaints put up and take the waters.

    [1] _Nobori_, mountain, volcano; _bets_, river, stream.

I rode on to the Noboribets village, consisting of a few houses only;
and, though I reached it late in the evening, I had to ride fourteen
miles further to Shiraoi, "a place of horse-flies."[2]

    [2] _Shirao_, horse-fly; _i_, a suffix meaning _a place_.

At sunrise I was up again and on my way to Tomakomai,[3] the largest
Japanese fishing village between Mororran and Cape Erimo.

    [3] _To_, lake, swamp; _mak_, behind; _oma_, inside; _i_, a suffix
        meaning _a place_, or "a place behind which a hidden swamp is


Sardine fishing is the principal and, indeed, the only industry of the
place. It is carried on in a practical way. When the long nets are
ready, and one end of them is fastened to the shore, they launch the
boat, which is rowed rapidly by twenty or thirty strong men, while the
net is dropped as the boat goes along. Having thus described a
semicircle, the boat is beached. All on board jump out, and the net is
pulled on shore amid the shrieks and yells of the excited fishermen.
Myriads of sardines are caught each time the net is hauled in; and it is
a fantastic scene to see the naked crowd which, in clearing the nets
from the beheaded fish, get covered with silver scales, which stick to
their arms, legs, and body, and give them a strange appearance.

_Look-out_ towers are built on four high posts, where a watchman is
posted to signal the arrival and approach of the shoals. The sea is so
dense with them that it changes its colour, and these moving banks of
sardines are distinguishable four or five miles from the coast. This
method is the same as that adopted in Cornwall when the pilchards are
expected, and the same discoloration of the sea takes place.

From Tomakomai a road branches to the north leading to Sappro, the
capital of Hokkaido, and it is the last place on the southern coast
which is visited by that rare specimen of the globe-trotter who ventures
to Yezo. He hastily makes his way from here to Sappro and Otaru on the
northern coast, and waits for a ship to be conveyed back to Hakodate. He
then, of course, tells his friends that he has been round and about and
through Yezo, while in fact he has seen absolutely nothing of Yezo or
its inhabitants. About half-a-dozen Europeans, however, have been
further on--as far as the Saru River; and each one has written a book on
the Ainu, for the most part copying what the previous author had

As far as Tomakomai there is a road--a sure sign of civilisation--but
nothing but a horse-track is to be found all along the southern coast
after this place has been passed.

Changing my ponies at Yuhuts,[4] nine miles east, and again at Mukawa
and Saru-buto, I was able to reach Saru Mombets that same night. Many
Ainu and Japanese fishermen's huts are scattered between Horohuts[5] and
Yuhuts, on the sandy track along the sea.

    [4] _Yu_, springs; _huts_, mouth of river.

    [5] _Horo_, large; _hut_, _huts_, _put_, the mouth of a river.

The traveller then leaves the sea on the right, and by a very uneven
track, and after fording several rivers of little importance comes to
Mukawa, a dirty little village fourteen miles from Yuhuts. My lunch that
day consisted of a large piece of raw salmon, which was easily digested
in riding nine more miles to Saru-buto. Sharu in Ainu, corrupted into
Saru, means a grassy plain; and _buto_ is a Japanese corruption of the
Ainu word _huts_, the mouth of a river. My ponies must have known of
this "grassy plain," for they went remarkably well, and I reached the
latter village some time before dark, so that I was able to push on to
Saru Mombets, a larger village nearly four miles further. Saru Mombets
translated means "a tranquil river in a grassy plain," a name thoroughly
appropriate to the locality.

There is nothing to interest the traveller along the coast, unless he be
a geologist. Almost the whole of the western part of the Iburi district
is of volcanic formation. The eastern part is abundant in sandstones,
breccias, and shales. In the neighbourhood of Yuhuts, and all along the
coast as far west as Horobets, pumice forms the surface soil, showing
that in former days frequent eruptions must have taken place. Vegetable
mould alternates with pumice. Sand, clay, tufa, with beds of peat and
gravel, are the components of the soil which is found filling up the
declivities of mountains, covering low-lands and sea-beaches in this
part of the island. Specimens of the palæozoic group are found in the
pebbles of the Mukawa River and valley, like amphibolite, limestone,
phyllite, sandstone, and clay-slate, besides variegated quartzite of
greenish and red layers. Primary rocks are common all through Iburi and

The terraces surrounding the Saru valley are mostly wooded with oak, and
the swampy region between the Mukawa and Sarubuto has many patches of
green grass, and a thick growth of high swamp reeds.

[Illustration: HOROBETS.]



Up the Saru River--Piratori and its chief.

A large number of Ainu have taken up their abode on the banks of the
River Saru, or Sharu, as it is called by them, and Piratori, nearly
fifteen miles from the coast, is the largest village of the whole

The scenery from the coast to this village is not grand, but pretty,
through a thickly-wooded country and along grassy plains. The Ainu give
to the plain itself the name of Sharu-Ru, which corresponds in English
to a "track in a grassy plain." Along this water-way, or not far from
it, one meets with numerous small Ainu villages and scattered huts until
Piratori is reached.

Piratori is a string or succession of many villages on undulating
ground, the last of them being situated on a high cliff overlooking the
river. In the Ainu language _Pira_ means "a cliff," and _Tori_ "a
residence." As in all Ainu villages, the huts are in one line, some few
yards one from the other. Each has a separate structure--a small
storehouse built on piles--generally at the west end of the hut.

On my arrival at Piratori, I was welcomed by Benry, the _Ottena_ (chief)
of the village, who invited me to his hut and _salaamed_ me in the most
solemn manner, not forgetting to mention incidentally that "his throat
was very dry," and that _sake_ (Japanese wine) could be obtained from a
Japanese who lives opposite to his hut.

"He is a bad man," said Benry confidentially; "but he sells very good

The _sake_ was procured, and Benry, beaming with joy, poured it with his
shaky, drunken hands into a large bowl. He then produced a wooden stick,
shaped like a paper-knife, about five inches in length, and waved it in
the air five or six times with his right hand, dipping the point of it
each time into the fluid. "_Nishpa_"--sir, master--said he. Then,
leaning forwards and lifting up his heavy moustache with the small
stick, he swallowed the contents of the bowl at a draught. The same
performance took place each time that some fresh _sake_ was poured into
his bowl, and then Benry, with an inimitable cunning, and a comically
self-sacrificing expression on his face, meekly enquired whether I would
care to see "how much an Ainu could drink."

"Yes," said I, "we will go down to the river, and you shall show me
there if you can drink it dry."

"Yie, yie, yie"--no, no, no--hurriedly replied in Japanese the Ainu
chief; "water is too heavy, and I meant wine." Owing to this small
difference of opinion, and having no wish to encourage him in his
drunkenness, Benry's capacity for intoxicating fluids is yet unknown to
the civilised world.

Benry's house is a palace compared to other Ainu huts. It is much larger
than most of them, and boasts of a wooden floor, in the centre of which
a rectangular fire-place is cut out. The hut has two windows, one toward
the east, the other opening to the south; but no chimney is provided as
an outlet for the smoke. A hole in the west corner of the roof answers
this purpose. The rough wooden frame is thatched with tall reeds and
_arundinaria_, and the roof is shaped like a prism. The different huts
of Piratori vary in size, but not in type. The larger ones cover an area
of about sixteen or eighteen feet square. Most of them, however, do not
measure more than ten or twelve feet square. Benry's house was
exceptionally large, and being such a "swell" one, two rough _kinna_
(mats) were spread on the floor and a number of Japanese rice boxes and
_shokuji_ tables[6] adorned one side of the dwelling. Over these were
hung a number of swords, knives, etc., most of them with no blade at
all, or with only a wooden one. The few old blades which Benry possessed
were of Japanese workmanship, probably obtained by the Ainu in their
former wars with the Japanese. A few Ainu spears and arrows with bone
and bamboo poisoned points were fastened to the roof.

    [6] Small Japanese dinner tables.

These Ainu of Piratori have frequent intercourse with the Japanese, who
get from them furs and other articles in exchange for _sake_ or a few
worthless beads. A few half-castes are also found at Piratori. The
Piratori Ainu, with those of Volcano Bay, as we have seen, are those
best known to the civilised world, as a few foreigners have travelled so
far to see them. I may mention that as types the inhabitants of Piratori
are a great deal better than the residents of Volcano Bay, most of whom
are half-breeds; but even they themselves cannot be taken as fair
specimens of their race, for they have adopted several customs and
habits of the Japanese, which the incautious traveller has then reported
as purely Ainu customs. For instance, the pure Ainu diet consists almost
entirely of fish, meat, and seaweeds. Only occasionally are the roots of
certain trees eaten. At Piratori I found that many grow and eat millet,
and corn and bad rice are also sometimes procured from the Japanese.
Benry has also gone so far in the way of civilisation as to invest his
small fortune in buying half-a-dozen hens and a cock, with whom he
shares his regal home. These hens lay eggs according to custom, and
Benry and his "wife" eat them. As the Ainu language has no special word
for this imported kind of bird, they are known by the name of "kikkiri."


After the experience which I had had at Horobets I decided to be more
careful with my sketching. I broached the subject to Benry, and asked
him to sit to me for his portrait. At first he was very reluctant, but
the prospect of receiving a present finally overcame his scruples--for
he was indeed civilised in this respect, and understood the worth of his
version of the almighty dollar to perfection--and, consenting to be
sketched, he sat--at the outset with as much courage as docility. He
produced a crown of shavings and seaweed, which he solemnly placed on
his head, whilst his better-half helped him on with his regal _imi_
(garments), as well as a large sword, which also made part of his regal
insignia. The crown had in front a small bear's head roughly carved in
wood, and the clothes were very gaudy. They were made of strips of blue,
white, and red cloth sewn together. The materials used were Japanese,
but they were cut and arranged in a thoroughly Ainu pattern. Though he
began well, Benry was not a good sitter, and, like most animals, he did
not like to be stared at. He felt the weight of a look, as it were, and
it made him uncomfortable. Not many minutes had elapsed before he became
openly impatient; he even showed his temper by flinging away his crown
and his wooden sword. On the other hand, sketching in Benry's house was
no easy matter for me. With all the respect due to the chief of
Piratori, I am bound to say that his house was not a model of
cleanliness. Those of his hairy brothers and subjects were no better
than his, and many were a great deal worse. Fleas and other insects were
so numerous that in a few minutes I was literally covered with them,
each one of them having a peaceful and hearty meal at my expense, while
I, for the sake of art, had to go on with my sketch and leave them
undisturbed. Notwithstanding all this Benry was immortalised twice that
day, and his maid, housekeeper, or wife--three words which have the same
meaning to the Ainu--was also handed down to posterity while in the act
of spinning the inner fibre of the _Ulmus campestris_ bark, destined to
form a new garment for her lord, master, and husband.

When I went out to sketch the houses and storehouses in the village
Benry and another man followed me everywhere; but neither he nor his
fellow-shadow seemed to take any interest in the sketching. In Japan,
Corea, and China I have often been surrounded by hundreds of people
attentively watching every stroke of the brush, and I have always found
them clever and quick in making out the meaning of each line or
brush-mark. I can assert, without fear of being contradicted, that the
majority of Japanese, Coreans, and Chinese are even quicker than
Europeans in that respect, owing to the fact that lines constitute for
them the study of a lifetime. Chinese characters, which are nothing but
a deep study of lines, are adopted by the three above-mentioned nations,
and I consider this to be the original cause why this artistic insight
is to be found even among the lowest classes. The Ainu have no such
insight; they have no characters, no writing of any kind, no books, and
it is therefore not astonishing that they are not trained to understand
art, bad as it may have been in my case. Their appreciation of lines is
yet in the rudest form, and they possess no more than what is
instinctive with them. For instance, while I was sketching, Benry and
his friend either sat or crouched down by my side like two dogs, and
when my sketch was finished I showed it to them.

"Pirika, Pirika! Nishpa!" ("Very pretty, very pretty, sir!") Benry
exclaimed with perfect self-assurance; but when I asked him what he
thought the sketch represented, he cut me short by saying that _I_ had
done the picture and _I_ ought to know what it was meant for; he did
not. His friend agreed with him.

When my work was done we three walked back to Benry's house, my two Ainu
friends being very anxious that I should get something to eat. From
their conversation and gestures I caught that it seemed incomprehensible
to them that I should sit in front of an Ainu hut and--to use their
expression--"make all sorts of signs on a wooden panel." After a lengthy
discussion the two came to the conclusion that houses in our country
were so bad that I had been sent to the Ainu country to "copy" the
pattern of Ainu huts!

Benry seemed excited about something, and hurried us back with curious
haste and eagerness. When we left the house in the morning I saw Benry's
better-half placing a few eggs in water to boil over the fire. When we
entered the hut, nearly two hours afterwards, the eggs were still
boiling, and no fair maid within yelling reach. In order that the fire
might not go out during her absence the thoughtful girl had placed the
largest portion of the trunk of a tree in the fireplace!

Taken altogether, Benry and all his Saru Ainu are very good-natured.
They gradually got accustomed to being sketched, seeing that after all
it really did not bring on them "immediate death."

The more one sees of the Ainu the dirtier they appear, but as dirt to a
great extent contributes to picturesqueness, I was indeed sorry when
Benry, exercising his authority, sent several of my sitters to dress up
in their best clothes--often Japanese--while I should have preferred to
sketch them in their every-day rags. I must say, for their sake, that
they were never sent to wash. Being a rapid sketcher, I had recourse to
a trick. I pretended to sketch one given person, who, of course, was
sent at once to "dress up," and while he or she, after having returned,
posed patiently for half an hour or more, I in the meantime took
sketches of four or five different natives, who were not aware that they
were being portrayed. As the Ainu--and they are probably not the only
people--could not make either head or tail of my sketches, my trick was
never found out.

One day, old Benry led me by the hand in the most affectionate manner to
a hut some way off, and confidentially told me that we were going to see
his favourite girl and her boy.

"This," said the chief triumphantly as we went in, "this is Benry's
_Pirika menoko_" (pretty girl), "and that"--pointing to a youth--"her
only son."

"And what about the old hairy lady in your own hut?" I inquired.

"That is my _Poromachi_" (great wife), said he, qualifying matters with
a compliment to the elder woman, "and this is my _Pon-machi_" (small

"Why should you have two wives, you old Mormon?"

"Nishpa," retorted he, "my great wife is old, and she is only fit to do
all the rough work in the house and out. My hair is white, but I am
strong, and I wanted yet a young wife."

Indeed, there was enough mother-wit in Benry to have made him either a
scamp or a philosopher. His theories were as remarkable as they were
accommodating, particularly to himself.

Returning from the house of his love, the chief was in a very talkative
mood, and he related two or three Japanese stories, which he wanted me
to believe to be pure Ainu legends. A learned missionary and two or
three travellers before him, who had visited Piratori previous to
myself, have accepted these so-called legends wholesale, taking Benry's
word for their accuracy, which, as the old chief speaks very good
Japanese, of course simplified the task of understanding and
transcribing them. I was, however, much surprised to find that such
learned Europeans could yield such ready credence to a barbarian Ainu

Thinking that it would please me, Benry told me the story of a deluge
and a big flood, in which nearly all the Ainu were drowned. The few that
escaped did so by finding refuge on a high mountain.

"Where did you learn this story, Benry?" I asked sternly.

"Nishpa, it is an old Ainu story, and all strangers who come to Piratori
write it in their books."

"Oh, no, Benry, you know well that _one_ stranger did not write it in
his book," said I quickly, as if I knew all about it.

"Oh, yes, nishpa; _that_ was the stranger who told me the story!"

This small anecdote shows how careful one ought to be in accepting
information which may sound extremely interesting at first, but is
absolutely worthless in the end.


[Illustration: AN AINU FESTIVAL.]


An Ainu Festival.

The Ainu have few public performances, and no special time of the year
is fixed for them. As it so happened, a festival--a "Iyomanrei"--took
place while I was at Piratori.

The performance was held in a large hut belonging to the heir apparent
to the chieftainship of Piratori. I went to the hut and asked whether I
could attend the performance. The host, in answer, came to meet me at
the door, and, taking me by the hand, led me in. I was shown where to
sit, on the southern side of the hut, the place of honour for strangers,
and my host sat in front of me and saluted me in Ainu fashion.

Benry and several old men were squatting on the floor, Benry in the
middle, and he was again gorgeous in his regal clothes. Some of the
others, who wore a crown like Benry's, were chiefs of the neighbouring
villages, who had come up for the grand occasion.

One by one all the men present rose and came to stroke their hair and
beard before me, and I returned the compliment as well as I could in
Ainu fashion. The hut was gradually getting filled, and each man that
entered first saluted the landlord, then Benry, then myself, and
ultimately the two guests between whom he sat. Women and children
occupied the darker west end of the hut, and they took no active part in
the function. Other chiefs came in, and Benry was surrounded by many of
them and by elderly men.

The whole group of these chiefs, with their long white beards, lighted
up by a brilliant ray of sunshine, which penetrated through the small
east window, was extremely picturesque.

In its savagery it was almost grand, with a barbaric quasi-animal sense
of power and irresponsibility. In truth, it was a wonderful sight to see
all these hairy people assembled in this small place--men, yet not men
like ourselves--men, and not brutes, yet still having curiously brutish
traits athwart their humanity.

The performance was simple, but really fine in its simplicity. A fire
burning in the centre of the hut, and filling the place with smoke,
added, by its suggestive dimness, to the picturesqueness of the scene.
It was strange that the only ray of sun which came in should fall on the
most interesting group. Was it chance or design? Rembrandt himself would
have delighted in painting that scene.

Benry looked every inch a king, and several of the younger men were
busily engaged lighting his pipe and refilling it with tobacco. He
puffed away at such a rate that no sooner was the pipe filled than it
was smoked and handed over again to undergo the same process.

Two large casks of Japanese _sake_ were brought in, and each man
produced his wooden bowl.

The host came slowly forward, and planted an _Inao_--a willow wand with
overhanging shavings--in one corner of the fireplace; then muttered a
few words, which implied that the _sake_ could now be poured out. A
Japanese lacquer rice-box was filled with the intoxicating liquid, and
no sooner had this been done than old Benry, forgetting his dignity,
jumped up and made a rush for it, filled a large bowl, and retired to a
corner to drink it. All the men present followed his example. Benry was
never selfish when he had had enough for himself. He filled his bowl
again and brought it to me, saying that I was a friend of the Ainu, and
must join them in the drinking.

My attention was suddenly drawn to three old chiefs, who, half drunk,
stood in front of the small east window. They dipped their
moustache-lifters in their bowls, waving them towards the sun as a
salutation to the "Chop Kamui," the "Great Sun." There was no religious
character attached to this libation offered to the sun, no more than
when we take off our hats passing a respected friend in the street. It
is a mere sign of respect, not of worship. Besides, it must be clearly
understood that no "offerings" of wine are ever made by the Ainu to the
"Great Sun," and that the "libations" offered are invariably consumed by
the offerer.

I managed to get several sketches of the assembly, and every moment I
expected to get into trouble again; but this time they took it most

The hut became very stuffy, owing to the large number of persons and the
smoke. There were nearly two hundred people in it, packed closely
together, and there was nothing in the show to interest one--certainly
not the disgusting sight of this drunkenness, which, moreover, became
monotonous as well as disgusting.

I stroked my hair and beard--the latter only figuratively--in sign of
salute, to the host, Benry, and the other drowsy chiefs, and, carefully
avoiding pushing or treading on any member of the unsteady crowd, I made
my exit.

Oh, what a treat it was to breathe fresh air again!

Outside the hut the pretty _menokos_ (girls) of Piratori were having a
lot of fun all to themselves. They were all dressed in long yellowish
gowns, with rough white and red ornamentations on a patch of blue cloth,
on their backs; and each girl took a very active part in a game, or a
kind of savage dance, called Tapkara. They all ranged themselves in a
circle, and a child or two was sometimes placed in the centre. The game
consisted in collectively hopping an indefinite number of times, calling
out either the name, or the accompanying sound, of some of their
everyday occupations, and clapping the hands so as to keep time. For
instance, one sound was "Ouye, ouye" ("Fire, fire"), and they all blew
as when making a fire, and hopped till they were nearly senseless.

Then the next was "R-r-r, r-r-r, r-r-r," and with this they imitated the
pulling of a rope.

Then "Pirrero, pirrero; pirrero, pirrero," was the sound accompanying
the action of rowing, imitating the squeaking of the paddle produced by
the friction on the canoe.

The movement of the arms changed according to the sounds uttered, but
the hopping was kept up continuously. The game reminded me much of our
Sir Roger de Coverley, in a more barbarous form, but certainly not less
pretty than our old country dance.


Late in the afternoon all the men came out of the hut, and by a winding
path I was taken to the valley along the river, at the foot of the cliff
on which Piratori is built. Benry and all the other chiefs remained on
the cliff. Bareback races formed the next and last event in the
programme, and the chiefs were to witness them from their "high point of

There was great excitement as to who should ride the ponies. The Ainu
are fond of sports, and I noticed that ultimately they were sharp enough
to select their jockeys from among the lightest men. The winner of each
race had a good time of it, but the other unfortunate jockeys were
pulled off the ponies by the angry mob, and knocked about as worthless

The evening came, and with the dying sun ended that memorable day of
festivities. I retired. Distant sounds of the _menokos_, still enjoying
themselves, came to me with the wind, but fainter and fainter they grew
as it was getting darker.

"Pirrero! Pirrero! Pirrero!" I heard again, till at last the sounds
faded away into a mere murmur, and I fell asleep.

The morning that I left Piratori, old Benry put on his regal clothes and
crown to bid me good-bye.

"Nishpa, Popka-no-okkayan" ("Sir, may you be preserved warm"), said the
old chief, in the Ainu fashion of bidding farewell; "I have a pain in my
chest, owing to your leaving Piratori, but I shall accompany you part of
the way."


I dissuaded the old chief from doing that, but he went on, with his
plaintive voice: "Nishpa, you must tell in your country that Piratori is
a nice place, and all the Ainu are good people. Not like the Shamo"
(Japanese; also half-breeds), "for they are bad. You must return soon,"
he added, and, taking my hand, he pressed it to his hairy chest. He then
took me to his hut again, and there renewed his farewells, and I renewed
mine to him, to his _great_ wife, and to his house, for it is part of
the Ainu etiquette to bid good-bye to the house of a friend as well as
to the owner of it.

The return journey to Saru Mombets was accomplished without much

[Illustration: UTAROP ROCKS.]


From the Saru River to Cape Erimo.

After quitting Saru Mombets I was altogether out of the beaten tracks.
The twenty-two miles to Shimokebo were monotonous in the extreme. High
cliffs towered above me on the one side, and the sea stretched into
infinity on the other. River after river had to be waded, the
At-pets,[7] the Nii-pak-pets,[8] and the Shibe-gari-pets.[9] The
Nii-pak-pets is wide and fairly deep. Near the At-pets river the
Japanese Government has established a horse farm, in order to improve
the breed of Yezo ponies. A few miserable Ainu huts are scattered along
the coast, and millions of scavenger crows, with their monotonous cries,
seem to claim sovereignty over these shores. Near the Takae village, on
the Nii-kap-pets, is an enormous perpendicular cliff, which, jutting out
into the sea, bars the way to the traveller; therefore I had to abandon
the sandy shore, and with considerable trouble get the ponies to climb
over the steep banks, which was no easy task for them. Shimokebo is a
peculiar-looking place. It is entirely a fishermen's village, and I put
up at the Ogingawa Zunubi yadoya--a tea-house owned by a Japanese

    [7] At-pets--Elm-tree river (_at_, elm-tree; _pets_, river).

    [8] Nii-pak-pets--also called Nakap-pets. _Nii_, a wood; _pak_,
        under; _na_, more; _kap_, bark of tree.

    [9] Shibe-gari-pets--Salmon-trout river.

Japanese will be Japanese wherever they go, and people who have had
anything to do with them know how difficult it is to satisfy their

"How old are you?" inquired the _occamisan_--the landlady. "Where do you
come from? What is your country? Why are you travelling? Have you a wife
and children? Can you eat Japanese food; also Ainu food? Can you sleep
in _foutangs_?" (Japanese bedding). "Also with a _makura_?" (a wooden

About fifty more personal and indiscreet questions were also asked, and
all my belongings were examined with ever-increasing astonishment as one
thing after another was handled and investigated. I was tired, and felt
as if I could have kicked the whole crowd of them out of my room; but I
was unintentionally polite to them to such an extent that the
_occamisan_ loudly exclaimed--

"_Honto Danna, Anata Nihonno shto, onaji koto!_"--"Really, sir, you are
just like a Japanese!"

"_Domo neh!_" rose up in a chorus from the large assembly, "_nandemo
dannasan wakarimas!_"--"The gentleman really understands everything!"
This was a decided compliment, and I was bound to accept it as it was
intended. When they heard that I was indeed "_Taihen kutabire mashita_"
(very tired), they reluctantly left the room, and closed the _shoji_
(sliding doors of tissue paper on a wooden frame). Each bowed
gracefully, drawing in his breath at the same time. This is the Japanese
polite way of leaving a room. Their conversation was resumed in the next
apartment, regardless of the fact that tissue paper walls are not
sound-proof. Remarks on me, not quite in harmony with their courteous
bearing, were passed freely about, and the politest thing I heard them
say was that I must be a _lunatic_ to travel alone in these inhospitable
regions, and what a pity it was for a man _so young_ to be so fearfully

"Oh, those _seyono shto_ (foreigners) are all born lunatics," said the
voice of one who knew better.

The Shibegari River, at the mouth of which Shimokebo is situated, is
also called Shibe-chari--"sprinkled salmon river." Very minute traces of
gold are found in the river-sands and gravels, and also some
well-developed brown garnet crystals and quartzite and phyllite pebbles.
The gold, however, is not in sufficient quantity to enable it to be
worked profitably. Seven and a half miles from Shimokebo the Japanese
Government has another horse farm similar to that of the At-pets.

The travelling along the coast was heavy, and I could ride but slowly. I
had to make the ponies go where the sand was wet along the beach, as
there it was harder and they did not sink. This had its drawbacks, for
the sea was very rough, and once or twice my ponies and I came very near
being washed against the cliffs by some extra large wave. Instead of
green banks, as between Tomakomai and Shimokebo, here were high cliffs
of volcanic formation, with a narrow strip of sand at their foot.

The few Ainu along the coast were decidedly ugly. It was only now and
then that in a sheltered nook I came across a hut or two of seaweed
gatherers; and, still following the cliffs, I passed two or three small
villages of a few houses each. After fifteen miles of this heavy track I
reached the fishing station of Ubahu, where I was able to obtain some
fresh horses. Prowling along the beach, I examined some of the Ainu
canoes that had been drawn on shore. They might be divided into three
classes--(_a_) the "dug-outs," used mostly for river navigation; (_b_)
the lashed canoe; and (_c_) a larger kind used for sailing. The
"dug-out" does not require explanation, as everyone knows that it is a
trunk of a tree hollowed out in the shape of a boat, and propelled
either by paddling or punting.

[Illustration: AINU LASHED CANOE.]


[Illustration: AINU OARS.]

The lashed canoes are made of nine pieces of wood lashed together with
the fibre of a kind of vine. The concave bottom is all of one piece--a
partial "dug-out"--to which are added the side pieces, of three planks
each, sewn together at an angle of about 170°, and made to fit the sides
of the "dug-out." Two more pieces, one aft and one forward, meet the
side planks at right angles. The length of these canoes varies from 10
to 15 feet, the width from 3 to 3½ feet. Two pieces of wood are then
lashed horizontally, which answer the double purpose of strengthening
the sides of the canoe and, being provided with pins outside the canoe,
of allowing it to be used as an outrigger when rowing. Canoes are either
rowed or sailed. The oars are made of two pieces firmly lashed together.
A hole is bored in the part which is to be passed through the pin in the
outrigger. One person is generally sufficient to row an Ainu canoe, and
he does so standing. There is no steering gear or rudder, and when
rowing the oars are used for that purpose. Ainu canoes are not decked,
and therefore cannot stand heavy seas. They are alike on both sides, and
in most cases the two ends of the canoe are also shaped alike. There
are, however, certain canoes which, in my opinion, have been suggested
to the Ainu by Japanese boats, and which are flat at the stern. These
are generally larger, and used for sailing. A square mat sail is rigged
on a short mast forward, and the steering is done with one of the oars
at the stern. The sailing qualities of these canoes, however, are not
very great, and the slightest squall causes them to capsize and "turn
turtle." The anchors used by the Ainu are very ingenious; they are cut
out of a piece of wood, with either one or two barbs, and two stones are
fastened on the sides of the stem so as to carry the anchor to the
bottom. No compass is either known or used by the Ainu, and the natives
shape their course by sight of land. They very seldom go long distances
out at sea, as they are fully aware of the dangers of the ocean and of
the imperfection of their own methods of navigation, though they are
wholly incapable of making any improvements by their own judgment. The
canoes are always beached when not used, and each family possesses its
own. There are none which are the property of companies or are common to
certain villages.

[Illustration: SAILING CANOE.]

[Illustration: AINU WOODEN ANCHORS.]

[Illustration: TOP VIEW OF AN AINU CANOE.]

The track between Ubahu and Urakawa is rough, and the rivers are
somewhat troublesome. Not far from the Mitsuashi river one has to pass a
tunnel which has been made through a rock projecting into the sea. In
rough weather it is difficult and dangerous to get through, as the waves
wash right through the tunnel. In fair weather it affords a safe passage
to the traveller.

The Matourabets (the winter fishing river) was successfully waded, and
the Ikantai[10] village passed. Then at Urakawa or Urapets (the fish
river) I made a halt for the night. There are many half-breeds at
Urakawa, and a few real Ainu, but the small population is composed
mostly of Japanese fishermen.

    [10] _Ikan_, a canal made by salmon on river-beds to lay their
         spawn; _tai_ thick.

Seven and a half miles further, at Shama-ne--a corruption of _Shuna_,
stones, and _ne_, together--there are some magnificent granite pillars
boldly standing out of the sea. The sandy beach came to an end, and huge
cliffs barred my way in front. I could see that the water was not very
deep round these rocks, as the waves were breaking a long distance from
the cliff, a sure sign of shallow water, though even then it might have
been too deep for my ponies to go through. With great difficulty I got
the two brutes into the sea, trying to round the large rocks for the
better ground, which I hoped to find on the other side. The tide was
low, but the sea was still rough, and nearly every wave as it came in
went right over my ponies, frightening them, and made them extremely
difficult to hold. The instinct of self-preservation made them rush for
the cliff, with the only result that they missed their footing, and they
and I were both swept away by the next receding wave. I was carried off
the saddle, but I had sufficient presence of mind to hold on to the
bridle. An awful struggle ensued between my ponies and myself. Each wave
that came carried and knocked us one way, each wave that retired carried
and knocked us the other. In the midst of all this danger I suddenly
remembered that some years ago a lady who knew all about palmistry
prophesied that I should one day be drowned.

Had the day come now? Not if energy and perseverance would avert the
doom! After a long struggle, I succeeded in pulling my horses where the
water was a little shallower, and there we three stood for some minutes,
trembling with cold, my two ponies looking reproachfully at me with
those half-human eyes of animals when forced into positions of danger
which they can neither understand nor overcome. It is wonderful the
amount of expression that horses have in their eyes, and how plainly one
can read their dumb thoughts and formless emotions!

From the point where I was standing I could see that I had to go on but
a few hundred feet more, and that then my ponies and I would be safe.
Sure enough, the water grew shallower and shallower, and, to my delight,
I was soon on the other side of the cliff. At high tide, and in very
rough weather, it is impossible to pass by this ocean-ford.

Shamane is a picturesque little fishing village, built on the side of a
promontory jutting out into the sea. From there, looking towards
Urakawa, there is a lovely view of all the small islands and
picturesque rocks, standing like huge jewels in the water, while on the
Horoizumi side, as far as the eye can see, there are only cliffs of
peculiar shapes, and marvellously rich in colour.

I got two fresh animals, and pursued my journey towards Horoizumi.
Rocks, rocks, nothing but rocks! My ponies stumbled and slipped all the
time, and for eighteen miles the riding was hard and intricate. I had to
lead my ponies most of the way, and help them, pull them, or push them,
from one rock on to another, and down the next, and so on.

The scenery all along was magnificent and grand. A short distance from
Shamane a large natural archway emerges from the sea, which is called by
the Ainu, Shui-shma, "a hole in stone."

Holes have been pierced through the rocks in several places, to give
comparative safe passage, and to prevent wayfarers from being carried
away by the waves. Over the entrance of one of these tunnels a pretty
waterfall, descending from a great height, gives a poetic effect to the
scene, while it obliges the unfortunate traveller to take an extremely
cold shower-bath, should he wish to push forward on his journey.

As if all these discomforts combined were not enough, it is to be added
that the rivers in this part of the coast, though not wide, are
extremely swift and dangerous to cross. My second pony was carried away
by the strong current when I crossed the Poro-nam-bets,[11] and I had
great difficulty in rescuing him.

    [11] _Poro_, large; _nam_, cold; _bets_, river.

At Shamane there are a few Ainu, but from there to Horoizumi I saw none.

Sardines are very plentiful all along this coast, and long seaweeds also
abound. The latter is used for export, chiefly to China. Horoizumi, a
nice little village of one hundred and fifty houses, is the most
picturesque in Yezo. It is built on the slopes of a high cliff, and it
reminds one much of the pretty villages in the Gulf of Spezia. I arrived
at sunset, and the warm red and yellow tints which the dying orb of day
was shedding on the weather-beaten brownish houses, gave a heavenly
appearance to this very earthly place. As I got nearer, a good deal of
the heavenly had to be discarded, for the odours of fish-manure and of
seaweed are two smells which can hardly claim to be classed under that
heading. The inhabitants of the place themselves seem to feel the
ill-effects of constantly living in that corrupted atmosphere and on a
fish and seaweed diet; for, indeed, it is revolting to see the amount of
horrible cutaneous diseases which affect them. One hardly sees one
creature out of ten that is not covered with a repulsive eruption of
some sort. Leprosy, too, has found its way among the fishermen; and my
readers can easily imagine how pleasant it was for me, when I was
sketching, to be surrounded by a crowd of these loathsome people, who
all wished to touch my clothes and all my belongings, and who would even
lean on my back and rub their heads against mine, when trying to get a
better view of the sketch.

Poor things! I never had the courage to scold and send them away. It was
enough that they were afflicted, and I did not like to add humiliation
to their other sorrows by showing them my disgust.

I rode on to Erimo-zaki, or Rat Cape. Thick fogs are prevalent during
the summer months along the whole of the south-east coast, of which
Erimo-zaki is the most southern cape. It is the terminating point of the
backbone of the main portion of Yezo, which extends from Cape Soya to
Cape Erimo from N.NW. to S.SE. A lighthouse has lately been erected on
the cliffs by the Japanese Maritime Department, and a steam fog-horn has
also been provided for the greater safety of navigation, as a reef of
rocks and a stretch of shallow water extend out in the sea for about two
and a half miles from the coast.

The foghorn, I was informed, was only blown when the lighthouse-keeper
suspected some ship was likely to make for the rocks! A likely thing,

"But how are you to know, especially when there is a thick fog on?" I

"So few ships pass near here," was the reply; "and it would not be much
use keeping steam up all the time to blow the horn, considering that we
have fog during nearly four months in the year."

"Then," I could not help remarking, "I expect you only light the
lighthouse when there is going to be a wreck?"

"Oh, no; we show the light every night."

This was just like the Japanese! Owing to the imperfectness of
charts--none delineating correctly that part of the coast--the strong
currents, the thick fogs, and the dangerous reefs, there could not be a
more perilous coast for navigation than that which terminates in Cape
Erimo. The ships which go from Shanghai, or some of the ports in the
Petchili Gulf in China, to North American ports, often steer this course
through the Tsugaru Strait and pass directly south of Cape Erimo. Thus
the _Mary Tatham_ (an English screw-steamer), while on her journey from
Shanghai to Oregon, was lost in 1882, with nearly all lives on board,
about two miles from this cape.

At the foot of the Erimo cliffs is a small fishing village called Okos.
The sea is shallow at this place, and there are many low-lying reefs
which afford abundance of kelp and seaweeds.

A short time before I arrived at Okos a man had gone out in his boat to
save some nets in which a large fish had got entangled. His boat
capsized, and he was drowned. His wife was in a dreadful state of mind,
not for the loss of her better half, but for the more irreparable loss
of the nets.

The distance between Horoizumi and Cape Erimo is seven and a half miles,
and the track is exceedingly rough in many places. Nearly half-way
between the last-mentioned village and the cape are the three high
pillars called _Utarop_, which are represented in the illustration at
the head of the chapter.

As it was impossible to take my ponies along the few miles between Cape
Erimo and Shoya, following the precipitous coast, I retraced my steps to
Horoizumi, meaning to attempt the mountain pass the next morning.

[Illustration: ERIMO CAPE.]



From Cape Erimo to the Tokachi River

The mountain pass between Horoizumi and Shoya is supposed to be very
dangerous on account of bears. I rode the ten miles quietly, but failed
to meet or see any. The way through thick woods is exceedingly pretty.
After traversing a small valley with a dense growth of scrub-bamboo, it
climbs a small hill, from the top of which a lovely view of Cape Erimo
lies like a picture before one's eyes. There are only thirty houses at
Shoya, and the place could not be better described than by the words "a
miserable hole." The rough weather, as well as several landslips, had
some time before my arrival broken all communication between Shoya and
the next village east of it. There is a rough mountain trail as far as
Saruru, but my ponies could not possibly get through the scrub-wood and
heavy climbing, and none of the natives could be induced to carry my
luggage. They all positively refused to follow me on account of the
multitude of bears which they said were on the mountains.

"If the sea goes down," said an old fisherman, "you may be able to get
through early to-morrow morning at low tide; and, if you are careful,
you will not be washed away by the waves." The cliffs near Shoya are
remarkable for their beauty. They are mostly older eruptive rocks which
nature has carved into hundreds of rugged and fantastic forms. About a
mile from the village is a huge natural archway, and from this point
begin the precipitous cliffs, pillars, and rocks which make the journey
so difficult.

At Shoya there are no pure Ainu, but some of the fishermen exhibit
traces of Ainu blood. My recollection of Shoya is decidedly not of a
pleasant character. I put up in the house of a fisherman, which also
answers the purpose of a tea-house for the few stranded native

"We are so poor," said the landlord when I asked for something to eat,
"and we have finished our provisions of rice. The other people in the
village are poorer than we are, and they also have none; and as for
fish, the sea has been so rough for several days that we have not been
able to catch any. We ate the last scrap of fish we had just before you
arrived! If you gave me a fortune, I could not give you anything to

When the landlord confessed this to me in the evening, I had already
been fourteen hours without food. The prospect of not getting any more
for at least the next eighteen or twenty hours was not an agreeable
look-out. I was very hungry, but, failing a meal, the next best thing
was to try and go to sleep. Even that did not prove successful, for
hunger keeps you awake, and in its first stages sharpens all your senses

The night I spent at Shoya is worthy of a description. From top to
bottom the corners of my room were filled with webs, which the spiders
had spun undisturbed in all directions across the room. Hundreds of
flies and horseflies rose buzzing when I entered the room, and I had to
engage in a very unequal war against them before I could settle down on
the hard planks. In one corner of the ceiling a big, long-legged spider,
too high for me to reach, was enjoying a good meal out of a huge
horsefly which he had captured in his net. I almost envied the
long-legged epicure. Nature will be ironical sometimes. When night came,
and I was still sleepless, the planks on which I was lying seemed harder
than any planks I had ever slept on before. I turned round one way,
then the other, then another, till all my bones were aching. Finally,
through exhaustion, I fell asleep, and even had a nightmare. In my
dreams, the ghosts of all the spiders I had killed, magnified to the
size of human beings, were dancing round me, while one fat old
fellow--fatter than any two others put together--was gravely sitting on
my chest watching the performance. His weight was such that I was nearly
suffocated. Sometimes he would seize me by the throat and almost choke
me, while the dancing spiders would choke themselves with laughing ...

"_Hayaku Danna!_"--"Quick, sir!" said a Japanese voice, waking me
suddenly; "get up, or else the tide will rise, and you will not be able
to get to Saruru."

I opened my eyes; the dream passed, and the monstrous spiders vanished;
but the pain caused by the emptiness of my stomach was still there, and
my throat was dry and aching.

It was before sunrise, and it was almost in complete darkness that I
left Shoya. I was weak and chilly. The monotonous sound of the waves
breaking over the shore added melancholy to _malaise_, and made me very
doleful and limp. Nevertheless, as I was in for it, I pushed my way with
my ponies along high cliffs and among rocks, and got on as best I could.

Where the sea had receded the stones were slippery, and my two animals
were no sooner on their feet than they were down again on their knees.
The hollow sound of their hoofs on the rocks was echoed from cliff to
cliff, and awakened the sleepy crows from their night's repose. I had to
walk most of the way, and urge on my ponies with howls, as well as stir
them up with the whip. Though the tide was low, the waves often washed
up to my waist. Daylight came, and I went along, following the high,
rugged cliffs, through tunnels occasionally, among rocks continually.
The scenery was really magnificent, seen as it was in the mysterious
morning light of the rising sun. My horses were done up when I got to
Saruru, and I exchanged them for fresh ones. By this time the tide had
risen, and it was not possible to proceed any further along the
sea-shore. I was glad of it, as I should thus be forced to try the
mountain track, which I was told was not so very rough from this point.
A half-caste offered to show me the way. It was a very stiff climb among
thick shrub, but it was comparatively smooth work after the experience
of my journey from Shoya. I came across many tracks and footprints of
bears on the mountain. In some places the marks were quite fresh and of
different sizes, varying in length from one foot to four inches. The
half-caste told me that black bears seldom attack men unless they are
hungry. They often attack horses.

"But if they hear that a man is near they will not dare to attack even
the horses," he said, and then began to sing at the top of his voice.
His singing, half Japanese, half Ainu, was so excruciating that it was
no wonder to me that it kept the bears away.

We crossed two rapid streams before reaching the summit of the mountain
range. The view from the summit was lovely. In the distance I could
distinguish two headlands, while an immense stretch of stormy sea and a
high mountain were in the foreground. I began to descend, and again I
got into the region of thick forest and scrub. I perceived a few houses
near the coast, and we made for them. It was the village of Moyoro,[12]
or Biru, as it is called by others.

    [12] Moyoro. _Moy_, a bay; _oro_, to be in.

Between Saruru and Biru, where the mountain track sometimes descends to
the shore, I found many Ainu and half-breeds, especially in the two
villages of Onnito[13] and Bitatannuki.[14] They are said to be very
bad, and what I saw of them, even at Biru, corroborated this assertion.

    [13] Onnito. _Onni_ or _Onne_, great, large; _to_, lake, swamp.

    [14] Bitatannuki. _Bita_, to undo; _tannu_, long; _ki_, rushes,

Biru is situated on a small bay, in the centre of which some gigantic
pillars stand out at a great height. The rough sea dashes against them,
and thousands of crows and sea-birds have chosen these rocks for their
abode. Biru is not a large village. There are only forty fishermen's
huts, most of which are on the high cliff surrounding the small bay; the
others are down on the beach. Kelp, seaweed, and sardines are as
abundant here as on the south-west coast, and maintain the staple
industries of the inhabitants. The sea-weed is of great length but small
width. Fourteen more miles over the cliffs brought me to Perohune.[15]
There were four large deltas to cross, that of the Toyoi-pets[16] being
the largest. The current in all these rivers is extremely swift.

    [15] _Pero_ or _Pira_, cliff; _Hune_, _Hun_, a particle indicating
         the existence of something at a place.

    [16] _Toy_, earth; _o_, (?) _i_, a place; _pets,_ river.

Perohune enjoys a big name, but there is only one house in the place. I
was, however, fortunate enough to get two good ponies there. The fog was
settling down thicker and thicker, and I could not see more than a yard
or two in front of me; but at times it lifted up for a few moments, and
showed me either the dangers I was nearing or the landscape I was
losing. I passed two lakes, the Tobuts,[17] otherwise called Oputs, and
the Yuto. Both are divided from the sea by a narrow sand-ridge. There is
but little of human interest along this deserted coast. There are no
houses and no people, but many small rivers, and now and then high
cliffs. My ponies, driven mad by the _abus_, the terrible horseflies of
Yezo, constantly threw themselves down and rolled on the sand.

    [17] _To_, lake, swamp; _buts_, mouth of a river. _O_, a meaningless
         prefix; _puts_, mouth of a river.

From Perohune to Yuto Lake the distance is about eleven miles, and from
Yuto to Otsu it is eleven more miles, on a very easy track. I saw some
large sea-birds and penguins, and I was struck by the great number of
drift logs which had been washed on shore by the sea. The last
thirty-eight miles of the coast was literally covered with this drift
wood. During the summer months the fog is always dense along this coast,
greatly owing to a cold current which comes from the Otkoshk Sea, passes
through the strait between Kunashiri and Etorofu, in the Kuriles, and
then turns south, following a great part of the south-east coast of
Yezo. Not far from Erimo Cape it meets a warm current from the China
Sea, which passes through the Tsugaru Strait, and which in all
probability is the Kuro-shiwo, or Japan current. This Japan current
parts from the main stream near the south-western extremity of Japan,
goes through the Corean Strait, and follows the north-west coast of
Nippon, passing then through the Tsugaru Strait. As will be seen later,
a branch of this current runs along the north-west coast of Yezo, and
through the La Perouse Strait.

[Illustration: IWA ROCKS AT BIRU.]



The Tokachi Region--Pure Ainu Types--Curious Mode of River Fishing.

The Tokachi River is one of the largest and most important in Yezo.
Knowing that the Ainu either settle on the sea-shore or up
river-courses, I formed an idea that some good types were to be found up
this river. On reaching Otsu, a small settlement at the mouth of the
Otsugawa--a branch of the large delta formed by the Tokachi--my idea was
confirmed by the report that there were no Japanese villages in the
interior. The expedition up the Tokachi River was by no means easy from
the accounts I heard at Otsu. None of the Japanese ever dare to
penetrate into the interior from Otsu, and, so far as foreigners are
concerned, the Tokachi River was utterly unexplored. There is a certain
charm in being the first man to do something, and I decided to attempt
the experiment. The Japanese of Otsu dissuaded me strongly from carrying
out my plan; for they said the grass and reeds were so high that I could
not possibly get through.

"It is a kind of a jungle, in fact," said they, "in which yellow and
black bears are plentiful. The rivers, which are numerous, are swollen
by the heavy rains that have fallen lately. The natives up the river are
unsociable and bad, and they will kill you. Then in the high grass
horse-flies, black-flies, and mosquitoes abound."

"If you attempt it alone," said the wise man of the party, "you will not
come back alive."

These reports were not encouraging, but, anyhow, I determined that,
Irish as it may sound, _dead_ or _alive_, if there were any Ainu up the
stream I would see them. Owing to the difficulty of taking even my usual
baggage, and not wishing to burden my ponies with more than was
necessary, I decided to carry with me only a paint-box, many wooden
sketching panels, my diary, and my revolver. I left all my other things
at Otsu to wait for my return.

"Should you not come back again, can I keep all your belongings as my
property?" kindly enquired the landlord of the tea-house, when I bade
good-bye to him and to all the villagers who had collected round early
in the morning to see me start.

I took two ponies, as usual. I left Otsu at dawn, and followed as well
as I could the winding course of the river. Not far from Otsu I came to
the thick jungle of high reeds and tall grass of which I had already
heard. I made my way through the first obstructions; but I had not been
in the jungle more than a few minutes when I was simply devoured by
horse-flies, mosquitoes, and black-flies. My ponies were kicking,
bucking, and trying to bolt, as they also were literally covered with
horse-flies, sucking their blood and stinging them to madness. The reeds
and grass were about ten or twelve feet high, so that, being higher than
myself on my horse, I could not see where I was going. I kept along the
river bank as much as I could; but in many places it was difficult to
get through the ravines which one invariably finds along rivers, so I
kept a little way off on the west side, and had the noise of the running
river to guide me. For many wearisome hours I rode through this jungle,
the dividing reeds continually rubbing against my face, arms, and legs,
sometimes making pretty deep cuts with their razor-edged long leaves.
The huge _shirau_--the horse-flies--grew more and more tiresome as the
sun got warmer, and my head and hands were swollen and bleeding. The sun
was by this time high in the sky, but there were no signs of the jungle
coming to an end, no indications of huts anywhere near--no other noise
but the sound of the crashing reeds and the running water of the river.
My ponies were feeding well, as grass was plentiful; but I was faring
badly. What with the exertion of keeping the ponies in order, while the
densely-entangled reeds nearly dragged me off the saddle--what with the
plague of mosquitoes and horse-flies, added to the sense of weakness
caused by fatigue and hunger--it was really a terrible time for me--one
of the worst episodes in my life. Nevertheless, I persevered, and went
on and on, determined to reach my destination. I came upon two very
large swamps, which forced me to make a wide _détour_. The ponies were
very tired, and so was I. When darkness set in I halted, took the heavy
pack-saddles off the ponies, and tied the animals to them, so that they
could not bolt during the night; and wearied, disheartened, and
discouraged as I was, I began to think how stupid I had been to start on
such an expedition without carrying any provisions with me--without
having provided myself with even a tent or a covering of any kind.

Circumstances made me a philosopher. What is the use of worrying about
things that cannot be helped? After all, when you get accustomed to it,
starving is really not so bad as people think. One of my ponies was of a
sentimental disposition, and he seemed to understand my troubles. He
came close and rubbed himself against me, placing his head near mine. It
was touching, and in the solitude in which I was the sympathy of the
dumb beast was as precious as that of a human being. Had he been able to
speak, he might have been taken for a Christian, and a good one, too! He
had been fearfully stung by horse-flies, and my petting him seemed to
alleviate his pain. There is nothing like sympathy and a little personal
kindness if one wants to make friends with animals. The last few rays of
light were spent in putting together the notes which I had taken during
the day, and which enabled me to draw a sketch-map of the river. At
Horoizumi some days previously I was able to buy myself a compass from
a Japanese fisherman, and on this occasion it was extremely useful to

By the soft, or rather shrill, music of a full orchestra of mosquitoes I
fell asleep. It was poetic, but not comfortable. Strange noises woke me
several times during the night. My ponies also were very restless, and
repeatedly tried to get loose while I was lying down on the two saddles
to which they were fastened.

It was some time after sunrise when I woke up, and with stiff bones set
off again. A heavy dew had fallen during the night, and had made my
clothes very damp. The reeds and grass also were saturated with water,
and riding through them caused a continuous shower to fall over me,
giving me an uncomfortable and by no means efficient kind of shower

I rode in a westerly direction till about two or three in the afternoon,
when suddenly the jungle came to an end. Not only that, but a short
distance away I saw some Ainu huts. I soon reached them, dismounted, and
tied my ponies to a tree. I went to the first hut, and previous to going
in I called out: "Hem, hem, hem, hem!" which in the Ainu country is the
polite preliminary when a stranger wishes to enter a hut. The usual
practice of _knocking_ at the door is dispensed with, for Ainu doorways
have no doors.

"Hem, hem, hem, hem, hem!" called I again much louder, but I heard no
answer; so I lifted the mat and entered the hut. It was empty. No one
was there. I came out again, and went into the next hut, into another,
and yet another; but nobody was to be found. I supposed that they were
all out fishing. From the roof in each hut was hanging some dried and
half-dried salmon. I could not resist the temptation after nearly
thirty-four hours of involuntary fasting; and I stole--I mean
"conveyed," or helped myself to the largest fish. I was greedily eating
it--and how good it was!--when I thought I heard a groan inside the hut.
I listened, and I distinctly heard some one sniffing in a corner of the
dark dwelling. Had I been caught stealing? The crime I had committed
would be called felony at home, but in the Ainu country it has not
nearly so bad a name as that. However, felony or not, I dropped the
fish, or rather what remained of it, and made for the corner whence the
noise came. As I got closer I discerned a mass of white hair and two
claws, almost like thin human feet with long hooked nails. A few
fish-bones scattered on the ground and a lot of filth were massed
together in that corner; and the disgusting odours these exhaled were
beyond measure horrible.

"What the devil is that!" I said aloud in my own native tongue. I could
hear someone breathing heavily under that mass of white hair, but I
could not make out the shape of a human body. I touched the hair, I
pulled it, and with a groan, and movements similar to those of a snake
uncoiling itself, two thin bony arms suddenly stretched out and clasped
my hand. As my eyes were getting accustomed to the dim light I thought I
saw some almost worn-out tattoo marks on her arms. Yes, it was a woman
in that corner, though her limbs were merely skin and bone, and her long
hair and long nails gave her a ghastly appearance. Indeed, crouched as
she was, doubled up, with her head on her knees, and the long hair
falling over her face and shoulders, it was really difficult to make out
what she was.

I asked her to come out, but she was apparently deaf and dumb. I dragged
her out, and she made but little resistance; only she preferred crawling
on her hands and knees to walking upright on her feet. There is no
accounting for people's tastes, and I let her please herself in her
manner of locomotion. When she was fairly out in the light I shivered as
I looked at the miserable being before me. I lifted up her hair to see
the face. Her eyebrows were thick and shaggy, and were joined over the
nose. Her eyes were half closed, and dead-looking. The strong light
seemed to affect her, and with her hands she was feeling the ground,
probably in order to retrace her steps back to the dark spot. Nature
could not have inflicted more evils on that wretched creature. She was
nearly blind, deaf, and dumb; she apparently suffered from rheumatism,
which had doubled up her body and stiffened her bony arms and legs; and,
moreover, she showed many of the symptoms of leprosy. Altogether, she
was painful, horrible, disgusting, and humiliating to contemplate.

I went back to my ponies to fetch my paint-box. During my absence there
had collected round them half-a-dozen Ainu. They did not know what to
think of the appearance of the two animals, and the few articles
fastened to the pack-saddle were regarded with suspicion. When I
appeared on the scene their astonishment was even greater, and it
reached its climax when I saluted them in the Ainu fashion, and told
them that I was a friend of the Ainu. I unfastened my paint-box and went
back to the old woman. She was still where I had left her. All the Ainu
present followed me, and when I squatted down they did the same in a
semicircle round me. My wretched model attempted several times to crawl
inside the hut, but as I was sitting close to her, I prevented her from
doing so. There she sat in the most extraordinary position, with her
head resting on her left hand, and the stiff fingers of her right hand
pressed on the ground. One leg was bent up and the other was folded,
resting on the ground and on the foot of the first. She was sniffing the
wind, and making efforts to see with her half-blind eyes.


It is hardly necessary to say that I did not keep my model longer than
was strictly necessary, and when the sketch was finished I took her by
the arm, brought her back into the hut, and led her to her favourite
corner. There she crouched herself again, as I had found her; and there
I left her, to bear the miseries of her life, till death, the cure of
all woes, shall take away her soul, if not her body, from the filth she
had lived in. She was neither ill-treated nor taken care of by the
villagers or by her son, who lived in the same hut; but she was regarded
as a worthless object, and treated accordingly. A fish was occasionally
flung to her, as one would to a beast, and in such a condition this
human being had lived, or rather existed, apparently for several years.
Not a word was uttered by the villagers during the few minutes I took to
paint the sketch. I turned round to inspect my new friends. Others had
come up, and these men and women, hairy and partly naked, squatting down
amidst filth, and driven half mad by the horse-flies and black-flies,
looked just like a large family of restless monkeys. They were gentle
and kind--much more so than any of their more civilised brethren; and
one of them, a fine old man, came forward when I came out of the hut and
wished me to go and see a big yellow bear they had captured. I went, and
near the man's hut, in a rough square cage made of crossed branches of
trees, was Bruin grinding his teeth as we drew near. In a sing-song
monotone the man told me the story of the hunt, and how the bear had
been captured. Then we went from one hut to another all through the
village. Yamakubiro is the name given to the huts taken collectively,
but the man took good care to explain to me that one part of the village
(numbering only seven houses) was called Tchiota, and the other, a short
distance away, was named Yammakka. Tchiota in the Ainu language means
"dead-sand," and Yammakka is "land in behind."

Yammakka has ten huts. The hut in which I had to put up was more than
filthy, and I had a sort of presentiment that my landlord was a
scoundrel. He saw me giving a small silver Japanese coin to a girl I had
painted. From that moment I noticed his eyes were continually fixed on
my waistcoat pocket, out of which I had taken the coin. However, I did
not think much of that, as all Ainu are fond of beads, metals, or
anything that shines. When the evening came I tried to go to sleep on
the hard planks, as usual. There is undoubtedly more _board_ than
_lodging_ about Ainu accommodation. Myriads of Taikkis, the tiny but
troublesome and uninvited guests of all dirty dwellings, did me the
honour to sup off the few drops of blood which remained in my veins. I
owed it to a bottle of Keating's Powder that I was not carried away
bodily by them. I felt cold and feverish, and having no civilised
bed-clothes to cover me, I slept with my clothes on; and this the more
willingly, as I felt an instinctive mistrust of my host, and I thought
it was as well to be ready for any emergency.

A few salmon were hanging right over my nose. They hung low, but they
smelt high. I had been given a place in the south-west corner of the
hut, and my landlord retired to the north-east corner. Though this may
sound very far, my host was really not more than a few feet away from
me. He apparently thought that I had gone to sleep, for I heard him
creep to my side. I could not see him, being in absolute darkness, but
though he was evidently holding his breath, I could feel the warmth of
his face near mine. He was listening to hear if I were asleep. I kept
quiet, and pretended to snore. This gave him courage, and sliding his
hand gently along my arm, he came to a pocket in my coat. He began to
explore it--but the Ainu are an unfortunate people even when they try to
steal. He had got hold of a pocket with no bottom to it--a common
occurrence in my coats. The more he explored, the more he found there
was to explore. I am fond myself of explorations, and I have no
objection to a fellow-being, hairy or not hairy, "prospecting" my empty
pockets or my pockets which have no bottom to them. However, my host was
not satisfied with the first results of his researches, and with his
hand still through the torn lining of the coat-pocket proceeded to
investigate the contents of my waistcoat pockets. This was a different
matter altogether, and catching hold of him before he was able to
disentangle himself, I swung his arm away and hit him hard on the head
with my right fist.

"Wooi!" cried he in despair, and half stunned, as he scrambled away as
best he could to his north-east corner. By way of apology and excuse,
and with a trembling voice, the man from his corner said that he had
only come to sleep on my side of the hut, as the wind was blowing strong
where he had lain down, and that my side was warmer. A good excuse
indeed when you are caught _flagrante delicto_ pickpocketing!

The salmon which my host gave me last night for dinner and this morning
for breakfast was so rotten, that, hungry as I was, I could not eat it.
From Yammakka, in a westerly direction, the way begins with a gentle
incline; therefore there is a complete absence of the high and
troublesome reeds which I had found in the vast marshy plain I had
crossed on my way here from the coast. I intended pushing on to
Frishikobets, a larger village some miles off. The old scoundrel wanted
to accompany me part of the way, saying that there were two dangerous
rivers to cross, and he would show me where to wade them. I fancied that
they were as dangerous as they were imaginary, and I started off
declining his offer. I came across several Ainu huts on my way, passed
the village of Pensatsunai--six Ainu huts--on the Satsunai river, an
affluent of the Tokachi, and then arrived at Obishiro in the afternoon.
There are seven houses at Obishiro. I entered one of them, and to my
astonishment I found myself in front of an old man and a pretty woman,
whose appearance and manners were as refined as those of the better
classes in Japan. A younger man also came in. Their astonishment was as
great as mine, as they had not seen any civilised beings since they had
been there. Though the outside of their dwelling was not prepossessing,
the inside was so clean that I felt as if I had dropped into heaven.
After what I had gone through, this unexpected _rencontre_ brought me
back to life and a belief in the proprieties of a civilised existence,
almost forgotten by now!

These people had a romantic history. Watanabe Masaru--the younger
man--was a Japanese gentleman by birth and education, but he had no
fortune. Of an adventurous disposition, clever, sensitive, and tired of
the conventionalities of his fatherland, he decided eight or ten years
ago to emigrate to Hokkaido, and there lead the life of a colonist. The
woman he loved was as brave and constant as he. She sailed with him and
her father from Japan, and after a long and perilous journey in a junk
(sailing boat), they landed at the mouth of the Tokachi River. In Ainu
canoes they went up the river, and established themselves at Obishiro,
far from civilisation, nearly in the centre of Yezo. At first they had a
great deal of trouble with the natives, but now they are loved by all.
There, with two lovely children, they lead an ideal life, far from the
madding crowd and noise of the world, and freed from the vulgarity of

I rode on to Frishikobets village, situated on the Frishiko, "old
river," and in the midst of a beautiful plain. There are only
twenty-eight houses, and they are scattered about in the plain at a
distance of several hundred yards one from the other. Some of the huts
were hidden in the forest. A peculiarity of the Ainu of the Upper
Tokachi River is, that they frequently cover their dwellings and
storehouses with the bark of trees, instead of with reeds, as is the
custom among the Ainu of the Saru River and Volcano Bay.

I was told here again that Ainu women often suckle small bears at their
breasts so as to fatten them up for the festival; and one not
infrequently sees the women in Ainu households chewing food, and letting
the young cub take it from their lips.

These Ainu are much more interesting as types, and also much purer in
race, than either the Piratori or the Volcano Bay Ainu. A learned
missionary, who has not himself visited these people, writes as follows
regarding them:--"The Ainu of the Tokapchi district, in Yezo, are spoken
of as having been particularly addicted to this kind of warfare (night
raids against each other, in which the men were murdered, and the women
stolen and used as slaves or kept as concubines), and are even now held
in abhorrence by the people of some villages. They are said not only to
have murdered people, but also to have eaten some of them. They were,
therefore, cannibals, and I have heard them spoken of as 'eaters of
their own kind.'"[18]

    [18] Rev. John Batchelor, 'The Ainu of Japan,' chap. xx.

From my own personal experience--and I may add I am the only foreigner
who has seen these Tokachi, or as others call them, Tokapchi Ainu--I
came to a conclusion very different from this. I found that not only
were they not cannibals, but that, taken altogether, they were the most
peaceable, gentle, and kind Ainu I came across during my peregrinations
through the land of the hairy people. Indeed, I am sorry to say that it
is not savagery that makes the Ainu bad, but it is civilisation that
demoralises them. The only place in Yezo where I was actually
ill-treated by Ainu, as my readers will remember, is the village where
they were said to be "very civilised."

I have no wish to force my opinion on the public as the correct one. I
do but describe what I have actually seen in a district in which others
who have written on this subject have never set foot, and I leave it to
my readers to judge who has most claim to be heard.

The language of the Tokachi Ainu varies considerably from the language
spoken in more civilised districts, and none of the natives up the river
could speak Japanese when I was there.


Unfortunately, the Ainu of this region are not very numerous, and
constant intermarriage among near relations has proved detrimental to
the race. However, a glance at them is quite sufficient to show the
difference between them and Ainu of other tribes. They are not so
picturesquely arrayed as their more western brothers, and the large
Japanese brass and silver earrings, as well as the glass bead necklaces
which make such a brave show yonder, are replaced here by rough bone or
wooden ornaments. Men and women in summer are almost entirely naked, and
all children are clad in their own bare skins only. Their winter
garments are made of bear and deer skins. Some peculiar snow-sandals,
made of the bark of a kind of ash-tree called _shina_, are sometimes
worn over the winter salmon-skin boots or moccasins. The Ainu make their
ropes out of the bark of this _shina_, though often young vine stems are
used for the same purpose. River fishing-nets are generally made of
young vines twisted. They are of the roughest description, and are only
fit for rivers where fish is abundant, as in the Yezo watercourses. The
Ainu at Frishikobets took very kindly to sitting for their portraits,
and one after the other--all the best types--were immortalised either in
oils or in pencil. Strange to say, I came across another old woman, a
lunatic, very similar to the one I saw at Yammakka. Her face was that of
a witch, her eyebrows joining downwards somewhat in the shape of an
owl's beak. Her long pale hands and face, and the long wild hair
covering half her face, gave her a striking appearance. She had,
however, not yet reached the stage of imbecility which her Yammakka
sister had attained. Lunacy is very common among the Ainu, and the
unfortunate creature thus afflicted seems to lose not only the respect,
but also the pity, as well as care, of all the others, and is treated by
them as a worthless animal.

After crossing the Frishikobets River, some distance off, on the east
side of the Tokachi River, are the villages of Upar-penai,[19]
twenty-one Ainu huts, Memuro-puto,[20] sixteen huts, and Ottoinnai,[21]
fourteen huts. Then comes Kinney, with seven houses; and finally
Nitumap,[22] the last village on the Tokachi River, has as many as
thirty-six houses.

    [19] _U_, place; _par_, mouth; _pe_, undrinkable water; _nai_,
         stream; _Upar-penai_, a place at the mouth of a stream of
         undrinkable water.

    [20] _Me_, in front; _mu_, sheltered spot in a river; _ro_, track;
         _puto_, mouth of river; _Memuro-puto_, track in front of a
         sheltered spot at the mouth of a river.

    [21] _Otto_, into; _i_, a place; _nai_, stream; _Ottoinnai_, a place
         in a stream.

    [22] _Nitumap_, open trunk of a tree.

The huts of the Tokachi region are much smaller than those on the Saru
River, and near many of them is a cage, in which a big yellow or black
bear is confined. The natives told me that yellow and black bears were
numerous in the neighbourhood. Deer (the _yuk_, male deer, and
_mowambe_, female), were formerly plentiful, but now are very scarce. A
few years ago a pestilence killed great numbers of them, and since then
they have dwindled away.

Not many miles from Frishikobets a huge cliff rises perpendicularly
along the Shikarubets River. A landslip seems to have taken place, which
leaves one side of the cliff perfectly bare and rugged, showing the
strata composing the soil. It is of a light yellowish colour, and it is
called by the Ainu the _Shikarubets Otchirsh_, which translated into
English means "the white cliff on the bend of the river." This cliff
stands very high, and can be seen from a great distance, especially in a
north-east, east, or southerly direction. In winter, when the rushes and
reeds are not so high in the south-eastern portion of the plain, the
white cliff can be distinguished from the whole of the Tokachi valley.
The Ainu themselves use the Shikarubets Otchirsh as a landmark when out
hunting bears. Owing to its light colour it is visible even at night. I
was anxious to ascend it, as I was sure no European foot had ever
trodden on it before. Accompanied by Watanabe Masaru, I started out on
horseback and crossed the Frishikobets village and river. Here we left
our horses under the care of an Ainu till our return. We had to cross
the Tokachi in an Ainu "dug-out," and then, proceeding for several miles
in a northerly direction, we arrived at the foot of the mountain. It
would have been impossible to climb it on the east side, as it is quite
perpendicular; but we were fortunate in getting an Ainu called Unacharo,
who said he knew a point from which we could ascend, and that he would
show us the way. He had been hunting bears on that mountain, and he knew
its slopes well; but as to the way which he was to show us, we had to
make it for ourselves. With our large knives we were forced to break,
cut, and tear the entangled branches of trees and shrubs before we could
get on. We actually had to cut our way through the dense scrubwood until
we reached the summit. The ascent was rather dangerous in some places,
and extremely rough when going through the brushwood. We had to keep as
much as possible near the edge of the cliff, for though it involved more
danger if we slipped or stumbled, the entangled shrubs were not so thick
on the edge as farther inland. Finally, after several hours' hard work,
we reached the top, and were well repaid for our fatigues. The whole of
the Tokachi valley was stretched before us as far as the sea, and almost
the whole course of the winding river, with all its numerous affluents,
could be distinguished like so many shining silver ribbons on the green
background formed by the tall grass and reeds. As a farming region the
Tokachi valley and high plains are certainly the most fertile in
Hokkaido. All the requisites for successful agriculture can be found
there. The absence of the mountain masses of volcanic rocks, so common
all over Hokkaido, the richness of the soil, the quantity of water for
irrigation or for motive power, besides the comparative facility of
making roads on such flat ground, are qualities that good farmers do not
generally despise. It is therefore a great pity to see all that Tokachi
valley practically deserted and so much good land wasted. Hemp, wheat,
corn, potatoes, beans, and all kinds of vegetables and cereals, could be
grown with advantage, and the produce carried down the river to the sea
without much difficulty and at little expense. At Yamakubiro the land
begins to rise in a gentle slope, but only to form a plateau, of which
the top is another large plain reaching to the foot of the Oputateishike
mountain mass. The Otopke Mountain is the highest peak, and resembles in
shape the Fujiama of Japan. On the north-east side of this mountain are
the hot springs of Ni-piri-bets.[23] A kind of wood is said by the Ainu
to be found near these hot springs which is good for curing wounds,
cuts, rheumatism, and other ailments. These hot springs are not of much
importance, and it is but seldom that even the Ainu themselves visit
them. In going to and returning from these springs the Shikarubets
Otchirsh is never lost sight of by the Ainu, and by the aid of this
landmark they return safely to their homes.

    [23] _Ni_, wood; _piri_, wound; _bets_, river.

All the Oputateishike mountain mass is volcanic, and forms the backbone
of the island of Yezo. From the Shikarubets Otchirsh I was able to draw
a bird's-eye view of the course of the Tokachi River and its affluents,
which afterwards helped me much in delineating a sketch-map of the
Tokachi region, with its complicated watercourses. The two high
mountains of Satsumai and Ghifzan could also be plainly seen from there.
Coming down was much easier than going up, and when we had again reached
the bottom of the mountain we turned northward until we came to the
Shorui-washi River, an affluent of the Tokachi. Previous to this, while
following the course of the Otsu River, I saw a strange sight. When on
the summit of the Shikarubets Otchirsh I had seen two Ainu "dug-outs"
pass up the river, and the Ainu who accompanied us said we should soon
see them coming back again. We were not far from the river banks when
shouts and cries of excitement reached my ears. I hurried on to the
water-side and saw the two "dug-outs" swiftly coming down with the
strong current, parallel with each other at a distance of about seven
feet apart. There were three people in each "dug-out," viz., a woman
with a paddle steering at the prow; another woman crouched up at the
stern, and a man in the middle. A coarse net made of young vines, and
about five feet square, was fastened to two poles seven or eight feet
long. The man who stood in the centre of each canoe held one of the
poles, to the upper end of which the net was attached, and attentively
watched the water.

"They are catching salmon--look!" said Unacharo to me; "the salmon are
coming up the stream from the sea." The small net was plunged into the
water between the two canoes, and nearly each time a large salmon was
scooped out and flung into one or other of the "dug-outs," where the
woman sitting at the stern crushed its head with a large stone. If a
fish escaped, yells of indignation, especially from the women folk,
broke out from the boats, to be echoed by the high white cliff. Both men
and women were naked, and the dexterity and speed with which they
paddled their canoes down the stream, working the coarse net at the same
time, seldom missing a fish, was simply marvellous. On the other hand,
it must be remembered that fish were so plentiful in the river, that it
was really easier to catch than to miss. In wading the Shikarubets
(river) I could see large salmon passing me by the dozen, and I felt
quite uncomfortable when some large fish either rubbed itself against or
passed between my legs. We got across the Shorui-washi--literally "very
burning a place to stand"--and having then gone far enough from the
Shikarubets Otchirsh to see the whole of it, I managed to take a good
sketch of it. Near this river are some hot springs, called Nishibets,
from which the river has taken its peculiar name. The easiest way to the
Otopke Mountain is to follow the valley between the Shikarubets and the
Otopke River, and then climb the mountain on the north-east side. The
latter part of the journey is extremely rough and difficult. Watanabe
and I returned to Obishiro. It is not often that one anywhere meets with
such simple, straightforward people as these Watanabes. They have lived
alone at Obishiro for eight years among savages, but never in my life
have I met with more civilised, kind, thoughtful, gentle beings than
Watanabe and his wife. As civilisation makes savages bad, I dare say
savage life makes civilised people good! I go away carrying with me a
deep affection for these gentle strangers, whose kindness to me has made
them my friends.

The day came for me to return to the coast. My ponies, probably
frightened by bears, broke loose during the night, and one of them ran
away; and I was rather in a difficulty as to how I should get back
whence I had come. Watanabe, adding kindness to kindness, allowed me to
have one of his ponies, and after repeated good-byes I started on my
journey back to the coast. About four miles east of Yammakka the Tokachi
River receives a large affluent, the Toshibets, or "river of high
swamps." The Tunnui Puto is the largest of these swamps, about four
miles north of the mouth of the Toshibets. _Tunnui_ means a kind of
tree, probably the _Quercus dentata_; _puto_ or _put_ means the mouth of
a river. The course of the Toshibets River is almost from due north to
south from its source, then for about six or seven miles from north-west
to south-east, and, sharply turning again from north to south, continues
in this direction winding continually for eighteen or twenty miles, till
it throws itself with a large body of water in the Tokachi River. On the
southern side of the latter part of the watercourse are found the Ainu
villages of Pombets, twenty-two huts; Purokenashpa,[24] three huts;
Kenashpa,[25] twelve huts; and Beppo,[26] eleven huts. The
characteristics of the natives of these villages and their habitations
are similar to those already described at Frishikobets. The journey down
was much the same as that coming up. Tobuts, on the north side of the
Tokachi, is the largest Ainu village in the district, and has as many as
sixty huts. The inhabitants are possessed of a somewhat fiery temper in
this particular village, and the day previous to my going through two
men were killed in a row. I felt awfully annoyed at being just one day
too late to see it, as then I might have described how the Ainu die.
However, I reached the other side of the Tokachi again. A way through
the same tall rushes and reeds had to be forced, and the same army of
mosquitoes and horse-flies had to be met and endured. It was my
intention to push on and reach the coast as soon as possible. At
Yammakka the natives had seen my runaway pony galloping at full speed
towards the coast, but no one had caught it. Probably no one had tried.

    [24] _Puro_, great; _ke_, I; _nashpa_, deafening noise.

    [25] _Ke_, I; _nashpa_, deafening noise.

    [26] _Beppo_ or _pet put_, at the mouth of a river.

My ponies went well. I could plainly see where I had already come
through the jungle, by the long trail of crushed and broken reeds I had
left behind me. Everything was calm, but for the monotonous sound of
crashing leaves produced by my forcing my way through the reeds.
Suddenly my ponies stopped, shied, and began to back. They sniffed the
ground, then the air. Their ears were straight up, their eyes were
restless, and their nostrils widely distended. They were certainly under
some great excitement, and showed unmistakable signs of terror. "What
could be the cause of it?" I asked myself, but all the same gave the
ponies a sound thrashing to make them go. It was useless--they would not
stir. The second pony came by the side of mine, and they both put their
heads together, in their own way consulting and concerting. They were
utterly demoralised, and were kicking awfully. It was getting dark, and
this riotous conduct on the part of my ponies was annoying.
Unexpectedly, and with a tremendous growl, a huge black bear sprang
towards us, and tried to seize the baggage pony. However, he and the
beast I was riding bolted, and ran a desperate race for life; and though
Bruin followed us clumsily for some time, we soon were far ahead, and
lost sight of him. It was more than I could do to stop the frightened
brutes; but finally, after a reckless steeplechase of many miles, after
jumping over brooks and splashing across torrents, flying over the
ground and through the jungle, without omitting to anathematise a
horsefly that had settled on the back of my neck, and was amusing itself
by boring holes in different parts of it to find a suitable spot for
feeding, finally we came to a halt. It was about time. During the
violent ride the reeds had cut my face and neck and hands, and I was
bleeding all over. I went on and on, and, as my ponies did not seem to
be very tired, I tried to reach the coast that night. It grew dark, but
the night was fine, and I let the noise of the running river guide me.
Each minute seemed an hour, each hour an age. I rode and rode, and still
rode, till I was nearly exhausted; and still I was surrounded by the
tall reeds and rushes. "Thank God!" I heartily exclaimed, when finally,
at a small hour of the morning, I found myself in open ground again, and
the wind brought in waves the salt smell of the sea.

An hour or so afterwards two tired ponies were easily pulled up at the
tea-house at Otsu, the landlord was roused, and a wearied and
half-starved traveller was let in.




From the Tokachi River to the Kutcharo River.

I decided to stop a day at Otsu, so as to recover from the fatigue of my
late travels and adventures, and I chose my quarters in the _yadoya_ of
a Japanese called Inomata Yoshitaro. I was told that he was an
ex-convict. Be that as it may, he had now turned into a fisherman and
innkeeper. Like all Japanese, he was an inexhaustible talker, and his
politeness was so great that it became a bore.

It was about three in the morning when I reached Otsu. I had taken off
my boots on entering his house--for it is an insult to enter Japanese
houses with one's boots on--and I had seated myself on the soft mat in
order to rest my aching limbs, when Yoshitaro made me get up to place a
small square cushion under me, on which he said I should be more
comfortable. I had not been on it one minute before Yoshitaro, wanting
to increase my comforts, made me rise again to exchange the first
cushion covered with cotton for one covered with silk--a detail to which
a man is not likely to pay much attention when tired to death, and only
anxious to be left alone. It followed as a matter of course that before
I was allowed to go to sleep I had to sip several cups of tea, which
Yoshitaro's wife had hurriedly made, and I had to relate the result of
my expedition to the sleepy fishermen who had crept out of their
_foutangs_ at the news of my arrival. In spite of all this, when I had
got rid of my audience I had a good night's rest; but when I woke up the
next day at noon I found myself surrounded by a crowd of fishermen of
Otsu, who had invaded the _yadoya_ to have a peep at the young
foreigner, while in the back yard I recognised the voices of Yoshitaro
and his wife, who evidently were occupied in the exciting chase of a

A few minutes later Yoshitaro triumphantly entered the room with a large
dish, on which the same fowl, uncooked, and cut into a thousand little
bits, was served to me, together with pieces of raw salmon, _daikon_ (a
vegetable), and boiled rice. This he called a European dinner! I did my
best to roast the chicken bits on the _hibachi_ (the brazier); but I was
never well up in the culinary art, and, as my landlord remarked, he had
brought up the meat for me to eat, not to "burn."

Fowls are very scarce indeed in Hokkaido, and the few found have been
imported; therefore the landlord did not fail to explain, in a
roundabout manner, under what great obligation I was to him for killing
such a precious bird.

I said that I had not asked him to do this, and with his perfect
Japanese politeness, bowing gracefully down to the ground, he said:

"Sayo de gozarimas" ("Yes, your honourable sir"). "But," he added, "the
bird was so old that if I had not killed it I fear it would have died by
itself ere long." Such a sacrifice undoubtedly deserved a reward, and he
assured me that we should be "quite even" if I, being an artist, would
condescend to paint twelve portraits of him. I had no little trouble to
make him understand that he was mistaking me for a photographic camera,
but I offered to paint him a small sketch the next morning if he would
leave me alone all that day.

Punctually at sunrise he entered my room. He had his best clothes on,
and his anxiety to be painted was such that he had not been able to
sleep all night. I painted the sketch, and Yoshitaro and his male and
female friends joined in exclamations of admiration at the good result
of the _abura è_ (oil painting). He professed to be very grateful, and
carefully packed the picture in a box, which he carried into another

I took advantage of his absence to pack up my traps, as I wished to
leave for Shaubets that same morning. In a short time Yoshitaro came
back to my room, but a different man. He was rude, and tried to bully
me. He presented a bill for the sum of sixteen _yen_, equivalent to £3
in English money, which I considered exorbitant for two nights' rest, a
few bowls of rice, and the "European dinner." The highest charge made by
the very best tea-houses in Hokkaido never exceeds one yen--two
shillings and tenpence a day--including all meals. I quietly told the
landlord that he was a thief, and that I would punish him by taking the
picture away from him; but he swore that he would not surrender it, and
that he would fight for it if necessary.

I seldom refuse a challenge when I know that I am going to get the best
of it, and as it so happened that my arms were a great deal longer than
those of Yoshitaro, I caught him by the throat and shook him so
violently that he was nearly strangled. His friends came to his rescue,
and when I dropped him he fell heavily on the mats, and had to be
carried away. Some minutes elapsed, and while I was hastily taking my
heavier luggage out of the house I heard Yoshitaro in the next room call
out to his wife to bring him a sword, as he wanted to kill the "_ijinsan
bakka_"--"the fool of a foreigner." I entered his room. Yoshitaro, pale
with rage, was sitting by his _hibachi_, and round him were eight or ten
of his men. They were apparently holding a congress on what to do, and
each one of them, as is usual on all occasions in Japan, had pulled out
his little pipe, and was continually refilling it with tobacco as they
all discussed the matter on hand. I had my boots on this time, as I
wished to show the scorn I had for him, his friends, and his house. In
my coat pocket--the only sound one--I had my revolver, but it was not

"Yoshitaro," I said, "deliver the picture at once."

"I will not," said he.

"Good!" said his friends in a chorus.

"Yoshitaro," I said again, producing the revolver and pointing it at
him, "if I have not the picture before I count twenty you will be a dead

I never in my life saw a crowd of bullies so scared. Covering their
faces with their hands, Yoshitaro's friends bolted in all directions,
some jumping out of the semi-European window, some dashing through the
violently-opened paper _shojis_ (sliding doors), leaving eight or ten
pipes and as many tobacco pouches scattered on the mats. The landlord, a
moment ago so brave, had not strength to get up, so great was his
terror. Pale as death, and with a trembling voice, he called imploringly
to his wife, servants, and friends to come and deliver up the picture.

I had counted up to number fourteen, and no one had put in an
appearance. Then I incidentally mentioned to Yoshitaro that time was
nearly up, and enquired if he preferred to be shot through the head or
the heart, at the same time cocking my revolver. Yoshitaro shuddered.

At number sixteen a little girl, the only brave one of the lot, was sent
to his help.

"Dutchera Danna?" ("Where is it, sir?") she asked him, quite perplexed.

"Hatchera, hayaku, hayaku nesan!" ("It is there; quick, quick, girl!")
pointing to a closet in which a pile of _foutangs_ (small mattresses)
were kept rolled during the day.

Yoshitaro had hidden the sketch so well in the closet that the little
_nesan_[27] could not find it, and when I called out number nineteen the
poor girl, discomfited, cried out, "Mi-imasen" ("I do not see it!")

    [27] _Nesan_, a corruption of _annesan_.

Yoshitaro was more dead than alive; his lips were white, and he tried to
articulate some words, but could not. His eyes, fixed on the closet,
were glazed and set. His body was beginning to collapse, and every
moment I thought that he would faint.

In the meantime the _nesan_ hurriedly pulled out all the _foutangs_ and
unrolled them, and the box with the sketch fell out just as I was about
to call out number twenty. She gave me the box and sketch, and I told
Yoshitaro that he must now come out with me, and, putting my revolver in
my pocket, I pulled the man to the entrance door.

Several villagers had collected at a respectful distance on the road,
waiting for the report of the revolver. Yoshitaro's wife was the
farthest of all.

I signed to them to come nearer, and seeing that the revolver was no
longer in my hands, they came, though very reluctantly. Yoshitaro was
beginning to breathe again; and when a sufficient crowd had collected, I
compelled him to accuse himself before them all of being a thief, and to
confess that he was glad to have been punished. Also I made him promise
that he would not play such tricks again on any other traveller.

The Japanese are fond of a good joke, even when it is played off on one
of themselves; and when I had seen all my baggage safe on my
pack-saddles, I gave Yoshitaro the sixteen dollars he had asked me: "Two
dollars," I said, "in settlement of my bill, and fourteen to go to your
doctor for restoring you to good health after the fright you have had

To show how shabby Yoshitaro's nature was, it is enough to state that
out of the sum received his munificence went to the extent of five _sen_
(2½_d._) as a present to the girl who had come to save his life!

When my ponies were ready, I showed Yoshitaro and his knavish friends
how I had sold them. I brought out my revolver again, and they all saw
that not a single cartridge was in any of its chambers. This done, I
bade them good-bye, and left them to reflect that it is not always the
quietest persons who can be imposed on with most impunity, but that
sometimes such quiet persons get the best of it, even against ten
bullies or more banded together. I have no doubt that a good many of my
readers will think me cruel for carrying a joke so far; but, on the
other hand, if placed in similar circumstances, when no redress from
without is to be obtained, and one must defend oneself by main force,
very few would treat such a serious imposition and offence as a joke.

In going through the village more than one fisherman came to tell me
that I had done right in dealing severely with Yoshitaro, as he was
known to be a scoundrel and a thief, and they all detested him.

There was little of interest between Otsu and Shaubets, with the
exception of the beautiful delta formed in the low alluvial valley by
the Otsu River and the Tokachi River, two large estuaries nearly two
miles apart, by which the Tokachi River enters the sea. The Tokachi is a
river of large volume and considerable length, and even when divided,
the body of water carried by both outlets is so great as to make it
necessary to cross in boats, fording on foot being quite impossible.

The Urahoro River was successfully crossed, but for the twenty miles on
to Shahubets the track was flat and sandy, lying mostly under high clay
banks, some of which form picturesque headlands. The country is not
mountainous in the proximity of the coast, but it is of a moderate
elevation all through, and wooded with deciduous trees. The formation of
the south-east coast from Cape Erimo to Cape Noshafu is in many ways
unlike that of the south-west coast. The south-western part is more
mountainous, and is further characterised by the absence of extensive
plains. The coast-line is indented, and there is a striking want of
broad beaches. Precipitous rocks are also frequent along the south-west
coast, and thick deposits of pumice--as we have seen--are lying over
quaternary rocks, filling up the declivities of mountain lands and river

In the western part the tertiaries are more tufaceous than on the
south-east coast, and they are distinguished mainly by the presence of
shales and andesite breccia. The south-eastern part is characterized by
the almost entire absence of volcanic rocks and older eruptive rocks.
After leaving the range of mountains forming the _Sparti acque_, east
and west of Cape Erimo, high land is met all the way along the
south-east coast. Nevertheless, pumice is found in the basin of the
Tokachi River, and also in that of the Kushiro River, but it does not
form the surface soil, covering large areas of ground, as in many places
on the south-western portion of the coast.

The different aspect in the tertiaries of the south-east and south-west
coast may be accounted for by the presence of breccia and conglomerate,
shales and sandstones, on the western part, while on the eastern coast
beds of lignite, coal of inferior quality, and diatom earth form the
tertiary strata. If it were not for the total want of harbours, or even
moderately sheltered anchorages for ships, this south-west portion of
Yezo, with its agricultural resources, its milder climate, and the
facilities that it offers for the construction of roads and railways,
ought to support a large population. As things stand now, there are no
colonists inland, and the coast is deserted and desolate-looking. As I
have mentioned before, the only drawbacks are the thick fogs prevailing
during the summer months along the south-east coast, and I believe that
this in some measure accounts for the Japanese not wishing to settle in
a part of the country so depressing to their spirits and so trying to
their nerves. I have often noticed how easily affected the Mikado's
subjects are by atmospheric and geographical conditions, and how, before
settling to do business, they make a point of finding some pleasant spot
where to cast anchor, thinking more of the amenities of physical
existence than of the facilities for successful trade. I did not see a
single house for twenty miles until I reached Shaubets, a village of
eleven Ainu huts and one Japanese house. Thousands of sea-gulls and
penguins lined the sandy shore, and I saw several large black
sea-eagles. A pretty waterfall, gently descending from the high grey
cliff, was decidedly ornamental to the scenery and useful to the
wayfarer, as it afforded my ponies and myself a good drink of
deliciously fresh water. Far off in the distance I could distinguish a
long tongue of land. At Shaubets I was told that it was the peninsula on
which _Kossuri_, or _Kushiro_, as the Japanese call it, is situated. I
left Shaubets early in the morning, with the intention of pushing on to
Kushiro, thirty-one miles distant. At Shiranuka, only ten miles from
Shaubets, I changed my ponies. Shiranuka is an Ainu village, the
inhabitants of which employ themselves in collecting and drying seaweed.
There are also seven or eight Japanese shanties besides the Ainu huts.
At the mouth of the Tcharo-bets, near the latter village, coal and
lignite of inferior quality are found; but this coalfield was not worked
at the time I passed through Shiranuka. The remaining twenty-one miles
were monotonous and uninteresting. The long _Kossuri_ peninsula was
before me, increasing in size as I drew nearer; and after having gone
through the two small villages of To'tori and Akan-gawa, in the
neighbourhood of Kossuri, I crossed the Kutcharo River, on a
nicely-built wooden bridge, and found myself at Kushiro, an important
Japanese settlement on the south-east coast. From its favourable
situation Kushiro is likely to become one of the chief towns in Yezo,
though unfortunately it does not possess a good harbour, and is much
exposed to westerly winds. The largest number of the houses are situated
on a slight elevation above the reef-harbour, immediately south of the
river mouth. In the proximity of Kushiro, and just beyond the range of
hills which stretches for about three miles from the entrance of the
harbour in a northerly, and for about two miles in an easterly
direction, is a lagoon, called by the Ainu "Harutori." This lagoon is
nearly two miles long, and certainly not more than a quarter of a mile
wide. It is divided from the sea by a very narrow strip of sand, through
which the water of the lagoon finds its outlet. On the east side of the
Harutori coal has been discovered, and it seems to be of fairly good
quality; and three miles further, quite close to the sea-coast, coal was
dug out some years ago, but the quality was so inferior that the works
had to be abandoned.

There is a considerable area of good land in the neighbourhood of
Kushiro, and here again it is to be regretted that Japanese farmers do
not emigrate to work it. Yezo has a very small population for its size,
and I was surprised that emigration from the mainland was not carried
out on a larger scale. Yezo is a rich country in many ways. Why do not
all the troublesome students, the fiery _soshi_ of Japan, abandon
politics and futile rows and go and do men's work in that northern
region of the empire? They would profit by it, and so would their
country. An immense loss occurs every year simply because no one is
there to take the profit; and it is a great pity, and almost a shame, to
see so much waste and neglect in a region which, after all, is not
difficult of access from the main island of Nippon. To the mineral
products of the Kushiro district must be added the exports of fish
(salmon and herrings), fish manure, and seaweed, which could be greatly
increased if more practical processes were used.

The town of Kushiro itself is not picturesque. There are, I dare say, as
many as five hundred houses, some built in Japanese, some in
semi-foreign style. The streets are very wide, and along the main street
rails have been laid to carry coal trucks from the Harutori mine down to
the shipping point. Thus the town has a civilised appearance, which was
artistically ugly enough, but refreshing to my eyes after my experiences
along the south-west and south-east coasts. There are Ainu huts along
the river banks, on the high lands, and on the strip of sand between
Lake Harutori and the sea. Unfortunately, most of the Ainu here, being
in the employ of the Japanese, have adopted Japanese clothes, customs,
manners, and language. Nearly all the younger folks are half-castes. A
select few have even gone so far as to forget their strongest national
characteristic of dirt; and, to my great amazement, one day I saw an
Ainu half-caste actually taking a hot bath. It may amuse the reader to
learn of what this Japanese bathing accommodation generally consists. It
is one of the features in nearly all fishing stations in Yezo, and it is
worth describing.

When the day's work is over, one or more of the iron fish-kettles or
caldrons used for extracting the oil from herrings are filled with
water. These caldrons rest each on a cylindrical base of stones and
clay, thus allowing a big fire of wood to be lighted under them. When
the water has reached a high temperature, the bather either provides
himself with an old pair of straw sandals (_waraji_), and steps in, or,
placing a small board on the water, places his foot on it, and forces it
down to the bottom of the caldron by his own weight. He thus avoids
scalding his feet, which otherwise he would do severely. I have often
seen two or three men (Japanese) placidly sitting up to their necks in
the steaming water of the same caldron, with a huge fire burning under
it; and several times I have been _warmly_ invited by the bathers to
join them, which _very warm_ invitation, however, I invariably _coolly_
considered and declined with thanks.

As regards the Ainu, they are not fond of bathing or washing, and they
share the Chinese idea that it is only dirty people who need continual
washing. They do not regard themselves as dirty, and therefore dispense
with such an "uncleanly habit."

"You white people must be very dirty," once said an Ainu to me, as I was
taking a plunge into a limpid river, "as you tell me that you bathe in
the river every day."

"And what about yourself?" I asked him.

"Oh, Nishpa," he replied with an air of contempt, "I am very clean, and
have never needed washing!"

If Kushiro is not interesting to an artist, it is decidedly so from an
archæological point of view. Numerous pits, forts, and camps, flint
implements, and fragments of pottery, are found in the immediate
neighbourhood of the town, both on the range of hills and along the west
shore of Lake Harutori. The pits are found in such numbers as to lead
one to believe that the old "Kossuri" of the Ainu was once the capital
of a race of pit-dwellers previous to the conquest of the whole of Yezo
by the hairy race. The Ainu gave these people the name of
_Koro-pok-kuru_--men of the holes. A few words on them may not be out of
place, though, unfortunately, little is to be learned from the Ainu as
to who their predecessors were, and it is merely by a close examination
of their pits, and relics found in different parts of Yezo and the
Kuriles, that we can to a certain extent trace the existence of such a
race of people, and also prove that they were in no way connected with
the present Ainu.


[Illustration: KORO-POK-KURU FORT.]


The Koro-pok-kuru, or Pit-dwellers.

[Illustration: FLINT ARROW-HEADS.]

All over Yezo and the Kurile Islands remains of an extinct race of
pit-dwellers are to be seen. It is especially near lakes and swamps or
along the coast that rectangular, circular, and elliptical pits are
numerous, but square pits are not so common. None of these pits have yet
been discovered on the main island of Nippon, but many are still to be
found as far south as Hakodate, in Yezo. On the east and north-east side
of the peak, at the latter port, these pits, flint implements, and rude
pottery, mostly in fragments, are met with in great abundance. The
implements consist mostly of arrow-heads, stone adzes, hammers, flint
knives, and round pebbles, which were used as war ammunition. The
arrow-heads vary in size, length, and breadth. The larger ones I saw
measured an inch and three-quarters in length by an inch and
five-eighths in breadth, while the smaller were seven-eighths of an inch
by half an inch. They were triangular, with the angle at the point
sometimes more, sometimes less acute, or lozenge-shaped; they are
chipped, and not ground. Most of the arrow-heads and a good many of the
knives were made of a dark reddish siliceous rock. The adzes also, of
course, varied in size and shape, some being oblong in section, others
almost rectangular, while others again were oval. They were ground, and
always made so that the hand could have a good grip on them. The average
length from the sharp edge to the other end would be about four inches,
and the sides were rounded. It is apparent that most of these adzes were
not originally fastened to a stick or club, but were held in the hand.
They usually have a smooth surface, while the knives, as well as the
arrow-points, exhibit marks of chipping quite plainly; their edges are
very sharp. Hard stones are often found on which the people of the Stone
Age used to grind their implements. The knives are mostly rectangular,
with very sharp edges, sometimes on both sides. Then there are some in
the shape of a sword-blade, rounded at the top, and with a rounded place
at the other end, where they were held. Those with two sharp edges were
triangular in shape, and were held by the upper part of the triangle,
which point ends with a kind of knob. It is a curious fact that bone and
bamboo arrow-points--probably Ainu--are sometimes found in pits, and
this would lead me to believe, either that the conquering Ainu used
these weapons in their attacks upon the pit-dwellers, or, supposing for
a moment that the Ainu themselves were the pit-dwellers in former days,
that they had abandoned their stone implements and had adopted bone and
wood, which they found easier to work. I am inclined to the first
supposition as the correct one. The pits are numerous in Yezo, and,
following the southern coast from south-west to north-east, we find that
they increase in number towards the north. Though stone implements and
fragments of pottery are numerous nearly all along the southern coast,
but few pits are found either on Volcano Bay or on the south-west part
of the coast as far as Erimo Cape. As we pass this cape and go north, on
the south-east coast the pits become more numerous, and at Kushiro--or
Kossuri, as the Ainu call it--they are found in great quantities.
Further on are some at Akkeshi, and they are plentiful nearly all along
that stretch of the coast as far as Nemuro, and on Bentenjima, the small
island which forms one side of the harbour at that place. North-east of
that, in the Kuriles, at Kunashiri and Etorofu, we have abundant
evidence that a large population of these pit-dwellers once existed
there. In Etorofu particularly the pits, besides being frequent, are in
much better preservation than any on the island of Yezo.

[Illustration: FLINT KNIVES.]

The pit-dwellers do not seem to have been particular as to the shape of
their dwellings, though they evidently had a certain predilection for
the elliptical and rectangular forms. The pits at Kushiro are nearly all
rectangular, while those from Akkeshi to Nemuro are either rectangular
or circular.

The average dimensions of rectangular pits are about twelve feet by nine
feet, but I have seen some as large as sixteen feet by twelve feet. The
sides slope inwards, and the average depth is from three to six feet.
Pits which are situated on cliffs, or at any height, are generally
deeper, probably for the extra shelter required by those living at an
altitude, compared with those living on the sea-level. The round pits
are from ten to fourteen feet in diameter, and the elliptical have a
length of about sixteen feet, and are about eight feet at the widest
part of the ellipse. The pits which I found on the north-east coast of
Yezo, from Shari to Cape Soya, were not so numerous as those on the
southern coast; but some of them were larger in size, as probably, owing
to the greater severity of the climate, more people lived in the same
hut for the purpose of creating natural heat. At Tobuts, on the Saruma
Lake, are three of elliptical shape. Near Abashiri several
well-preserved specimens of pottery have been found, especially in the
mud of swamps or lakes; but after leaving Lake Saruma, I did not see any
traces of the pit-dwellers till I approached Soya Cape. When these pits
are excavated, a stratum of sand is generally found, and beneath it a
large quantity of charcoal in the centre of the pit. Under the charcoal
the earth is burnt, showing that the hearth was in the centre of the
dwelling, as it is now in the Ainu huts. This goes to prove that there
was one fire, and not, as some travellers have endeavoured to show, five
or six burning at the same time, round which, or, rather, between which,
the pit-dwellers slept. I have often dug in different parts of pits, and
have invariably come upon this burnt charcoal in or near the middle. I
never saw any signs of more than one fire in the same pit. Digging in a
large pit at Kushiro, I found some stag-horns, and numerous bits of
black and red pottery. Some of the fragments had rough line
ornamentations on them. There was also a large quantity of war
ammunition, in the shape of big pebbles and round stones. Most pits
contain heaps of rubbish and bones of animals. Sometimes there are heaps
of oyster shells, as near the pits on Saruma Lake; and these shell-heaps
are similar to those found on the main island of Nippon. In another pit
on one of the forts at Kushiro I found what I thought was part of a
human skull; but on a closer examination it turned out to be the skull
of an animal--probably a fox or a stag. A bone arrow-point also came to
light in the same pit, and several stone defensive weapons. It was
interesting to note that this pit was built on the top of a small
conical hill, and that the hill itself was surrounded by a ditch only a
few feet wide, thus forming a kind of fort. On the side and at the
bottom of the fort I saw numbers of stones, which had in all probability
been used by the pit-dwellers as missiles against the attacking Ainu
during a battle. Besides forts, the pit-dwellers had camps, generally
situated in a commanding position above a river, a lake, or a harbour.
Single pits also are found only under similar conditions.

Near Kushiro, on the Lake Harutori, which is divided from the sea by a
sand isthmus, are several camps and one or two forts, the first of
which overlooks the sea. Along the Kutcharo River are forts and camps.
These camps are on the crowns of the hills, and each is surrounded by a
small ditch. In the last, about three miles from the coast, were several
square pits, larger than those on the other three forts. This last fort
stands some distance back from the river, and is situated in a little
plain at the summit of a detached mound, which has the appearance of
having been artificially cut from the larger remaining portion of the
hill itself. The shape of the fort is a broken cone, and the base
measures about nine hundred feet in circumference, while the upper one
is about three hundred. From the top, where there is only a small pit,
the entrance of the river can easily be watched; and it must have been
almost impregnable, as the walls of the fort, or, rather, the sides of
the conical hill, rise nearly perpendicularly from the plain. A small
stream runs at the foot of the fort.

On the Lake Harutori the range of hills which stretches from the sea for
three or four miles along its eastern shores is literally covered with
these pits, and on the sandy isthmus separating the sea from the lake
some very large pits can be observed. The fort near the sea is called
_Shirito_ by the Ainu, and that at the other end of the range goes by
the name of _Moshiriya_. It was in the latter fort that the well-shaped
bone arrow-point was found, as well as one or two stone adzes, which
were so shaped as to fit the hand, and evidently had been used as
hammers, or weapons of offence at close quarters. In the same fort I
found two stags' horns in good preservation, and many bones of different
animals. It is doubtful whether these heaps of horns and bones were
brought into the pits for the purpose of making arrow-points and other
weapons, or whether the stags had been used merely for food. The bone
arrow-point found in the same pit was not in such a decayed condition as
most of the bones I found there, which led me to believe that it was not
made out of the same kind of bone, or that the bone out of which it was
made had been cured before its conversion into an arrow-point. I believe
that in the neighbourhood of Kusuri--or Kushiro, as it is now called by
the Japanese--there are as many as a thousand or fifteen hundred pits.
In Etorofu, at Bet-to-bu, on the north-west coast of the island, nearly
as many are to be found along the seashore, mostly on the plain at the
top of the cliffs overlooking the sea, while the rest are situated on
the banks of a narrow stream and along what appears to have been a river
course. On the same island, at Ru-pets, are several pits of a similar
description, and a fort.

As the pit-dwellers have disappeared from Yezo and the Kuriles, and only
pre-historic remains and relics have been left behind to indicate their
former existence, the questions naturally arise: Who were these
pit-dwellers? Whence did they come? and whither have they gone? We can
place no reliance on the accounts given by the Ainu or by the highly
imaginative Japanese, who, moreover, are perfectly ignorant on this
subject. Some Ainu say that Yezo was formerly peopled by a race of
dwarfs, who were their enemies, and were extirpated by them after many
sanguinary battles. The Ainu are very vague as to when and where these
battles were fought, but according to their accounts these pit-dwellers,
whom they call the _Koro-pok-kuru_--literally "men of holes"--once
inhabited Yezo and the Kuriles. They were only three or four feet in
height, and some semi-Ainu stories represent them as being only a few
inches tall. This of course might be taken to mean that they were very
small by comparison. A few Ainu, yet more imaginative than others, go so
far as to say gravely that the Koro-pok-kuru were so tiny that when a
shower of rain came they hid under burdock leaves for shelter. Others,
however, tell us that these Koro-pok-kuru were their ancestors, and much
more hairy than the Ainu of the present day. They were strong, fond of
hunting, and able to cross the mountains with great facility and speed.
According to Mr. Batchelor, some Ainu state that they themselves
formerly lived in huts over pits, and that they changed their method of
house-building on coming in contact with the Japanese; but if this were
the case it seems unaccountable that they should distinguish their
predecessors as pit-dwellers. Moreover, if the influence of the Japanese
was sufficiently strong to cause them to make this most important change
in their habitations and mode of living, how comes it that in other
matters they have not adopted Japanese customs? I was unable to trace
the slightest resemblance between Ainu huts and Japanese edifices of any
kind, either in their general appearance or in any of the smaller
details, and I was always struck by the small extent to which the Ainu
have adopted the customs of the dominant race. Indeed, the character of
Ainu buildings is peculiar to the Ainu themselves, and, far from
constructing their dwellings over pits, they go to the other extreme,
and perch their storehouses on piles or posts. It is a remarkable
coincidence that on the Lake Kutcharo, not many miles from Kusuri, where
the Koro-pok-kuru pits are numerous, the roofs of the Ainu huts and
storehouses are not angular, but circular, which gives them the
appearance of half a cylinder resting on the ground. This struck me as
being in all probability the shape of structures built over rectangular
pits, while the coverings of round pits must have been shaped like half
a sphere, similar to the snow houses of the Esquimaux, and the
elliptical like the longer half of an egg.

The present houses of the Kutcharo Lake Ainu, however, are not built on
pits; and on my questioning the few inhabitants of the village, all were
perfectly ignorant of the existence of the Koro-pok-kuru, and they knew
nothing of their own ancestors, nor whether they had built structures
over pits or not. The idea seemed to them highly ludicrous, and afforded
them a great deal of amusement.

On the north-east coast of Yezo, where pits are found, some Ainu huts
have round and others angular roofs; but even in the latter instance,
the angle of the two sides of the roof is not as acute as with the huts
on the Saru and the Tokachi River; but both slant in a more gentle way,
forming an obtuse angle of about 135°. In fact, these variations in the
Ainu architecture have not yet been accounted for, and whether they
copied their roofs from their foes the Koro-pok-kuru, or whether it is a
mere chance that the roofs bear a certain resemblance, cannot be
discovered from tradition or hearsay. I may mention incidentally my own
theory, which may afford an explanation of this point. As the Saru, the
Tokachi, and the Ishikari districts have no very severe weather in
winter, and only a comparatively small quantity of snow falls during the
colder months, the Ainu build huts with very slanting roofs, so that the
snow should not remain on them in winter, while during the summer months
the rain should fall off the steep incline of the roof before it could
filter through into the hut. On the Kutcharo Lake and on the north-east
coast, where strong winds are prevalent, the huts have round roofs, so
as to offer the least possible resistance to the gales, and thus escape
the danger of being blown down.

With regard to the snow, the opposite of the Saru Ainu method is
practised. Instead of preventing the snow from resting on their roofs,
the Ainu of the colder regions do all they can to let it remain, for by
thus forming an air-tight vault it renders the hut much warmer in
winter. In other words, the system is the same as that adopted by the
Esquimaux, with the exception that the latter, I believe, have no frame
to their huts, and the vault is entirely of snow and ice; while with the
Ainu of the north-east coast the snow vault is directly over the hut
itself. I invariably noticed on the north-east coast, where the Ainu
have a mixed architecture, that wherever a hut was built in an exposed
position it had a round roof, while those built under the shelter of a
cliff or a hill had angular ones, and this is what led me to the above

To return to the Koro-pok-kuru, they undoubtedly must have had
semi-spherical and semi-cylindrical roofs over their pits, whether the
vault was constructed of mud, sticks, and reeds, or simply of snow and
ice, like the Esquimaux dwellings. For all that we know, the
Koro-pok-kuru huts may have had conical roofs, like those of the present
American Indians; but one fact is certain, that whatever shape the roof
may have had, it was not supported by a central pole, for the hearth is
invariably in the centre of the pit.

The curious fact already mentioned, that in every pit we find a thick
layer of sand, seems to prove that it was certainly intended to render
the ground less damp; and it is my own impression that these
pit-dwellers, having snow or ice vaults over their heads, resorted to
that expedient to keep the floor of their huts dry under the continuous
dripping of the vault, melted by the heat of the fire inside.
Undoubtedly Yezo was a much colder country in bygone years than it is
now; and though we cannot implicitly rely on the information given by
the Ainu, they are all of one opinion in believing that their country
was all ice and snow in former days, and to give a proof of it they say:
"Why should we be as hairy as a bear if not to keep the cold out?"

The Japanese know the pit-dwellers by the name of "Ko-bito," or
"Ko-shto," the latter word meaning "men of the lakes,"[28] but they know
nothing of their history.

    [28] _Ko_, lake; _shto_, man. _Ko_ is probably a corruption of the
         Ainu word _to_, a lake or a swamp, and it is used by the
         Japanese of Yezo for "lake," instead of the word "_numa_."

One fact still remains to be explained, namely, who made the pottery
that is disinterred in almost every pit and by the shores of lakes. The
present Ainu do not know how to make pottery, and they have never been
known to manufacture anything of the kind. All Ainu implements are made
of wood, though of course the more civilised tribes have now purchased
iron or porcelain implements from the Japanese. The question, then, is,
supposing that the Ainu were formerly the pit-dwellers, have they lost
the art of making pottery, or did the pottery belong to a different race
of people?


It seemed singular to me that, conservative as the Ainu are of their
relics, even allowing for its brittle nature, no pottery of the kind
found in pits is ever to be seen in any Ainu hut. Had they made the
pottery themselves, surely some specimens or parts of specimens would
have been preserved.

Comparing facts, we find, then, that the Koro-pok-kuru built their huts
over pits, made pottery, and used stone and flint implements; while the
Ainu have never been known to dwell in pits, have never made pottery,
and have always used bone or bamboo implements. Moreover, Ainu
traditions of internecine wars, vague as they are, and their designating
the enemy by the name of Koro-pok-kuru, are further proofs that the Ainu
themselves do not regard the pit-dwellers as their forefathers. As,
then, the few facts collected tend to prove that the Ainu and the
Koro-pok-kuru were two distinct races, it would be interesting to know
who the latter really were, and what became of them. A learned
missionary, Mr. Batchelor, writing on this subject, says:--"But I am of
opinion that these pit-dwellers were closely allied to the Ainu in
descent, and that the remains of them may now be seen in Shikotan and
other islands of the Kurile Group. The inhabitants of Shikotan are much
shorter in stature than the Ainu of Yezo. They are not so good-looking,
and are said to be a very improvident race. The Ainu look upon the
Kurile Islanders as the remnants of the Koro-pok-gurus; but this is a
mere opinion, to be adopted or rejected at pleasure. That they are
pit-dwellers _is quite certain_, for _they live in pits_ at the present

Before being so certain as to what he was stating, it would have been
well had the writer of the above lines visited the island in question.
He would not then have committed so many blunders in so few lines. The
inhabitants of Shikotan are _not_ shorter than the Ainu of Yezo, and I
cannot give a better proof of this than by asking my readers to compare
the measurements which I took while there with the measurements of the
Yezo Ainu. The medium height of the Shikotan Ainu is between sixty-one
inches and sixty-two and three-quarter inches; the medium height of the
Yezo Ainu is between sixty-one inches and sixty-two and three-quarters,
or exactly the same. The chest inflated measures thirty-seven and a half
inches with the Shikotan Ainu, and thirty-seven and a half with the Yezo
Ainu, while the spinal column is only twenty-four inches with the
Shikotan Ainu, and about twenty-six and three-quarters with the Yezo

The Shikotan Ainu have the same structural peculiarity as the Yezo Ainu,
namely, the length of their arms, which peculiarity, by the way, is
greatly accentuated with them. The humerus is much longer than with the
Yezo Ainu, while the ulna and radius are shorter; the hand is the same
length. A Shikotan Ainu with outstretched arms is generally the length
of one hand longer than his own height, which is more than is usually
found with the Yezo Ainu. The medium foot is nine and a half inches with
both Ainu. In the Ainu the tibia is rather flattened at its angular
part, but the Shikotan Ainu have a nearly circular tibia. I do not know
of any other existing race in the world in which such an extraordinary
phenomenon occurs, and the tibia struck me also as being extremely long,
while the femur appeared proportionately short. However, with the
exception that the tibia is more circular than with the Ainu of Yezo, I
could not see any material difference between them and the other Ainu.
As we have already seen, each tribe in Yezo has certain characteristics
which other tribes have not; each tribe has conformed its habits to the
climate of the district in which it lives, as well as to other
circumstances; and each of these tribes has adopted a slightly different
architecture for its dwellings; but it is plain that all belong to the
same original race. The same might be said of the Shikotan Ainu. At this
point it is well to explain that the Kurile Islands not many years ago
belonged to Russia; but they were exchanged for the southern half of
Sakhalin, then belonging to Japan, and now form part of the Japanese
Empire. The two larger islands--Kunashiri and Etorofu--are inhabited
mainly by Ainu and a few Japanese, who migrate there from Yezo during
the fishing season; while the Island of Shikotan is inhabited by sixty
Ainu, brought there from the northern islands of Shirajima or Shimushir,
and Urup, leaving thus all the islands north-east of Etorofu

Of Kunashiri and Etorofu I shall say no more in connection with the
pit-dwellers, but a few more words on the Shikotan inhabitants may prove
interesting, especially as people have been led to believe that they are
the descendants of the Koro-pok-kuru, and not really Ainu.

I shall begin by saying that the Shikotan people call themselves
Kurilsky _Ainu_, and that they speak both Ainu and Russian. Their
features are not very massive, and their cheek and temple bones slightly
project. They have strong mouths, and eyes identical in shape and colour
with those of the Yezo Ainu. They are as hairy; they live by fishing and
hunting; they clothe themselves in skins; and they are fond of beads and
shining ornaments. Their huts have angular roofs, and are built in the
same style as those of the Yezo Ainu, but on a smaller scale. The
interiors are also alike, and equally dirty, if not more so. The Ainu
huts at Shikotan are sixteen in number, and _not one_ of them is built
over a pit, thus showing that Mr. Batchelor was a little rash, when,
relying on mistaken information, he drew a conclusion which is not in
accordance with the facts. One thing that has misled most people as
regards these Kurilsky Ainu is, that they were compelled to cut their
hair and shave their beards. To the superficial observer this naturally
gives them a different physiognomy from that of the Yezo Ainu, who let
their hair grow long, and have flowing beards. Prof. Milne, who some
years ago visited the Island of Shumshu,[29] relates that he saw there a
small group of Kurilsky Ainu, who, all included, numbered twenty-two.
Their dress, although made of skins, was European in form, and the upper
garment, shaped like a shirt, was made of bird-skins (puffins) with the
feathers inside. The back was ornamented with the plumes of the yellow
puffin, and the edge was trimmed with seal-fur. The men wore garments
tied at the waist with a belt of sea-lion hide. Their feet and legs up
to the knee were covered with moccasins, also made of sea-lion skin, and
their food consisted of a few berries, the eggs and flesh of sea-birds,
seals, and other meat. They were few and migratory, and carried with
them all their property when migrating. Prof. Milne, in a paper
contributed to the Asiatic Society of Japan, thinks that the chief point
in connection with these people is, that they constructed houses by
making shallow excavations in the ground, which were then roofed over
with turf, and that these excavations had a striking resemblance to the
pits now found further south. I believe, however, that Prof. Milne never
saw them excavating these pits, and the fact that hardly two dozen
people in the extreme north-east Kuriles having temporarily adopted
shallow excavations which they roofed over, is barely sufficient proof
that they were pit-dwellers, and, as will be seen later, I had ample
evidence afterwards that they were not. It is probable that this
wandering band, owing to the scarcity or difficulty of procuring timber
in those regions--the smallness of their canoes not permitting them to
transport the materials for above-ground structures from one island to
another--it is probable, I say, that, having come upon pits already dug,
they had roofed them over and lived in them, finding them suitable to
the severe climate. When I visited Shikotan (September, 1890), where not
only these Shimushir people, but all the Kurilsky Ainu, numbering sixty,
are now collected, and where they have built dwellings in their own
style, the architecture and mode of construction were identical with
those of the Yezo Ainu, and there were _no_ pits whatever to their huts.

    [29] The correct name and pronunciation is _Shimushir_.

Had they been pit-dwellers, why should they have so suddenly modified
their habits as to construct huts wholly above-ground without any reason
for so doing? Supposing they were actually pit-dwellers, and had lived
generation after generation in pits, why should they abandon this chief
structural characteristic in a place where the climate is as severe as
in the islands they formerly inhabited? I am willing to admit that the
Kurilsky Ainu, like all barbarians, made the best of what they found in
their migrations from one island to another, and that, having found pits
already dug, they had lived in them simply for convenience, and to
protect themselves from the cold. The impossibility of constructing
their own style of dwellings, which would have required too much time
and a great amount of timber and reeds--two articles scarce in the
north-east Kuriles--may account for their being driven to occupy pits
already dug; but I am certainly not inclined to admit that therefore the
few remaining Kurilsky Ainu are in any way connected with or related to
the Koro-pok-kuru. I believe that I have given sufficient evidence to
prove this. At any rate, I have given such evidence as it was in my
power to collect, and I have based my statements on what I actually saw,
and not on what I heard people say. As others have speculated on this
subject, I shall now ask the forgiveness of the reader if I am also
dragged into a little pre-historic speculation as to who the
Koro-pok-kuru were, and whence they came.

As I remarked at the beginning of this chapter, we find that pits are
more numerous as we go in a north-east direction. Thus, few are found at
Hakodate; and though none or few have been found along the south-west
coast of Yezo, still, flint arrow-heads, pottery, and stone adzes
collected here and there, show us that the Koro-pok-kuru had travelled
along that coast, probably journeying in their canoes, landing to hunt,
or to fight the Ainu.

Along the south-east coast the pits increase in number as we approach
Kusuri, and at this place the largest number of pits in Hokkaido is
found; then they are numerous all along the coast as far as Nemuro; and
in the islands of Kunashiri and Etorofu the population must have been
large, as there are numerous pits throughout. Pits are found in the
smaller islands of the Kurile group, and I believe also in Kamschatka.
From Nemuro, following the coast-line of Yezo, we find some along the
north-east coast of Yezo, and none down the west coast until we reach
the narrower part of the island near Sappro. This said, we have two
points to consider:--

(1.) That the pit-dwellers moved from north-east to south-west.

(2.) That the main bulk of the population settled in Etorofu, Kunashiri,
and at Kushiro. Few went further south to settle.

All evidence tends to show that they came either from Kamschatka, or
perhaps more probably from the Aleutian Islands. It seems not
improbable, looking at the volcanic formation of the Kurile group, that
in bygone days Yezo was joined to Kamschatka, affording a land passage
to the migratory people; but this we need not take into consideration.

From what one can gather of this race, the habits and customs of the
Koro-pok-kuru must have had many points in common with the present
Esquimaux. Very likely their pits were roofed over with a snow vault.
They evidently lived by fishing and hunting, like the Esquimaux, and all
that we know identifies them more with the latter race than with the

I believe that the present Aleuts have a striking resemblance to the
Esquimaux; and if this were the case, there is no reason why we should
not suppose that they in former days inhabited the Kuriles, part of
Kamschatka and the north-east portion of Yezo. It is a well-known fact
that the Esquimaux formerly lived in corresponding latitudes on the east
coast of America, and that they withdrew little by little to the more
inhospitable regions of the north, and the same might have occurred here
after the Ainu invasion of Yezo. The Koro-pok-kuru were apparently more
civilised than their conquerors the Ainu, for they made pottery and
worked stone; but owing to their retiring nature and weaker physique,
and outnumbered by the savage hairy people, they became extinct. As to
the Ainu, they also are undoubtedly a race of the north. Their music,
their decorations, their habits, display characteristics of northern
origin; but the Ainu, as we have seen from their structures and customs,
were by no means accustomed to so cold a climate as their predecessors
the pit-dwellers. In my opinion they did not invade Yezo from the
Kuriles, but came from the continent of Asia, probably across Siberia,
and descended as far as Sakhalin Island, where many Ainu are still to be
found. As the Koro-pok-kuru resemble the Esquimaux, the Ainu have a
striking resemblance in many ways to the Northmen of Europe, and this is
what makes me suppose that they came across the northern part of the
continent, and not from the northern islands of the Pacific. They made
their way south, probably crossing over the La Perouse Strait, and the
main contingent of them came down the north-east coast of Yezo. I base
this theory on the fact that the strong current which passes through the
La Perouse Strait from west to east would have made it impossible for
the Ainu in their light "dug-outs" to navigate against it, or straight
across from Sakhalin to Soya Cape, and in crossing they were undoubtedly
drifted far south-east on the north-east coast, probably landing near
Abashiri or Shari. Another evidence which made me think that the Ainu
came from Sakhalin is, that all knew of another island besides Yezo,
which they called Krafto, by which name they designate Sakhalin. Of the
Kuriles no one knew except those in the immediate neighbourhood. At one
time the Ainu are said to have inhabited the whole of Japan as far south
as Satsuma. Archæologists are puzzled by the discovery in the main
island of Nippon of various kitchen-middens, which include fragments of
pottery identical with those attributed to the Koro-pok-kuru, and also
of shell heaps, which some consider of Ainu origin, others as pre-Ainu.
No pits, however, have been found near these shell heaps, nor on any
part of Nippon. Thus another question is raised as to who the
originators of these shell heaps and kitchen-middens were. Is it not
likely that, as the Ainu proceeded south, they encountered the
Koro-pok-kuru at Nemuro and then at Kushiro, and, having easily defeated
them, forced some of them to retreat in the direction of the Kuriles,
while the rest went towards the south? They probably fled along the
coastline in their "dug-outs," those who moved south occasionally
landing to hunt or to attack their pursuers. Thus we can account for the
occurrence along that coast of some of their implements, but of no pits,
which they were not likely to dig in such circumstances. Having then
retreated as far south as Ushongosh (Hakodate), and with the conquering
Ainu still at their heels, there was nothing more natural than that they
should cross the Tsugaru Strait,[30] only a few miles in width, carrying
with them their kitchen-middens and pottery.

    [30] The opposite coast of Nippon can be seen plainly from Hakodate.

The Ainu crossed after them, and, pushing the retreating Koro-pok-kuru
further and further south, exterminated them, and became the masters of
the whole of Japan, the Kuriles, and Sakhalin. As they were thus pursued
by the Ainu, whom they knew as a warlike people, and stronger than
themselves, there seems to me no cause for wonder that the Koro-pok-kuru
did not dig any pits while on the main island of Nippon, first, because
these pits would have been the sure means of bringing the Ainu on their
track, to their certain annihilation; next, because the climate, being a
great deal warmer, they had no need for them. On the other hand, it is
more than probable that the retreaters carried with them their
kitchen-middens and pottery, which constituted their treasures, and
without which they could not have prepared their food. The barbarous
Ainu then came in contact with the Japanese, at whose hands they
received the same treatment as that which they had inflicted on the
Koro-pok-kuru. Little by little the land so easily conquered was lost
again, and the conquering Ainu were ere long in retreat towards the
north. They were beaten and defeated by the more civilised Japanese, and
the few who survived had to cross over the Tsugaru Strait back to Yezo.
There is not a single Ainu now to be found in Nippon, with the exception
of a child, a half-caste, whose mother was an Ainu, and who lives about
sixty miles south of Awomori. The mother of this child was the last of
her race who was born on and who inhabited the main island of Nippon.

Ainu blood can be traced in many of the Japanese in the northern part of
Nippon, especially between Shiranoka to Awomori, and also some corrupted
Ainu words are still in use in the dialect spoken in that part of
Japan. Names of places, rivers, towns, etc., of Ainu origin, are common
all over Japan. It was this former occupation of Japan by the Ainu that
for some time led people to believe that the Ainu were the forefathers
of the Japanese; and when pits were found in Yezo, the same
hastily-judging people attributed them to the Ainu; and then, when
mention was made of the Koro-pok-kuru and the Ko-shto, they affixed this
name to the Kurilsky Ainu whom they had never seen nor studied.

I am not prepared to say whether or not traces of these Koro-pok-kuru
are to be found in the Aleutian Islands, as I have not visited them; but
it would prove interesting to trace a connection between them and some
existing race, in case my supposition be not correct, though I am sure
that it is nearer the mark than any of the conjectures made by others
with regard either to the Ainu or the Koro-pok-kuru. At any rate, as I
do not pretend to infallibility; should my supposition be wrong, the
facts given above will remain, and a more successful student and
investigator will be able to work on them with a decided advantage over
the writer, who had to start from the very beginning, and work on
information which was more of an obstacle than a help.




The Kutcharo River and Lake--A Sulphur Mine--Akkeshi and its Bay.

The Kutcharo River is of some importance, for though not of great
length, it is navigable by small boats for nearly twenty miles from its

I left Kushiro one morning, and made my way up the river, not by boat
but along its banks on horseback, so as to get a better idea of the
surrounding country and its inhabitants. At Kushiro I left more than
half my luggage, to be sent down to Hakodate by the first ship that
happened to call, and this greatly changed my mode of travelling.
Instead of two ponies, one pony would now be quite sufficient to carry
my baggage and myself; and where ponies were not obtainable, I could
carry all my paraphernalia on my own back with no very great difficulty,
and in this way I should not be hindered on my journey.

I daresay the baggage I was carrying now weighed about forty-five
pounds. It mostly consisted of painting materials, and wooden panels, on
which I usually paint my sketches when travelling.

As to clothes and boots, I was beginning to be rather "hard up." No
weaver's work, no tailor's garments, nor tanner's hides, can stand the
wear and tear of such rough travelling as I had had, and the old saying,
that a "light heart and a thin pair of breeches carry you a long way,"
is most decidedly not to be applied to anyone journeying to and fro on a
pack-saddle in Yezo. My coat and trousers were showing signs of rapid
decay, and I thought with vain desire of needle and thread, buttons and
hooks. My boots were falling to pieces owing to their continual
immersion in salt water. The impossibility of cleaning or greasing them
added to the original damage; and, worse luck of all, they could not be
replaced. Altogether, what with frayed garments, leaky boots, a battered
hat, and a general out-at-elbows air, I was scarcely presentable in any
society a grade above that of the hairy Ainu.

A road has been cut between Kushiro and Shibetcha, a distance of thirty
miles; but though quite new, it is already out of repair, and it will
not be long before it is washed away entirely. The Japanese Government
does its best to open roads near the largest settlements, but Japanese
officials do not seem to understand that after a road has been made it
has to be kept in repair.

The country all along is good, and the soil seems rich and fertile.
Nearly half-way up, on the east side of the Kutcharo River, are three
lakes,--the Takkobe, the Tori Lake, and the Shirin. The Tori is the
largest. Its length is five miles, its width about one mile. On the
southern shore of this lake is a picturesque Ainu village, with its old
tumble-down huts, and close to it is a group of Japanese houses. The
contrast between the dirty and neglected old hovels of the Ainu and the
clean, spruce, and somewhat finikin houses of the Japanese is very
striking. In this difference we read an epitome of the way in which
civilisation has travelled from primitive barbarism. The road runs
through dense forests; but in several places, especially on its highest
level, we come to lovely views of mountain scenery, towering over the
shimmering water of the underlying lakes.

In the evening I reached Shibetcha, a nice little place, constructed on
each side of a large road which rises considerably as it goes through
the village. The village lies in a small valley surrounded by moderately
high mountains, and is on the western side of the Kutcharo River, which
intersects the valley. A wooden bridge and a three-storied Japanese
tea-house are the two main structures in the place. There are
sixty-eight houses in the village, and nearly half of them are houses of
ill-fame, the three-storied tea-house being the principal.

At a distance of twenty-five miles from here is a sulphur mine, and the
miners, after having amassed sufficient money, come and squander it at
Shibetcha, thus supporting this nook of demoralization in the wilderness
of these mountains. As the river becomes very shallow, the mineral from
the sulphur mine of Yuzan was carried until quite recently on
pack-saddles as far as here, whence it was brought down by boat to
Kushiro for shipment; but a small railway, on which only a "truck train"
is now running once a day from the mine to Shibetcha, has greatly
simplified matters, and increased the export returns of the mine.

By the kind permission of the Mitsui Company I was allowed to travel on
one of the trucks (no passenger carriages being provided), and the two
and a half hours' journey was thus accomplished much more comfortably
than if I had ridden the twenty-five miles on my pack-saddle. The
railway took me to the foot of Mount Yuzan, and that same afternoon I
made the ascent of the mountain. The most valuable sulphur deposits in
Japan are found on this mountain, the quantity of the mineral being
practically unlimited. The ascent was hard work, but it was interesting
to see the _fumaroles_, whence the sulphur is extracted, and whence a
dense smoke shoots out with great force. The whole mountain is covered
with thick layers of sulphur of very good quality, and when more
practical processes are employed for the extraction and carriage of the
mineral there is no doubt that the sulphur trade will assume a very
prominent place in the exports of Yezo. Dozens of men are employed now
to carry the sulphur from the mountain to the railway, but there is work
enough for hundreds and hundreds more. All the sulphur is at present
carried on small wheelbarrows, which each man slings on to his shoulders
when empty and he is going up the mountain. When the sulphur is reached
the workman sits down, pulls out his pipe, which he fills from the folds
of his tobacco-pouch, has a quiet smoke and a good rest, then he slowly
fills his wheelbarrow with the primrose-yellow blocks, and comfortably
wheels it down hill to the station, a considerable distance. Such a
primitive fashion of carriage involves great loss of time, and a simple
mechanical contrivance, by which a large quantity of mineral could be
brought down at one time, would save an enormous amount of labour, and
therefore expense. A cable railway would answer the purpose to
perfection, and the cost of running the steam motor would be
insignificant, owing to the amount of wood and coal found within easy
reach. I passed through a large gorge in the mountain, and finally
reached the summit of Yuzan. Walking on sulphur beds is like walking on
ice, and many a time in the climb I landed on my knees. Near the summit
is a huge pinnacle of volcanic rock, standing up perpendicularly, and of
impossible access. From the foot of this pinnacle a lovely view of the
Kutcharo Lake is obtained, and it has as a background chain after chain
of thickly-wooded mountains, beyond which are visible Oakan and Moyokan,
two volcanic peaks, respectively four thousand and three thousand four
hundred feet above the level of the sea. On Moyokan are some hot springs
and accumulations of sulphur. Both these peaks can be seen from the
coast on a clear day. A small lake lies between Moyokan and Oakan, which
takes its name from the latter mountain, and finds an outlet in the
Oakan River. The Oakan joins the Kutcharo River not far from the sea.


The descent was easier than the ascent, and I put up at a small
tea-house, the only one in the place. The landlord promised to get me a
good pony early the next morning, but, like a true Japanese, he did not
keep his promise. He called me at 5 A.M., saying that the pony would be
ready in a few minutes, and at 9 A.M. the quadruped had not put in an
appearance; and after numberless excuses, compliments, bows, and lies,
the landlord acknowledged that no ponies were to be had. I gave my
luggage to a railway _employé_, who undertook to bring it back to
Shibetcha, and I started on foot for Lake Kutcharo. From Yuzan a track
across the mountains goes due north to Abashiri, on the north-east
coast. I went in a south-westerly direction, and as on the previous day
from the summit of Yuzan I had noted the position of Lake Kutcharo, I
had no difficulty in finding my way there; in fact, I came upon a small
Ainu track leading to it. A delightful walk of ten miles in the forest
took me to the Ainu village of Kutcharo, on the borders of the lake of
the same name. The village is a miserable one; it differs from all other
Ainu villages in its huts, which have semicircular roofs instead of
angular ones, as is the case with the Ainu of Volcano Bay and of the
Saru and Tokachi Rivers. I entered some of the huts, and in a few
minutes I was surrounded by the small population--I daresay about twenty
souls, all included--whom I led out into the open air to see what they
were like. They appeared to me smaller than other Ainu, and their bones
were less massive; they were not so hairy, and more inclined to
baldness. Their garments were wretched, and resembled those worn by the
Tokachi Ainu; namely, a few rags held together one could scarcely say
how. Women were tattooed on their lips and arms, but less extensively
than are those of other tribes, and the tattooing was not so accurately

Other Ainu whom I met in the forest in the neighbourhood of this village
bore the same characteristics, and everyone seemed to be curiously
melancholy and depressed. An Ainu existence is certainly not one's ideal
of comfort and hilarity, but their gloom and melancholy seem to me to be
purely racial and congenital.

The Lake Kutcharo is very large--too large to be seen to advantage from
its borders, as one can see only parts, and not the whole of it at once.
It has a pretty island in the centre, and on the west side is a
peninsula projecting almost as far as the island. On this peninsula a
small active geyser is found, which rises to a height of about twelve
feet, and acts spasmodically. The high mountains which surround the lake
would make the latter a pleasant summer resort were the place within the
circle of civilisation. The scenery is very similar to that of Norway or
the Scotch lakes. The Kutcharo River, as can be seen on the map, is an
outlet of the Lake Kutcharo, into which the waters of the latter
discharge themselves a few hundred yards west of the Ainu village.

[Illustration: SULPHUR MINE.]

An Ainu pointed out to me the track leading to Tetcha, or Tetchkanga,
and I directed my steps in that direction, the Ainu having informed me
that it was very far, and that I could only reach it at night. I crossed
the stream in a "dug-out," and found the track on the other side. I
walked fast, for the most part through a thickly-wooded country, and at
about sunset I reached Tetcha. The distance from Kutcharo, I should
think, is about ten or twelve miles. Tetcha is an Ainu village, near
which a few Japanese houses have been built. The Kutcharo River
intersects it, and the sulphur train from Yuzan stops here to take water
on its way to Shibetcha. The train had gone through some hours
previously, and I was left the alternative of walking on to Shibetcha,
twenty miles further, or of sleeping at Tetcha. I had walked twenty or
twenty-two miles already that day, and I felt in very good form. I knew
that it would be full moon that night; and walking through a forest by
moonlight has always had a great charm for me. Watching the shadows,
with their thousand different fantastic forms, running in and out
through the trees and playing round them, has the same weird fascination
for me as one of Tieck's tales, or the suggestive music of an æolian
harp. Some of the Ainu and a Jap entreated me not to attempt to cross
the forest at night, for wolves and bears were numerous, they said, and
in all probability I should be attacked by them. This last announcement,
which I was destined to hear every day in Yezo, and which, of course, I
did not believe, decided me to go, and I started.

"But," cried after me the astonished Japanese, "_anata micci
wakarimasen_!"--"You do not know the way!"

"_Kamaimasen, Sayonara!_"--"It little matters; good-bye!" was my reply;
and I left him standing there perplexed, looking after me as if I had
been a phenomenon.

The Japanese in Yezo and the Ainu never on any account travel far at
night; and as for going through a forest alone, unprotected, and without
knowing the way, they evidently regarded it as something more
reprehensible than folly. Two days previously, when in the train, I had
noticed that the railway described a curve several miles long, and I
knew then that by cutting across I could considerably shorten my way.
When I entered the forest, the sun with its last rays was casting warm
tints on the tops of the pine-trees. Everything was still, and only now
and then some huge owl, awakened by the noise of my steps from its day's
long sleep, would fly away, starting off on its night's peregrinations
and depredations. I walked mile after mile, and finally struck the rails
again. On a white post I saw a cipher in Chinese characters, which
brought me back to the reality that I was still seventeen miles away
from Shibetcha. I followed the line of rail as closely as I could, and
late at night I reached Shibetcha. I roused the people at the _Marui
yadoya_, and, having eaten some salmon and water soup, I retired to my
_foutangs_, between which, it is useless to say, I slept well. I had
walked forty-two odd miles that day, and it had been a pleasant change
from the continuous riding on pack-saddles.

The next day I rode down to the coast to the bay of Akkeshi, about
forty-two miles east of Kushiro. The road is very good all the way, and
has on each side woods of oak and pine trees. The traffic on it is at
present very small, and the only living creatures I saw during the
twenty-eight or thirty miles were a beautiful long-tailed red fox and a
number of Japanese convicts led by a policeman. These were dressed in
red trousers and a short red coat made of coarse material. They were
walking in a row, and they were chained two by two, and, moreover, a
long rope joined the chain of each couple to that of the next, so that
all couples were tied together. The end of this rope was held by the
policeman. Some of them wore large hats entirely covering their face;
others wore no hat at all, and had their head shaved in a peculiar
manner. They were mostly bare-footed, but a few wore straw sandals. The
Government wisely makes use of these convicts in opening roads and other
public works, and after their term of punishment is expired, these men
almost invariably become fishermen. A great part of the Japanese
population of Yezo is composed of exiles and ex-convicts; in other
words, Yezo is nothing more or less to Japan than what Australia was to
England some years ago.

Nearing the coast I passed the "Tonden" of Hondemura, a colonial militia
farming settlement. A long line of new houses, all exactly alike in
shape and size, and built at intervals, stretches on each side of the
wide road. Each of these houses is inhabited by a man who has served his
time as a soldier, and who has now his family about him, and does work
as a farmer in this settlement assigned to him. These "Tondens" were
established by the Government, and I believe that the farmer-soldiers
give fairly good results in the zeal and industry with which they
cultivate the land, and the honesty and morality of their lives. I saw
most of them occupied in stubbing up the scrub, and tearing or cutting
down the trees, burning the more worthless parts; but it will be some
years yet before they have cleared an area of cultivable land
sufficiently large for profit, as the country is very thickly wooded in
that neighbourhood.

Soon after I had passed the settlement, going down a steep hill I came
upon a small and dirty semi-Ainu village, and ultimately reached the

The distance from Shibetcha is thirty miles, and the riding was
beginning to be unpleasant, owing to the gathering darkness, which made
my pony shy at everything it passed. At the mouth of the Pehambe Ushi
River I had great difficulty in getting my pony on the ferry-boat, which
was to take me across the mouth of the lagoon to Akkeshi. Several
drunken fishermen came on board, and were disagreeably noisy. One of
these fellows had a pony, which he tied to mine when on board. The ferry
was to take us across the entrance of the Akkeshi lagoon, and it was
more than a quarter of an hour before we reached the opposite shore.
When we were still nearly twenty feet from _terra firma_, my pony,
frightened at the cries of the drunken crowd, jumped overboard, carrying
with him his companion steed. The sudden shock and lurch of the boat
knocked down everybody on board, and nearly capsized us. As it was we
shipped a lot of water. The ponies found the water deeper than they
expected, and they had to swim for it. Having landed before he came
ashore, I recaptured mine, gave him a sound thrashing, and rode on to
Akkeshi, a few hundred yards from the landing-place. Akkeshi lies at the
north-east side of the large bay which goes by the same name, and which,
by the way, is probably one of the best anchorages on the south coast of
Yezo. The mouth of the bay is to the southward; it extends seven miles
in a northerly direction, and is about six miles wide in its widest
part. The bay is prolonged further inland by a large lagoon, called
Se-Cherippe, which contains many shoals and low islands, near which are
beds of oysters of enormous size, the shells of some measuring as much
as eighteen inches in length. The Koro-pok-kuru, by whom this district
was formerly thickly populated, seem to have relished this diet, as we
find thick beds of discarded shells on the top of some of the lower
hills, and in many places, especially in the vicinity of pits. These
shell heaps are similar to those found on the main island of Nippon, and
attributed to the Ainu. (_See_ Chapter IX.)

The country round the bay and the lagoon forms a high land or plateau
between two hundred and three hundred feet above the level of the sea,
and the higher ground is thickly wooded, thus supplying Akkeshi with
abundance of timber, mostly of evergreen trees, as Todo and Yezo-matzu,
two spruces common in other parts of Yezo as well. With its good
harbour, its large export of oysters, salmon, herrings, fish-manure, and
seaweed, besides its seal-fishery and the quantity of good timber easily
cut and transported down the lagoon and across the bay for shipment, it
is not surprising that Akkeshi has become, after Hakodate, the most
important centre on the southern coast. It is nearly half as large again
as Kushiro, and has as many as nine hundred Japanese houses, besides
sixty or seventy Ainu huts.

The Ainu were formerly extremely numerous in this district; but few of
them are left now, and those few are indeed poor specimens of their
race. They have nearly all become bald, and they seem to suffer very
severely from rheumatism. Thick fogs are very prevalent along the coast,
and it is but seldom that one can obtain a view of the whole bay. These
fogs naturally render navigation unsafe, and are one of the great
drawbacks to the prosperity of the place. However, our good Londoners
could tell us that greater evils than fogs can exist. I have no doubt
that at some future date we shall hear of Akkeshi as being the most
important port in Yezo, when a railway to join it to Shibetcha shall
have been constructed. The sulphur of Mount Yuzan will probably then be
taken direct to this place instead of Kushiro, owing to the safety of
its harbour, an advantage which Kushiro does not possess. The Akkeshi
Bay is also interesting from a picturesque point of view, when fogs give
one a chance of seeing the surrounding scenery. Some fine headlands are
found near the town of Akkeshi, and also on each side of the opening of
the bay into the ocean. On the eastern side, the two islands of Daikuku
and Kodaikuku, joined to the mainland by the low reef, slightly under
water-level, which goes round the bay, are of some importance for an
artist. This is especially true of the larger island of Daikuku, which
rises at a considerable height above the sea, forming majestic cliffs,
beautiful in shape and colour, on which myriads of seagulls,
albatrosses, and penguins have chosen their abode, finding in these
almost untrodden and picturesque cliffs a safe place in which to lay
their eggs and rear their young. Here they live undisturbed, save for
the dashing waves of the ocean, which make the earth tremble and the
rock crumble to pieces, but only meet with a blithesome welcome from the
screaming, light-hearted, fat, and lazy-winged inhabitants, to whom
those waves bring good stores of daily food.

[Illustration: AKKESHI IN A FOG.]



From Akkeshi to Nemuro--A Horse Station--Nemuro and its People.

The road in the proximity of Akkeshi was extremely muddy and slippery,
owing to the continuous fogs and rain. A north wind was blowing hard the
day I left for Kiritap, and it drove the mist and drizzly rain right
through one's skin into one's bones. The fogs, which are prevalent all
along the coast, seem to excel between Akkeshi and Kiritap; so much so
that the Japanese in the neighbourhood make them answerable for their
baldness, and the local Ainu say they are so scantily hirsute because of
the everlasting dampness in which they live. They clinch their argument
by reminding you that when their forefathers came to this part of the
coast they were as hairy as the bear, so what can have caused their own
comparative smoothness but these everlasting fogs? I believe that to a
great extent they are right, for when, after a day's wet ride, I have
sat near a fire even for some hours, I have felt as if my skin were
soaking with wet--as if I had been too long in a bath--and neither
rubbing with cotton towels nor the warmth of the fire seemed thoroughly
to dry it; and perhaps such an extraordinary dampness, constantly
saturating the pores of the skin, may have an injurious effect upon the
hair, and cause it to decay and fall off. It was in a thick fog like
this that I had to find my way to Riruran, the next horse station, about
eight miles further east. The road soon became a mere track, running
through an undulating country, chiefly pasture land. As luck would have
it, I had hired a pony which belonged to the Riruran station, and the
beast was as anxious to get there as I was. He knew the way and I did
not, so I let him guide me. Now and then, when the wind blew with
increased strength, the fog lifted for a few minutes, and disclosed some
pretty bits of landscape. The country all around was grassy, with the
familiar densely-wooded hills in the background. It somewhat resembled
the slopes and high lands of Cornwall, without, however, the herds of
sheep and cattle, which in our country are connected with green fields;
without the trim fences and stiles, the ploughed fields and meadows, the
trim hedges and park-like trees, the bye-lanes and well-kept roads.

Hill after hill was ascended and descended, the sturdy little pony going
well towards his former home; but as yet I had come on no signs of any
living creature. No labourers are here to work and plough the dark rich
soil. Potato fields; cottages with their plots of vegetable grounds;
cows and sheep scattered over the green pastures--all signs of vigorous
and successful husbandry--are things that an intending traveller to Yezo
will miss. Everywhere are solitude and monotony. Still, even solitude
and monotony are not always to be abhorred, and if they have their
drawbacks they also have their advantages. You can go undisturbed for
mile after mile; you can think; you can dream; you can sing; you can
keep to the track or go across country; you can go fast or slow, and
there is no one to object, to obstruct, or to comment. You breathe air
that no one has breathed before, and you quench your thirst in a limpid
stream unpolluted by sewage, chemical refuse, or poisonous dye-stuffs.
You lead a simple life, and, what is more, an independent life. Many a
time, when I woke up to the real state of my new condition, I could not
help laughing at our civilised conceptions of what constitutes a free
man in a free country, viz. that he can have a voice in choosing which
of two men shall be sent as a member to Parliament.

Absorbed, now in my own thoughts on many subjects, and now in gazing at
the monotonous scenes, which, as if reflected from a magic-lantern,
suddenly appeared and as suddenly faded away, I had not seen how far my
pony had hurried on, when, rapidly descending a steep hill, I discerned
through the grey fog a solitary shed in the small valley below. The
neighing of my steed, responded to by the neighing of his compatriots in
the valley, told me that I had reached the horse station of Riruran, and
a few minutes later my baggage and pack-saddle were removed from my
steaming quadruped, and a fresh animal was burdened with my possessions.
These horse stations generally consist of one shed, in which the owner
and his family live; near it is a rough enclosure formed of branches and
trunks of trees laid down horizontally, and strengthened at intervals by
poles stuck in the ground. The ponies are kept in this enclosure during
the day, but are let loose at sunset, when they go for their food
wherever they can get it--generally on the near hills. Early in the
morning one or two Ainu employed in the stations start off to recapture
the ponies, and after a struggle bring back the herd to the paddock. My
readers, who may not be well acquainted with the habits of semi-wild
horses, will wonder that the ponies, once free in an unenclosed country,
do not bolt away altogether inland, thus making it impossible to
recapture them; and, moreover, these readers will think what a difficult
task it must be for the Ainu horsemen to recover all the ponies, each
one of which, they probably imagine, has bolted in an independent and
different direction. This is not the case. When a herd of ponies is let
loose they invariably all go together in one direction, generally
following those of the older animals which have bells hanging to their
necks. When they come to a proper feeding-ground they all graze within a
few yards of one another; and the chances are that the herd will not go
a step further than is necessary, as they are terribly afraid of bears,
their most dreaded enemy, by which they well know the more distant
hills are infested. When their hunger is satisfied they shoulder up
together and form a circle, in the centre of which the young colts are
placed, these being thus well protected from bears, who would find a
sturdy resistance in the hind hoofs of the outstanding guard should they
come to close quarters. The Ainu are good trackers, and have little
difficulty in finding in which direction the herd has moved. When this
preliminary is ascertained, the horseman, mounted on a swift pony, which
he has taken good care to keep behind, starts from the station about an
hour before sunrise, so as to allow himself ample time to reach the herd
before the sun is up. He finds the ponies in this circular position of
defence. With a long stick he breaks their ranks, and by shouting, and
wildly galloping to and fro, drives them on in front till the station
and the pen are reached. When they have all entered the latter, a heavy
wooden bar is rested on two biforked poles, one on each side of the
entrance, thus barring their way out; and there they are kept all day,
waiting for such native travellers or traders as may require their
services along the coast.

Most of the stations are owned by Japanese and by Ainu half-castes. Some
have large numbers of ponies; some only a few, according to the wants of
the neighbourhood.

The average market value of a beast is between five and ten _yen_, or
about fifteen to thirty shillings in English currency.

At stations where the ponies are but little worked, good animals can
sometimes be obtained for a small sum of money; but at stations near
large settlements--where trade with other villages is carried on
entirely by pack-ponies--they are mostly sorry beasts, with their backs
one mass of sores, produced by the friction of the rough pack-saddles.
Moreover, the cruel habit of letting colts follow mares for long
distances--sometimes forty or fifty miles--is as painful a sight to
witness as it is injurious to the breed. The Yezo ponies are
characterised by their long hair and mane. They are short, sturdy,
punchy brutes, not more than ten or twelve hands high, with a rather
large and massive head, and thick, crooked legs. They are by no means
fine-looking animals, nor are they well groomed--in fact, they are not
groomed at all--but they serve capitally for the rough tracks and
precipitous wastes of Hokkaido. They have none of the good qualities we
require in our horses, but they possess others which fit them for the
country they are in. Their enormous power of endurance, and the
wonderful way in which they can go over the steepest tracks--almost
unclimbable on foot; their sure step when going along precipices; and
the marvellous manner in which they pick their way over rocky coasts,
which the waves would seem to make impassable, and where none of our
good horses could go without breaking their legs, are all endowments
which I feel bound to quote in honour of the Yezo ponies. They are not
shod, and they can hardly be called trained. Indeed, if a traveller be a
good rider, it is advisable to obtain a perfectly unbroken animal, as
from my own personal experience I can say that, though the riding was a
little more exciting, I could invariably make better time with a totally
unbroken beast, than with one of the worn-out, sore-backed "quiet
ponies," which needed any amount of thrashing to make him go.

[Illustration: AINU BITS.]

A curious method is adopted for directing the animal. It is as simple as
it is ingenious. The necessary "bit" by which we control our horses is
dispensed with, and it is replaced by two wooden wands about twelve
inches long and two inches wide, tied together at one end, allowing a
distance of three inches between them. In the middle of these wands a
rope is passed which goes over the pony's head behind its ears; while
the wands themselves, thus supported by it, rest one on each side of the
pony's nose. Another rope, five or six feet in length, and acting as a
rein, is fastened at the lower end of one of the wands, and passes
through a hole in the other, thus allowing this simple contrivance,
based on the lever principle, to be worked exactly in the same way as a
nut-cracker, the pony's nose being the nut. The disadvantage of the
system is, that having only one rein, this has to be passed over the
pony's head each time one wishes to turn to the right or to the left,
as by pulling the rope hard, and thus squeezing the animal's nose, its
head is turned in the direction in which it is pulled, and it is soon
taught that this is the way it must go. Furthermore, should the pony
bolt, it can be stopped by pulling its head close to its haunches,
thereby making it impossible to continue its race. In the latter case it
often happens, especially with an untrained pony, that it will spin
round, trying to stretch its twisted neck by pushing its head away from
the side of its body, and the result is generally a bad fall of horse
and rider.

Another thing of which one ought to be careful is to keep one's legs out
of the reach of the brute's teeth; for it is not infrequent that instead
of the man punishing the animal, the animal revenges itself on the man;
and the incautious traveller realises Sydney Smith's position, and finds
that to a Yezo pony, as well as to an English cart-horse, "all flesh is

From Riruran, for about fifteen miles, the way is merely a mountain
track; and I dare say that in fine weather the scenery along it is
picturesque. Unfortunately, when I went through, the fog had become more
and more intense, and I saw very little of the landscape. At places the
track led down to the sea, and then mounted up again over cliffs and
high lands. As the mist, which came in gusts and waves, deepened or
lightened in intensity, the rugged precipitous rocks, formed mostly of
conglomerate, sandstone, and breccia, took all sorts of fantastic forms.
Along the coast were many Ainu huts inhabited by half-castes and by
Japanese. The Ainu were once very numerous in this district, but few of
them are to be found now. The few remaining ones have yielded to the
more civilised Japanese, and have become their servants. They are used
as menials in most of the fishing stations, always acting under the
directions of Japanese masters. Very frequently they are employed as
tenders of horses, and in some places as guides for traders and
travellers from one station to another.

Not far from Riruran the mouths of two lagoons have to be crossed, the
larger of which is called Saruffo-Ko, or "Lake in a grassy plain."
Cranes, swans, and ducks are numerous in these lagoons.

The track continues mostly over cliffs and mountains till Birvase, a
small village of seaweed gatherers, is reached, and the next two and a
half miles are along a sandy beach as far as Hammanaka. A short bridge
joins this place to the island of Kiritap, which is separated from the
mainland by a channel only a few feet wide. Towards the evening the fog
lifted, and I caught a glimpse of the village.

The ponies of the Kiritap village had just been let loose, and were
running over the small wooden bridge with great clamour. The houses,
which number about a hundred and twenty, are all poor and dirty. There
is a main street, and most of the houses are on each side of it. The
people are fishermen, seaweed gatherers, and small traders; for
Hammanaka Bay, being a good anchorage for junks and small craft under
the lee of Kiritap Island, is a place of some importance for its export
trade of seaweeds, fish-oil, and herring guano; these products being
sent down to Hakodate.

If a few Ainu have adopted the Japanese language, clothes, and customs,
there are also many Japanese who have taken up the Ainu language and
ways. I noticed this more particularly in this district, where the Ainu
have almost entirely disappeared. The older Japanese and many of the
younger folks have Ainu features; and not only have they adopted a great
number of Ainu words, but when talking Japanese they speak it with the
peculiar intonation and accent pertaining to the Ainu. This is not
surprising, nor yet peculiar to the Japanese or the Chinese; for we find
that almost all English residents in Chinese ports adopt many of the
words of our pig-tailed brothers, and have thus formed a kind of local
English, besides the "pidgeon-English"--a corruption of "business
English"--which almost constitutes a language of its own.

The Ainu, like the Scotch or the French, give a rolling sound to the
"r." Thus, for instance, if I had written the word "Riruran" as it is
pronounced I should have spelt it "Rrirrurran." Then the Ainu almost
sing their words--the women in a falsetto voice, ending in a singularly
mournful kind of cadenza. On his return from a journey, a hunt, or a
fishing expedition, the Ainu squats down cross-legged in his hut, and,
after the conventional introductory ceremony of rubbing the palms of his
hands together and then repeatedly stroking his hair and beard, proceeds
to relate the adventures that have befallen him during his absence.
This he does by singing out his story in a sort of monotone, or
sometimes chanting it. When conversing with Japanese the Ainu have
slightly modified this habit, which gave rise to much mirth to the
light-hearted sons of the Mikado's empire. However, like all people who
are ready to laugh at everything novel, the local Japanese have now
themselves fallen into that same manner of speaking, which, after all,
has its charms, as it is rather sentimental in spirit, and so far
pleasant to the ear. What is more, they have also acquired the slow ways
of the Ainu.

All along the beach between Hammanaka and Hattaushi, a distance of
nearly twenty miles, there are fishermen's and seaweed gatherers' huts;
but none of them is inhabited by Ainu. Men, women, and children are all
occupied in the seaweed gathering industry; and it is when the sea is
stormy that the largest quantity of kelp is collected. The numerous
reefs and rocks all along the shore-line afford suitable ground and
bottom for its growth and production; and during a stormy sea quantities
of kelp float on the breaking waves, to be finally thrown on shore. The
industrious gatherers seldom wait for this "jetsam," as the long weeds,
after they are washed off the rock, and before they are finally swept on
shore, are apt to be damaged by the waves, and are therefore of less
value for the export market than when long and fresh; wherefore, each
gatherer provides himself with a long pole or hook, and from morning
till night these half-naked "toilers of the sea" can be seen running to
and fro in and out of the waves dragging bunches of long ribbon-like
seaweeds, which are then carefully disentangled, stretched on the sands
to dry, and, after several days of exposure, are packed for the market.

Some huge cliffs towering over the sandy beach make the track
interesting; and here and there, scattered in the Hammanaka Bay, are
some oyster-banks before reaching the single shed of Hattaushi. The
following twelve miles were on an extremely bad track, partly over steep
hills and partly on tiresome soft sand. Then I arrived at
Otchishi--without exception the loveliest little spot in Yezo. It lies
in the centre of a small bay, on the two sides of which are magnificent
headlands with precipitous cliffs and rocks of volcanic formation. On a
pretty bit of green grass in the foreground, only a few feet above the
sea-level, were a shed and a storehouse. A reef and shallow water closed
the entrance of the bay to the foaming waves of the Pacific. In the
sheltered water, which was as smooth as a mirror, the dark rich colour
of the overhanging rocks, caressed by the last warm rays of the dying
sun, was reflected with absolute fidelity and almost increased
loveliness. A cold whitish sky, and the _white horses_ breaking on the
reef, completed the _ensemble_ of that lovely scene; and it was with
great regret, after having attempted a sketch, that I was told my horse
was ready, and I had to leave this poetical and exquisite scene.

On the slight elevations near Otchishi, and in the valley, pits are
still to be seen, showing that the pit-dwellers were once numerous in
this district. They are found both along the coast as well as slightly
inland by the side of small rivers, and on the shores of the Saruffu
lagoon. A well-kept road begins at Otchishi, and goes on to Nemuro. At
first it runs over hilly ground and through an oak-wooded country, then
through thick forests of spruce trees, the trees standing very
close together. About four miles from Nemuro a military
settlement--"Hanasaki"--similar to the one on the Shibetcha-Akkeshi
road, has been established by the Japanese Government. Here, again, I
was struck by the difficulty and the amount of labour involved in
clearing the trees off the ground. It will take many years before the
industrious farmers will have any return for their hard labour. I do not
know what the object of the Japanese Government may have been in
starting these two militia settlements in spots so unfit for
cultivation, but it seems a great pity to see the Tokachi region, which
has all the requisites for successful agriculture, quite deserted, while
hundreds of men are wasting their strength and time at other places,
where it will take several years to open enough ground for even a

Past the long row of houses at Hanasaki the road descends gently, and I
arrived at Nemuro, a thriving place of about fifteen hundred houses, on
the south-west coast of the plateau-like peninsula ending at Cape
Noshafu. The general elevation of the plateau is between sixty and one
hundred and twenty feet above the sea-level, and the high land is
covered with undergrowth and stunted trees, such as scrub bamboo, oak,
birch, and alder, the east winds and fogs no doubt preventing the latter
from attaining a larger growth. Some low islands and reefs lie north and
south off Cape Noshafu, and make navigation very unsafe for the small
coasting crafts which sometimes during the summer call at Nemuro for
sea-weed, herring, salt, salmon, and herring guano; the first exported
chiefly to China, the others to Tokio and Southern Japan. Herrings are
caught in large numbers during the spring and summer, and the export of
fish-manure would be considerably increased if the harbour at Nemuro
could be safely entered by larger ships. As it is now, though well
sheltered by the small island of Bentenjima, it can only harbour small
ships, as, besides not being deep, its entrance is narrow and of
difficult access during the thick fogs of the summer. In the winter and
part of the spring the harbour and the coast as far as Noshafu Cape are
blocked with drift ice, thus stopping navigation altogether. The trade
from the adjoining coast and the Kurile Islands concentrates at this
port, and as a farming region the small portion of available land
north-west of the town has given fairly good results. Horse-breeding has
proved a success for the local wants, but hardly so in producing a fine
breed of horses. Cattle-breeding, on the other hand, has been a failure
all through, owing to the severe weather in winter, which the imported
animals could not stand. In spite of strong easterly winds, heavy fogs,
ice, and snow, fair crops of _daikon_, potatoes, turnips, barley, beans,
wheat, and hemp are successfully raised here, as the soil is of
extremely good quality. As to the town itself, it is prettily laid out,
the streets crossing each other at right angles, while some of the
houses are built in semi-European style, to meet the severity of the
climate. A Shinto temple is erected on the high level; and from this is
obtained a fine bird's-eye view of the harbour and town, with the
numerous storehouses overlooking the sea.

As I have given a short description of the town--uninteresting save from
a commercial point of view--I feel that I owe a few lines to its
go-ahead inhabitants. Belonging, nearly all, to a young and adventurous
generation, they reminded me of the same type of Englishmen who have
abandoned their fatherland and settled in America and Australia,
striving, and often succeeding, in making a fortune. Such men are
invariably of a different "make" from that of the young fellows who are
satisfied to drudge for life in a bank, a merchant's office, or a
shop--vegetating rather than living; following their day's routine in a
mechanical sort of way; grumbling continually, but never bold enough to
attempt any improvement of their position. As one is born an artist, a
musician, or a literary man, one has to be born a colonist to be a
successful one.

The young Japanese whom I met at Nemuro impressed me as being thoroughly
different from any I had come across in my one year's stay in Southern
Japan; and I was agreeably surprised when I found that I was dealing
with a lot of young, clever, and serious men, willing to improve their
country and themselves, and anxious to accept any practical hint that
would enable them to accomplish this in the shortest time possible. In
other words, they had lost the slow, phlegmatic way of transacting
business of the "stay-at-homes," and had accepted the quick perception
of the true colonist, who is always ready to catch all the chances which
will help him to get on in life.

I had been struck with this energy, this go-ahead faculty, several times
along the south-west and south-east coasts, when conversing with the
Japanese with whom I came in contact; but I was never so much impressed
as at Nemuro, where, indeed, the men are of a superior class,
well-educated, and belonging to good families, while most of the
Japanese at fishing stations along the coast are taken from the scum of
the towns. They are often escaped or ex-convicts, or else people who
found it advisable to abandon the livelier shores of Nippon, leaving no
trace of themselves rather than end their days in a prison cell.

Nemuro is a progressive place in every way, and had it been built five
miles further west it would have been intersected by the Onnetto
River--a short outlet of the Onnetto Lagoon, which would have formed a
larger and safer harbour than the present Nemuro anchorage. As it is,
prosperity showed itself in the usual way, by the number of
eating-houses for all classes, a theatre, numerous _guechas_--singers
and dancers--and a whole street of houses of light morals, in which,
behind a wooden grating similar to a huge cage, dozens of girls are
shown in their gaudy red and gold embroidered _kimonos_, with elaborate
_obis_ round their waist, and expensive long tortoise-shell hairpins
artistically surrounding their heads like a halo. There in a line the
pretty girls sit for several hours on their heels in front of a
_hibachi_--brazier--smoking their diminutive pipes. They are fair game
for now the compliments and now the jokes of the crowd promenading up
and down the street in the evening. Every now and then, when an admirer
approaches the cage, one of the girls gets up, refills her tiny pipe
with tobacco, and offers it to him, not forgetting to wipe the
mouthpiece with the palm of her hand before so doing. He (the admirer)
puffs away, and returns the empty pipe with thanks, shifting on to
another cage to have his next smoke. Japanese men cannot live without
_guechas_, and it follows as a matter of course that Nemuro, being a
prosperous place, there are many of them.

A _guecha_ is a singer or dancer (posturing), or both, and one or more
generally attend dinner-parties and festivities of any kind. Some sing
with self-accompaniment of _shamesen;_ others display their wonderful
powers of mimicking and posturising, in which grace is never lacking. A
long _kimono_, a carefully-arranged _obi_, and a pretty pair of white
_tabi_--short socks with split toes--make up the graceful and simple
attire in which they appear in the house. Their hair, plastered down
with camelia oil, is a veritable work of art. It is carefully combed,
oiled, and flattened behind the ears. A metal fastener at the lowest
point of the curve keeps it in this flat position, and it is then raised
again and fastened at the back of the head, first in a most elaborate
twist, and then rolled up in graceful curves. A pretty, tasteful
_kanzashi_--a long hairpin--is placed on the left side of the head, thus
completing that part of a _guecha's_ toilette.

The sallow complexion characteristic of the race is despised by the
womankind of Japan, and all women are given to "painting" themselves.
With us such a custom is not uncommon, but it is disregarded by most
sensible women. In Japan it is part of the ordinary woman's daily
toilette. A thick layer of white chalk is first smeared with a soft
brush over the face, neck, shoulders, arms, and hands; then the pretty
_mouseme_, dipping her first finger in red paint, gently rubs this on
her cheeks, her temples, and over the upper eyelids. The middle finger
is the "black brush," and adds sentiment to the expression by blackening
under the eyes; and sometimes when the eyebrows are not shaved it is
also used to accentuate them. A piece of burnt cork is often used as a
substitute for black paint. The fourth finger has no occupation, but the
little finger is for finishing touches, brightening up the mouth with
carmine, and adding a bit of gold on the lower lip. A _guecha_ paints
herself to a much greater extent than other women, and with brighter
colours. As to her moral qualities, a _guecha_ is usually not immoral
enough to be called "fast," yet too fast to be qualified as "moral."
Their music and posturing have a great charm for Japanese; and when
money is made, a good quantity of it goes to keeping up these feminine
musicians and their establishments.

       *       *       *       *       *

To show how enterprising and Americanised the Nemuro people are, I shall
ask the reader's forgiveness for again relating a personal experience
which at the time greatly amused me.

I was in the midst of my simple Japanese dinner in the Jamaruru
tea-house, when four youths entered my room and offered to shake hands
with me--a most unusual thing with Japanese. One of them handed me his
card, on which I read, "K. Sato, _Nemuro Shimbun_" (Nemuro newspaper).

"Oh," I said in Japanese, "you have even a newspaper at Nemuro."

"Yes," answered in English one of his friends, a Mr. Yuasa, handing me
his own card.

"You speak English, then, Mr. Yuasa?"


"Can I offer you and your friends anything to drink or to eat?"


"What will you have?"


"Will you have some _sake_?"

"No, no; I come to speak to you."

"Thank you."

"No, no; I come to _take your life_ in Nemuro newspaper. Please speak
where come? How old? Where go?"

When I had sufficiently recovered from the shock of his announcement
that he had come to take my life, and understood what he meant by it, I
had a most pleasant conversation in English with him, and in Japanese
with the others. Mr. Yuasa's English improved as his shyness wore off,
showing that he had a very fair knowledge of the language. The interview
lasted many hours, continually interrupted by the _nara honto_ and the
_sajo deska_--"really" and "indeed" of my visitors--while notes were
taken by the editor and his staff. They finally departed, and early the
next morning I received the following letter:--

     "SIR,--I long that you will correspond to me any events wherever
     you have met them in your journey when you are not so awful busy,
     as I have to translate and write on the Nemuro _News_. I meet the
     first time here, and I hope to have your friendly favor hitherto,
     and thanks for your kindness I have received ever, believe me, your
     humble servant, F. YUASA."

The same afternoon the editor and his staff called again, accompanied by
the two Mr. Nakamuras, the richest merchants in Nemuro, and they
insisted on giving me a European dinner. After my experience at Otsu as
regards European cooking by Japanese, I was rather loth to accept their
kind invitation, but I had to yield. The feast began with biscuits and
jam,[31] and the soup was brought immediately after; then vegetables
were followed by roast chicken, and the latter by salad and fried fish.
With the exception of the somewhat inverted order of the courses, this
time it was actually a European dinner, and even well-cooked; but my
hosts were seen at a great disadvantage when using a knife and fork. As
for the anatomy of the chicken, that was decidedly their weakest point.
Those of the party who were shy gave up the carving as a bad job; the
bolder only fought bravely; and every now and then a knife gave a
terrible squeak on the plate, and half a leg, a wing, or a carcase was
fired right across the table into one's plate, if not in one's face, or
on one's lap.

    [31] The Japanese always begin their meals with sweets.

"_Honto taihen muskashi_"--"Really it is very difficult"--said the wit
of the party, helplessly putting down his knife and fork after trying to
separate the two parts of a wing. "This bird's bones have lost all their
joints in the cooking."

My hosts were extremely kind, and were, besides, so clever and bright
that I enjoyed their good company immensely. At the same time I gained
from them valuable information as regards the neighbouring country and
the Kurile Islands.

[Illustration: SEMI-AINU RAT TRAP.]



The Kurile Islands.

From Nemuro I put to sea in a miserable little Japanese craft--a kind of
tug-boat--which once or twice a year goes to the principal islands of
the Kurile group, and brings back their products to Nemuro. It is
needless to say that I was the only passenger on board, though it is
fair to add that the saloon was large enough to "accommodate" two, but
not more. As for the only cabin, it had two berths, one over the other,
but no available space for dressing or undressing, which therefore had
to be got through outside, unless it was to be done by instalments,
lying down in the berth itself. I shall spare my readers a minute
description of this "ocean clipper," her tonnage, and horse-power, and I
shall not attempt to narrate the many disadvantages of travelling in a
ship engaged in the fish-manure, dried-fish, and sea-weed trade. These
three very strongly scented articles speak for themselves without the
need of words.

The Kuriles are the islands which stretch like a row of beads from the
most north-easterly coast of Yezo to the most southerly point of
Kamschatka. They extend from 145° to 158° longitude east of Greenwich,
and between 42° and 51° latitude north.

The archipelago forms part of the Japanese Empire, having been exchanged
by Russia not many years ago for the southern half of Saghalien Island,
then belonging to Japan. This group of islands is characterised mainly
by the great extent of its volcanic rocks and tertiaries, showing marked
evidence that it is only a continuation of the volcanic mountain-range
forming the backbone of Yezo, and extending from Yubaridake, in the
upper Ishikari province, to Cape Shiretoko; which volcanic region
embraces a large portion of the Tokachi, Kitami, and Nemuro provinces.
In this chain of islands there are many beautiful volcanic cones,
especially in Kunashiri and Etorofu. Iron, copper, and other metal veins
are found in small quantities in tuffs and andesites, but more important
here, moreover, are the large sulphur accumulations near and in craters,
both extinct and active; as on Mount Rahush, in Kunashiri, and the
Ichibishinai, in Etorofu, the largest island of the Kuriles. At Pontoo,
in Kunashiri, sulphur bubbles out from the bottom of a volcanic lake,
which is probably an extinct crater.

Beside being rich in minerals, the larger islands of the Kuriles abound
in game; but fishing is the main industry practised by the sparse
population of these rugged regions. The origin of the word "Kuriles" is
not certain, but in all probability it is from the Russian _kuril_,
smoke, as there are many active volcanoes in the islands. The more
poetical Japanese call them _Chishima_, or the "Thousand Islands,"
meaning that they are numberless, and the _nonchalant_ Ainu of Yezo
profess entire ignorance as to their existence, and only some of the
better informed give them the name of _Krafto_, by which they really
mean Sakhalin. The hairy people are emphatically poor geographers, and
have but little faculty for locating islands or any other places. In
fact, how could they, having no maps, and no idea even of what a map is?
The Chishima group and the island of Yezo, with all the smaller islands
along and near its coast, when taken collectively, are called by the
Japanese "The Hokkaido." The nearest of the Kuriles to Yezo is
Kunashiri, and south of it lies the smaller island of Shikotan; then
comes Etorofu, the largest of the group; then Urup; after this a number
of unhabited islets, reefs, and rocks form a barrier separating the
Otkoshk Sea from the Pacific Ocean. Shimushir, at the south-western end
of this barrier, and Onekotan, at the north-eastern, are the two
largest, Shimushir being about thirty miles in length and four or five
wide, and Onekotan about twenty-five miles long and eight wide.
Paromushir (a corruption of the Ainu words _poro_, large, and _mushiri_,
island) is the last island of the group. It has a large reef on its
south-east coast, and is divided by a channel six or seven miles wide
from Cape Lopatka, the most southern point of the Kamschatkan peninsula.
Paromushir is about twice the size of Urup, and is very mountainous,
with rugged cliffs of volcanic formation, and high picturesque peaks,
bearing the same characteristics as the scenery in Etorofu and
Kunashiri, and also of Kamschatka. I have mentioned this last island, as
it is of some interest, being the most northern point of the Japanese
empire; and also to a certain extent it is interesting from a geological
point of view, but, as far as I know, it is not inhabited now, and the
few Kurilsky Ainu who formerly lived there migrated further south from
one island to another, till Shimushir[32] and Urup[33] afforded them a
more hospitable home. However, they were not to live there for long, for
the Japanese Government, asserting that subjects of the empire who chose
to live so far could not be properly looked after, sent the small ship
on which I was now travelling on a mission with orders to bring them all
down to the formerly deserted island of Shikotan. The orders had to be
obeyed; and reluctantly setting fire to the huts which they were about
to abandon and never to see again, ninety souls, all that remained of
that nomad tribe of Ainu, were embarked and carried into exile at
Shikotan. The quiet life on the Shikotan rocks little suits the roaming
disposition of the Kurilsky Ainu; and though even formerly they were
rapidly dying out, the rate of mortality has increased since their
exile. Having thus verified the fact that of the "Thousand Islands" of
the Chishima group only three are inhabited, I shall avoid giving a
monotonous description of each bare-looking islet and rock, and I shall
land my readers at Shikotan, on a visit to the Kurilsky Ainu, who are
important to us in connection with the Ainu of Yezo.

    [32] _Shimushir_, High Island.

    [33] _Urup_, name given to a kind of salmon.

It was early in the morning when I looked out of the porthole, and by a
fine moonlight saw that we were close to the coast. Huge cliffs and
peaks, ending in a sharp point, some converging towards one another,
some standing upright against the whitish cold sky, were reflected in
the smooth water under the lee of the island. The moon, surrounded by a
yellowish halo, shone bright over the rugged scene, giving delicate
bluish tints to all the shadows; while the water, disturbed and cut by
the prow of our craft, rose in gentle waves, pursuing one another, as if
running for a place of refuge in the mysterious dark shadows of the
cliffs. So weird, so enchanted and wild was the scene, that I jumped out
of my stuffy bunk and went on deck. There I stood, notwithstanding the
cold, gazing at the gigantic overhanging black rocks, at the precipices,
crevices, and natural openings through which now and then the radiant
moon peeped, covering the dark green water with a long undulating streak
of silver dashes. There I stood, listening to the voices of the waves,
which rippled on the shingle, contemplating this strange and poetic work
of nature. I am certain that if sirens there ever were in this world,
their home must have been among the whimsical and _bizarre_ rocks of
Shikotan Island. The old "tub" on which I was "ploughing the waves"
moved slowly through this heavenly spectacle of ever-increasing beauty.
When the sun rose, enchantment was added to enchantment. The cold bluish
colour of the rocks became gradually warmer; and, as the light grew
stronger, the tops of the cliffs turned into a mass of brilliant
colours. Nature was waking slowly from her torpid sleep, and, in the
freshness of the morning, a light breeze, caressing the shore, brought
with it the smell of land.

The captain, a Japanese, informed me that we should soon enter the
harbour of Shikotan, and, pointing to some huge pillars, said that was
the entrance. We drew nearer and nearer to it, and the nearer we drew
the more I became convinced that the captain was under an
hallucination. I could only see rock after rock, huge pillar after huge
pillar; but no entrance whatever.

"We are just going in," said the captain, laughing at my astonishment,
and he gave orders to the quartermaster at the wheel to steer straight
for one of the pillars. We were but a few yards from it when our craft
was made to swing rapidly on her starboard side, and we turned round a
gigantic shoulder of rock, to find ourselves in a narrow channel. One
minute later we were in a pretty circular harbour, surrounded by high
peaks--in fact, a kind of "fiord." The access to this harbour is
certainly difficult to find, but when you are fairly in, it is seen to
afford a well-sheltered anchorage. It has more the appearance of a small
mountain lake than that of a sea-harbour; and undoubtedly it is a
submerged crater. It is perfectly circular, and very deep, but not of
large capacity. Directly opposite the entrance, on the shore, is a small
narrow valley, on which is situated the village of the Kurilsky Ainu.
Four men rowed me ashore, and I went to the village.

When the Japanese imported these Kurilsky Ainu to Shikotan, they allowed
them to build their huts in their own way; but this done, a railing with
a gate was erected, closing the entrance of the valley which overlooks
the harbour, thus preventing the poor wretches from abandoning the
island to resume their migratory habits, and return to their more
northern homes. Inside this gate two rows of huts, exactly similar to
those of the Yezo Ainu, have been constructed by the exiles. There are
sixteen huts altogether, and not a single one of them is built over a
pit. In Chapter IX, I have fully explained the characteristics and mode
of living, which leaves no doubt as to these people being proper Ainu,
and not pit-dwellers, as some have asserted; though of course their type
is slightly modified by external conditions--a common occurrence in all
races. Take a Londoner, a provincial, and a seaman, and though they be
all three Englishmen, one will have a washed-out look, the other will be
healthy and strong, but not so sturdy, wiry, and weather-beaten as the
sailor. The same natural process is at work with this tribe of Ainu.
They conform their life according to circumstances and places; and
though they possess the same general characteristics as the rest of the
Ainu, in some small details they cannot but differ from them.

Shikotan was a deserted island previous to these poor wretches being
transplanted there by the Japanese Government. It does not abound in
game, like Shimushir, Urup, or Poromushir, whence they were taken.

[Illustration: SHIKOTAN AINU.]

The story of this tribe of Ainu is a sad one. Hunting, sealing, and
fishing were their only aims in life, their only pastimes, the only
things they lived for. At Shikotan they have none of these things. There
is no big game; the only animal found being a beautiful species of white
long-tailed fox. There are no large rivers at Shikotan; there is hardly
any vegetation, and the whole island is nothing but a mass of barren

The food of the Kurilsky Ainu consisted chiefly of meat of bear and
seals, berries, and eggs of sea-birds. They were a migratory people, and
in their small cranky canoes they often crossed from one island to
another, carrying with them all their property, consisting of skin
garments and fishing and hunting implements, these latter the same as
those employed by other Ainu. The dress of the men is shaped like a
short tunic, made of sea-birds' skins, with the feathers inside. Some of
the smart ones are trimmed with seal, and they are worn fastened round
the waist with a girdle of sealskin or a belt of sea-lion hide, often
ornamented with molten lead buttons or Chinese cash. The women's garment
is much longer, and reaches nearly to the feet; it falls loosely, and
has long sleeves covering the hands; it is fastened with a girdle in bad
weather, and the gown is then pulled up to the knee, showing the long
yellow boots. When carrying water or working this is also done, as it
gives greater freedom to the limbs, making walking and all movement much
easier. A red, yellow, or brightly-coloured handkerchief, of Russian
manufacture, is tied round the neck and another round the back of the
head, and this makes the women look like Italian peasants. As the gown
is worn usually loose it has the identical shape of a dressing-gown; it
is ornamented with yellow feathers of puffins round the neck and the
edge. Both men and women wear either moccasins, or long boots made of
sealskin, with the fur inside, or else they wear salmon-skin boots, like
the Ainu of Yezo. No woman that I saw at Shikotan had a moustache
tattooed round her lips, or any tattoo marks on her arms. Very few of
them wore earrings, though all had the ears bored for that purpose, and
had worn them. The earrings which they possessed were mostly strings of
coral beads and metal ornaments of Russian manufacture, which, like the
brightly-coloured handkerchiefs, they had received in bartering with the
crew of a sealing schooner. Since they have been at Shikotan the men
have been presented with old caps and overcoats, similar to those of the
Japanese police. Previous to this, however, when the Kuriles were under
the rigid Russian _régime_, the Kurilsky Ainu men were compelled to trim
their hair and beard, which was the first step taken by the priests of
the Coptic Church in Christianising these nomadic barbarians. When this
hair-dressing order was complied with, as the first link of the chain,
the Coptic creed was enforced on them, and the barbarous Kurilsky Ainu
became well-trimmed orthodox Christians.

At Shikotan, as it is, fishing on a small scale is their main
occupation, praying the next, and Jacko, the chief of the village, is
the high priest. Jacko's predecessor, in fulfilling the duties of this
high post, was a man who had dropped his Ainu name, and had been
baptized as Alexandrovitch. His house is now occupied by Jacko. It is
the first on the right-hand side when the village is entered from the
harbour side, and it is larger than any of the others; it is built of
wood instead of rushes and reeds. The interior is divided into two
rooms, and in the second are three stands, the middle one of which has a
cross on it. On each of these stands is a Russian Bible, with images
hanging on the page-marks. Several rough stools and a couple of benches
are placed in rows in front of these stands, and on the walls hang two
or three Russian religious images. Taken altogether, and compared with
other Ainu huts, Jacko's chapel had quite a stately appearance.

Just as the Ainu of Yezo have partly acquired the Japanese language, the
Kurilsky Ainu have learned to talk Russian, besides speaking an Ainu

On Sundays, or on any day which Jacko thinks is a Sunday, the chief
reads the mass before a congregation of the other fifty-nine hairy
Christians of the Russian Orthodox Church; he does not spare them a
sermon, which sometimes lasts half the day, and his audience are most
attentive and well behaved. None of them would think of leaving church
before service is over; but one detail in which these hairy Christians
are not yet fully Christianised is, that no collection plate is ever
sent round! The Kurilsky Ainu have undoubtedly accepted the form of
their adopted religion, but I rather doubt whether they have fallen in
with the principle. Their former barbarian ideas and superstitions are
still well rooted in their brain, and each individual was a curious and
enviable combination of a perfect heathen and a thorough Christian,
according to what suited him or her better at the time being. In other
words, they believed in two diametrically opposed principles, one of
which fitted in with every phase of their life when the other was

As many as ninety people, all told, were landed at Shikotan, but thirty
had already succumbed when I visited the island. A graveyard on a hill
on the west side of the village was indeed a sad reminder of this fact.
It will not be long before all the others will pass away, for
consumption and rheumatism have a great hold on most of the wretches. In
ten years from now, I dare say, not one of the Kurilsky tribe of Ainu
will be left on this earth. It is pitiful that the last remains of these
independent people will end their days secluded and in exile on the
barren rocks of Shikotan.

As it is, they seem to take life easily, and, with a characteristic
proper to all nomadic peoples, they make the best of what they can get.
They are not shy, and they have dropped the formalities and grand
salutations of other Ainu. They are, however, as dirty, especially in
their homes. The women dress their hair in small tresses.

The children wear long gowns similar to those of the women, and one or
two of the children I saw had very fair hair. As will be seen by the
illustrations, some of the men and women possess good features, more
resembling those of European races than those of Mongolian type. They
are gentle and quiet, like all other Ainu. They are submissive, and
resigned to their sad fate.

The island of Skikotan is almost circular in shape, and it has one or
two small anchorages on its north coast. I judged its diameter to be
about twelve or thirteen miles. Etorofu and Kunashiri, though much
larger in size, are of less interest to us in connection with the Ainu,
as most of that race found there migrate from Yezo during the fishing
season; therefore, nothing is to be added about them.

Etorofu is a long, narrow, but irregular island, over one hundred miles
in length, and varying in breadth from five or six to twenty miles. It
is very mountainous, and has some bold, rugged scenery, owing to its
volcanic formation. Etorofu is by far the largest island of the Kurile
group, and it possesses many safe anchorages, especially on its
north-west coast, where several mountainous capes branch off the narrow
strip of land, and afford small ships a fairly safe harbourage from west
and south-westerly winds. Unfortunately, however, they are open to
northerly and north-east gales, during the prevalence of which, should a
ship happen to be cruising about in those latitudes, she would have to
run for a shelter to the south-east coast. The south-east coast is not
peopled, with the exception of a very few huts near Moyorotake, or "Bear
Bay," at its most south-eastern point. A better shelter, however, is to
be found in the bay, nearly in the middle of the island, on the shores
of which are a few huts at Onembets and Imotsuto. Most of the coast is
deserted, and the south-east portion is very rocky, huge cliffs, with
high richly-coloured mountains in the background, ending like an
impassable wall into the sea. Where the island is narrower there are
some low terraces with scrub bamboo and stunted trees. Larch is found in
Etorofu, while it is seldom found in Yezo. Heather-like plants are also
indigenous in Etorofu, and cranberry bushes are frequent near the coast.
From Betoya or Bettobu Bay down to its most south-western point Etorofu
is all mountainous, with the exception of a small valley near Rubets.
It is along the banks of the Bettobu River, in that small valley and on
those terraces, that the numerous pits of the Koro-pok-kuru are found,
and also at Rupets, further south on the same coast. This, however, I
have already explained in connection with the pit-dwellers. The two
small fishing-stations above mentioned are respectively under the lee of
the headlands ending in Cape Ikahasonets and Notoro Cape. On the first
headland the mountain of Tsiriju rises to a great altitude. The largest
fishing-station is at Shana, on the western side of this headland, and
further north, besides Bettobu, is the small station of Shibets.
South-west of Shana one finds Rubets, Furubets, Oitoi, and Naibo, the
latter in the bay of the same name. There are five lakes in Etorofu, two
of which are between Shana and Bettobu, one near Rubets, the other close
to Naibo; the fifth is a very small one, fifteen or sixteen miles
north-east of Bettobu. The country has a rugged look, and in some
places, as near Rubets, where the volcanic mountain masses leave space
for low terraces the scrub-bamboo is very thick, as in Yezo, and small
and stunted trees form the chief vegetation. Larch is more common on the
north-west coast than on the south-east. Good timber is rather scarce in
Etorofu, but a fair quantity of it is to be found inland, and also at
the south-western portion of the island about Naipo.

Accumulations of sulphur are found at Ichibishinai, and there is an
active volcano south-east of Bettobu, besides the beautiful volcanic
cone of Atzosa, three or four thousand feet above sea-level. All this
volcanic mountain mass, with its warmly-tinted peaks, bears the
characteristics of the central portion of Yezo; and there seems to be
little doubt that all this row of islands, with the frequent submerged
craters and volcanic cones, is nothing but the continuation of the
volcanic zone in Yezo. The main resource of Etorofu is the fishing. Four
different kinds of salmon and salmon-trout are found, one similar to the
salmon common in Yezo, the others somewhat differently marked. Salmon is
extremely plentiful, and in July and August enormous catches are made,
especially at the mouths of the rivers, where the fish are closely
packed together.

The Pico Strait, between Etorofu and Kunashiri, is about fourteen miles
wide, and a strong current from the Okhotsk Sea passes through it,
causing the sea to break in heavy tide-rips and overfalls similar to
those observed in the La Perouse Strait, between Yezo and Sakhalin.
Similar tide-rips are observed also in the channel between Etorofu and
Urup, but, being much wider (about twenty-four miles), they seem there
less formidable.

Kunashiri is the next largest island in the Kuriles after Etorofu. It is
about sixty-five miles long, and very narrow; varying from three to
eight miles in width. The north-east portion is somewhat wider, and
extremely mountainous. The highest peak of this mountain range is the
Tcha-Tcha-Nobori (the old-old-mountain), which is said to be about seven
thousand five hundred feet above the level of the sea. From this volcano
starts a chain of hills--some pyramidal in form, others somewhat rounder
at the top--which forms the backbone of the island. Two more active
volcanoes besides the Tcha-Tcha are on the south-west portion of
Kunashiri, but they do not rise to a very great altitude. On Horanaho or
Rausu volcano sulphur accumulations are found, and at Pontoo (small
lake) sulphur bubbles out from the lake bottom, and seems to be worked
with profit. The Tcha-Tcha-Nobori is curiously shaped. It is like a
large cone cut about half-way up in a section, to which a smaller cone
has been attached, leaving a wide ring right round. It is extremely
picturesque, and a worthy finish to the strange outline of Kunashiri

Vegetation and products are the same as in Etorofu. Salmon is plentiful,
and a few fishing-stations are spread out here and there at long
intervals on the coast. As in Etorofu, the population of Kunashiri
migrates there from Yezo during the fishing season, and leaves the
island almost deserted in winter. The strait separating it from Yezo is
only ten or twelve miles wide. Bears and foxes are said to be very
numerous in all the larger islands of the Kuriles, and seals are
captured in large quantities during the winter months, more especially
in the islands nearer Kamschatka. Small game, as ducks, snipes, and
sandpipers, is abundant. Besides the ruggedness and strange aspect of
its numerous volcanic peaks, the bareness and the loneliness of the
coast, there is nothing in the Kurile group to entice the sightseer and
the pleasure-seeker to a cruise among the islands. The geologist and
zoologist, however, would find in the Kuriles a very rough but very
interesting field for their investigations, and a "good shot," who does
not mind a self-sacrificing and lonely life, would find some good sport
among the bears, especially in Kunashiri and Etorofu.


[Illustration: ABASHIRI ISLAND.]


On the East and North-East Coast--From Nemuro to Shari-Mombets.

I did not remain long at Nemuro after my return from the Kuriles; in
fact, I remained only a few hours, and again my baggage was lashed to
the pack-saddle, again I was perched on the top of this instrument of
torture, and soon was rapidly moving north towards the inhospitable
coast of the Okhotsk Sea.

The first few days of the lonely life of a peripatetic Robinson Crusoe
are unmistakably disagreeable, but after that initiation there is no
doubt that it is a fascinating life. I was more than glad when the gay
Nemuro was out of sight, and the noise and rumble of semi-civilisation
out of hearing. The editor and seven gentlemen of Nemuro accompanied me
for a few miles--then I was left to myself and my own resources.
Crossing the Onnetto River, the outlet of a large lagoon of the same
name, I passed through Nishibets and then Bitskai, where in former days
the Japanese had established a salmon-canning factory, which proved a
failure, owing to the incapacity of its directors and workmen. Salmon is
very abundant in the Nishibets River, and a well-managed canning factory
would be a great success. About ten or eleven miles north of Bitskai a
peculiar peninsula stretches out from north-east to south-west, which
affords a shelter for small junks from northerly winds. It is called
Noshike, and is not more than a few feet above the sea-level. The soil
all along is very marshy, and the numerous little rivulets and rivers
are extremely troublesome to cross. My pony was continually sinking into
and struggling out of mud-holes, into which it had fallen when wading
across these small watercourses, sometimes not more than a few feet
wide. I pushed on as far as Shimbets, where there are only a shed and a
couple of Ainu huts inhabited by half-castes. I had to put up here for
the night, and by the light of a wick burning in a large oyster-shell
filled with fish-oil I wrote a few notes in my diary. The fleas in that
house were something appalling. The next morning I had some fun with a
wild pony, which I received in exchange for the tired animal I had

"Nobody can get on him," said the Ainu half-caste, "but if you think you
can ride him he will go like the wind."

It took all hands in the small village to get the pack-saddle and
baggage on to his back, and after we had tied him to a post and lashed
his fore legs together I mounted. By instalments he was untied, let
loose, and then afforded us some real fun. He revolved, bucked, kicked,
stood on his hind legs, and did his very best to bite my legs and knock
me off the saddle. A small fence was kicked and smashed into a thousand
bits, and he even attempted to enter the huts--anything to get rid of
his rider; but he did not succeed. His next trick was to plunge into the
river close by, and when he reached the middle to shake himself
violently. He then came out on the other side, and, turning his head,
saw as well as felt that I was still on his back; then he neighed as if
in great distress, and bolted. He galloped along the small track, and
really did go "like the wind." As a punishment I made him keep up the
pace even when he was tired of his contumacy, and in less than no time I
reached Shibets, ten miles distant from where I had started.

Shibets is a village of one hundred Japanese houses and twenty Ainu
huts. The Ainu here have almost altogether adopted Japanese clothes, as
well as something of the Japanese style of living. The river which goes
by the same name is notable for the quantity and good quality of salmon
caught in it, and it is the best salmon-fishing river on the north-east
coast of Yezo. Herrings are also abundant, but not to the same extent
as on the south-east coast. A peculiarity of the river is that before
entering the sea it turns sharply south and runs along a bank of sand
and mud, which is growing larger every year, which shows that a current
from the Okhotsk Sea must travel down in that direction through the
strait between Kunashiri and Yezo. The same peculiarity is noticeable in
nearly all the rivers of the north-east coast.

From Shibets to Wembets the track is fairly even, but from Wembets round
Cape Shiretoko it is in many places impassable even on foot. The
Peninsula, ending in Cape Shiretoko, is a mass of high volcanic
mountains towards the interior, while scabrous cliffs and huge rocks
fringe the line of coast. However, from Shibets there is a small
mountain track inland which brings the traveller across to the
north-east coast near Shari. The track was through beautiful forests of
pine trees, oak, birch, and elm, and during the first few miles it is on
almost level ground. After that, hill after hill is ascended and
descended, and one goes ever onwards at a higher altitude, until Rubets,
a small shed, is reached. From here the track follows a zig-zag
direction till it reaches the summit of the mountain range, and one then
begins to descend on the other side. From the summit there is a lovely
view of beautiful blue mountains in the distant west, one of which is
called Oakan, and the other Moyokan. The mountainous part of the track
from Igiani, three miles from Shibets, as far as the north-east coast,
reminded me much of the scenery in Switzerland, with its rapid and
limpid fresh-water rivers, thickly-wooded country, and green grass,
which last was replaced here by an undergrowth of scrub bamboo. When I
went across this mountain pass the rain was pouring in torrents, and the
road, such as it was, being very slippery and heavy, I only reached the
north-east coast at dark. The moon would not rise till late, there were
heavy black clouds, and I was more than puzzled how to find my way.

To add to my bad luck, my pony this time was a sorry beast, with his
back a mass of sores. I was simply drenched with the rain that never
ceased. Now and then, by the blinding flash of lightning, I could see a
long stretch of sand and a line of sand-hills; I could also see the
reeds bending low under the squalls, and then everything was darkness
again. I was leading my tired beast, and dragging him along as well as
I could. Every few yards the wretched creature collapsed, and it took a
lot of petting, caressing, encouraging and beating to make him get up
again. I had ridden and walked about fourteen hours in the rain, and was
nearly frozen to death.

Since I had got out of the forest a bitterly cold north wind chilled me
through and through, and added the last touch to my weariness and
discomfort. Again the pony fell, and all my efforts to make him get up
were useless. The storm, if anything, seemed to increase in violence,
while my own strength was decreasing every minute. I lay down by the
side of the pony, trying to warm myself by his heat, and, shivering and
rattling my teeth together, I tried to go to sleep.

A couple of hours were spent in this way, and when the moon rose I could
see a little clearer. I climbed with hands and feet on to the
sand-hills, and I fancied I saw some dark spots in the distance. Could
they be Shari? First one end of my whip, then the other, was reduced
into pulp on my pony's back, and with a great effort he again stood on
all four legs. I had to support the wretch all the way, as you would a
drunken man, and we went at the rate of less than a mile an hour. The
spots grew bigger and bigger, and took the shape of huts.

"Hem, hem, hem, hem!" I called out at the first hut, while three or four
dogs barked furiously and went for my legs. "Will you let a stranger
sleep here to-night?"

"This is no house for strangers; go elsewhere!" answered a drowsy hoarse
voice from inside.

"May you be kept--hot!" said I, in pure Ainu fashion, though in my heart
I attached quite a different meaning to the sentence from that which the
hairy people give it; and wearily I pulled myself together and passed

A shadow crept out of one of the huts, and thanks to that shadow I found
a shelter for the night. There are fifty Ainu huts at Shari, and ten
Japanese, with an Ainu population of about one hundred souls. The Ainu
here have adopted Japanese clothes, and many of them eat Japanese food
when they can get it. The Ainu women of Shari are exceedingly pretty,
as they do not tattoo the long moustache across their faces, like other
Ainu. Some of them have a small semicircular tattoo on the upper lip,
which is not very displeasing to the eye; and in some cases is even
becoming. The girls have also given up tattooing their arms. The men are
much taller than the Ainu men of other regions, and they seem to be
rather ill-natured. Japanese blood can be detected in many of them, and
that may account for it. While the women are prettier, the men have
repulsive faces, possessing all the characteristics of purely criminal

One young fellow who sat for me was the very image of Robespierre in his
worst moments, and an old man who sat for me afterwards would, according
to Phrenology, prove to be a murderer of the first water. This gentleman
was a troublesome sitter, and excelled in making the most awful faces,
which were accompanied by sounds imitating those of wild beasts. The
Shari Ainu build their storehouses with cylindrical roofs, similar to
those of their brethren on the Kutcharo Lake.

After the heavy storm of the previous night the weather cleared up for
the rest of the day, and the sunset, reflected in the limpid waters of
the river, was simply magnificent. On the other side, sheltered by the
sand-hills, were a few Ainu huts standing out against the brilliant red
and yellow sky, and here and there a large fish jumped out of the water,
leaving circle after circle of concentric rings to break for the moment
the reflection in the water.

From Shari to Abashiri the road is for some distance among trees, mostly
fir and spruce, and then the Tobuts Lake is reached, half of which is a
mere marsh. It is picturesquely situated, and I followed its borders for
about three miles, having the sea on one side, the lake on the other.
The track was easy and mostly on sand. At the outlet of the lake into
the sea is the Ainu village of Tobuts, access to which is to be had only
by boat, as the river is extremely deep, and its current very swift.

In the proximity of Tobuts another and smaller lake, the Opoto, with its
short and winding estuary, is on the left of the traveller, while a long
way ahead the Abashiri rocks stand high on the horizon. A few Ainu huts
are scattered along the coast, and some of them have peculiarly shaped
storehouses. They are small, built entirely of wood, and roofed with
shingles. Some have two floors, and in this case, though built on piles,
the first floor is only a few inches above the ground. The "mat" was
supplanted by a wooden door at the entrance of the storehouse.

The Abashiri cliffs are grand, and from a distance have all the
appearance of, though they are not in reality, basaltic rocks. They are
scarred, riven, and fractured in all directions, as if by excessive
heat. The upper portion of the cliffs is of a beautiful grey-whitish
colour, blending into yellow and red at their warm brown bases. The
small cylindrical islet which I give in the illustration is on the north
side of this cliff, and is of the same volcanic formation. It has
certain traces of sulphur as a further evidence of its origin. Flocks of
sea-gulls, penguins, and cormorants have chosen this island for their

Abashiri is the only place on the north-east coast which may eventually
be of some importance, as it has a fair anchorage for small craft under
the lee of the islet and outstretching cliff. No other place on the
north-east coast possesses such an advantage. On the Shiretoko Peninsula
sulphur accumulations are found at Itashibeoni; but, unfortunately, the
want of a safe harbour, the ruggedness of the coast, and the lack of
drinkable water in the vicinity, are all facts which make it improbable
that it could be worked with profit for some years to come. The Ainu at
Abashiri are repulsive creatures, especially the men, and have more the
appearance of wild beasts than human beings. Their faces are almost
square, the mouth large, with narrow lips, the ends of which converge
towards the ears. The nose is short and stumpy, they have very heavy
eyebrows, and the eyes are almost lost under the shadow of their
projecting forehead.

Ponies are scarce and bad along this coast, and the further north one
goes the more difficult the travelling becomes; the huts are rarer; the
human beings more uncouth and solitary. The north-east coast is a region
of swamps, lagoons, and quicksand rivers.

Not far inland from Abashiri there is a large lagoon, the Abashiri-ko;
then, a few miles further north, another as large--the Notoro-ko. The
Abashiri Lake finds an outlet in a river which goes by the same name of,
and falls into the pretty Bay of Abashiri; but the Notoro-ko, as well as
the larger lagoon of Saruma-ko, which one comes upon after having passed
the two villages of Tukoro and Tobuts, open directly into the sea. The
strong current and the tide often block the entrance of these lagoons,
and the rising water finds an outlet in a different spot. These lagoons
are separated from the sea by a long and narrow strip of sand-hill; and
crossing the outlet always involves great danger if the unwary traveller
does not choose the right moment. The tide creating a great inequality
of level between the sea and the lake, it follows that at the opening of
the lagoon the water either throws itself from the sea into the lagoon,
or _vice versâ_, according to the ebb or flow, and makes a kind of
whirlpool. The Saruma Lake being much larger than any of the others,
while its mouth is much smaller, and underlaid with quicksands, the
danger is even greater, and the safest way is always to get across in a
boat at slack water. The Saruma Lake is about fifteen miles in length
and from two to three miles wide. Its water is salt, and large
oyster-banks are found in it. It is also a favourite resort for seal and
mallard. In winter they can be killed in great numbers, but in the
warmer months they are shy, and very difficult to approach. The
south-western shore of the lake is thickly wooded, and has as a
background a long range of high mountains with smaller mountains in
front of it.

At Tobuts, a small village of a few huts, situated at the mouth of the
Saruma lagoon, I halted for the night. There was a change in my diet
that day, and I was entertained, or rather I entertained myself, to an
oyster supper. They were enormous oysters, similar to those found at
Akkeshi, but not very palatable. However, I was in luck that day, and
not only did I have this oyster supper, but I actually was the hero of a
tender little idyll. In this country surprises never come alone, and
while I was sketching in the twilight to pass away the time, a tall slim
figure of a girl came out of one of the huts. She had slipped her arms
out of her robe, leaving the latter to hang from the girdle, and her
breasts, arms, and the lower half of her legs were uncovered. She was
pretty and quaint with her tattooed arms and a semicircular black spot
on her upper lip. She walked a few steps forward, and when she saw me
she stopped. She looked at me and I looked at her. Hers, with her soft
eyes, was one of those looks which a man feels right through his body,
notwithstanding all the self-control he may possess. There she stood, a
graceful silhouette, with a bucket made of tree-bark in one hand and a
vine-tree rope in the other, her supple figure almost motionless, and
her eyes fixed on me. She was the most lovely Ainu girl I had ever come
across, and not nearly so hairy as most of them. Indeed, in that soft
twilight, and her wavy long hair blown by the fresh breeze, she was a
perfect dream.

[Illustration: AN AINU BELLE.]

"Wakka!" ("Water!") cried an angry old voice from inside the hut,
interrupting the beginning of our romance, and she sadly went to the
brook, filled her bucket with water, and took it into the hut. It was
only a few seconds before she reappeared, and came closer, and I
finished the sketch somewhat hurriedly.

"Let me see the tattoo on your arm," I asked her, and to my surprise the
pretty maid took my hand in both her own, gave me one of those looks
that I shall never forget, and her head fell on my shoulder. She
clutched my hand tightly, and pressed it to her chest, and a force
stronger than myself brought her and myself to the neighbouring forest.
There we wandered and wandered till it grew very dark; we sat down, we
chattered, we made love to each other; then we returned. I would not
have mentioned this small episode if her ways of flirting had not been
so extraordinary and funny. Loving and biting went together with her.
She could not do the one without doing the other. As we sat on a stone
in the semi-darkness she began by gently biting my fingers, without
hurting me, as affectionate dogs often do to their masters; she then bit
my arm, then my shoulder, and when she had worked herself up into a
passion she put her arms round my neck and bit my cheeks. It was
undoubtedly a curious way of making love, and when I had been bitten all
over, and was pretty tired of the new sensation, we retired to our
respective homes.

In the evening, as I was writing my diary by the light of one of the
oyster-shell primitive lamps, somebody noiselessly crept by my side. I
turned my head round. It was she! She grew more and more sentimental as
it grew later, and she bestowed on me caresses and bites in profusion.
Kissing, apparently, was an unknown art to her. The old woman, in whose
house I was, slept soundly all through this, as old women generally do
on such occasions. By the mysterious light of the dying wick, casting
heavy shadows, which marked her features strongly, with her jet-black
wild hair fading away into the black background, with her passionate
eyes, and her round, statue-like arms, the girl was more like a strange
fairy than a human being.

I sketched her twice in pencil, and the wick--that wretched wick!--grew
feeble, and, for the lack of oil, began to dwindle away. I persuaded her
to return to her hut, and with a few "bites" my hairy maid and I parted.

The morning came, and I was up early. In the vicinity of the huts I
found three Koro-pok-kuru pits similar to those we have already seen;
and previous to arriving at Tobuts I also found a fort belonging to the
pre-Ainu race. From Tobuts, continuing my journey north, on the stretch
of sand between the water of the sea and that of the Saruma lake the
travelling was fairly easy but monotonous. The long chain of mountains
on the other side of the lake was magnificent in the morning light. For
twenty-two miles this went on; then I had to cross the Yubets River in
the picturesque spot where its waters divide before again uniting close
to the sea. North of this river there are three more lagoons--the
Komuki, the Shibumotzunai, and the Yassuchi, the first two of which have
direct estuaries into the sea, generally blocked by drift-sand, and both
are as dangerous as the Saruma lagoon when the water unexpectedly
overflows. Owing to the heavy rains on the mountains the level of the
lakes had risen considerably when I went through, and crossing the mouth
of the first in a flat-bottomed boat, I was nearly swamped. The Ainu who
was ferrying me across did not lose his presence of mind, and after a
long struggle and violent efforts we reached the opposite shore. Yubets
is a village of eighteen Ainu and three Japanese huts. The Ainu along
these shores are extremely hairy, and some of them have red beards,
while others are bald. Near some of their huts you may see cages where
foxes and eagles are kept in captivity.

The women, all the way to Soya Cape, the most northern point of Yezo,
have given up tattooing a long moustache and their arms. A small
semicircular spot, similar to the tattoo of the Shari women, is
nevertheless not uncommon. Bears, yellow and black, again are said to be
in huge quantities on the thickly-wooded mountains at the back of the
Saruma and other lagoons.

The coast is most desolate-looking. One may travel mile after mile
without seeing a hut or meeting a single human being. Now and then, when
I came to a lonely fisherman's hut, I was civilly treated; and, riding
from morn till night, I reached Shari Mombets, where there are forty
Ainu huts and about the same number of Japanese fishermen's shanties. It
has a small anchorage for small junks only; but, unfortunately, it is
not well protected, as the reef of rocks which runs in a north-east
direction does not extend far out to sea. I was roughly treated here at
first, for some Russian convicts, who had escaped from Sakhalin in an
open boat, had been drifted by the current down this coast, and
previously to my arrival had landed in the vicinity of this village.
They were half starved, and could not speak a word of the language. They
had no money and no clothes, and none of the natives seemed willing to
help them in any way. Now that the long-wished-for freedom was obtained
after years of servitude and chains, the four brave men, who had
suffered agonies for days, and had almost miraculously escaped death in
the treacherous currents of the Otkoshk Sea, were certainly not to be
outwitted by a handful of hard-hearted Japanese or by a pack of hairy
Ainu. They begged for food and could not obtain it, so they stole it,
and ill-treated some of the natives who interfered. They then
disappeared towards the south. When I put in an appearance, all alone
and almost in rags, leading and dragging my tired pony, it is not
astonishing that the first thing that struck them was that I must be
another escaped Russian, "or bad man from Krafto,"[34] as the Ainu
called me.

    [34] _Krafto_, Ainu word for Sakhalin.

The reception I received was pretty stormy; but when I understood what
the matter was which caused the rioting, I set their minds at rest, and,
speaking in their own language, told them that the "bad men of Krafto"
were my enemies as well as theirs, and that, should I find them, I would
punish them. Not only that, but, to make them perfectly at ease, I gave
them some little present of money, which turned them at once into
friends. As to the Russian convicts, there was no possibility of my
finding them, for they were travelling towards the south from this
point, and I was moving towards the north, so I was perfectly safe in
passing myself off as a kind of supreme judge.

Shari Mombets is a miserable place. In the house where I put up I was
received by a young man, but the owner of the house did not show
himself. The next morning, however, as I gave much more money than they
expected, the landlord was brought to my room to thank me. The poor man
suffered from elephantiasis--the wretched disease by which the head and
all the limbs of the body assume gigantic proportions. His head was
swollen to more than twice its normal size, and had lost its shape; his
body was piteously deformed and inflated, his eyes nearly buried in
flesh. The weight of his head was such that the cervical vertebræ were
scarcely strong enough to support it erect; and when he bowed down in
Japanese fashion to thank me and bid me good-bye, I had to run to his
help, for he could not get up again. Poor man! And when we reflect that
in more civilised countries many people think themselves very ill and
suffering when they have a pimple on their nose, or a cold in their

[Illustration: SARUMA LAGOON.]



Along the Lagoons of the North-east Coast--From Shari Mombets to

I proceeded north. The Ainu scattered here and there on the coast seemed
to be hairier and uglier than any of their inland brethren. Two or three
women had already put on their winter fur garments, as the cold weather
had begun; and they looked extremely picturesque in them. Most of the
huts were uninhabited, and had been abandoned by their owners. The sky
was whitish and cold, and here and there along the beach some huge bones
of whales had been washed on shore by the tide. Some distance off an
outcast horse was attacked by thousands of famished crows. It is not an
uncommon occurrence in Yezo. The black scavengers generally attack very
young animals, and, flying on the pony's head, peck out its eyes. The
pony, frightened, and driven mad by pain, bolts, and in his blind and
reckless race either falls down a precipice and is killed outright, or
else is driven to the coast by these daring wretches, which continue to
peck at him with cruel and ceaseless avidity. There, with its way barred
by the waves, tortured to death, and neighing desperately, the helpless
beast succumbs, and affords the hungry birds a good meal, while hundreds
gathered thick on the body, peck the poor brute to death. Thousands of
others sit screaming in long rows round the scene of the fight,
attentively watching for the final result, when they too can join in,
and experience the joys of sated hunger. Nature can indeed be cruel.

I stopped at a hut. My host was decidedly peculiar. For convenience we
shall call him Omangus, which only means a "gone man," or a lunatic. I
had heard of him further south, and I was anxious to make his
acquaintance. I had not been five minutes in his hut before I perceived
that he really was a lunatic. His head was of an abnormally large size;
his skull was well developed at the back, with those prominent bumps
behind the ears which show great love of eating. His forehead was high,
and very slanting; the upper part was wider than near the eyebrows,
which were so thick and bushy as nearly to cover the eyes. His nose,
with its large nostrils, was stumpy and covered with hair, while his
enormous projecting eyes were restless and fierce. His luxuriant
moustache and beard matched the thick crop of long black hair which
covered his whole body. His legs were short, wiry, with stiff and
swollen joints, probably owing to rheumatism. His arms were very long,
and his toes were also abnormally long. Altogether he had the appearance
of a large orang-outang more than that of a human being. All his
movements resembled those of a wild beast, and now and then, when
pleased or dissatisfied, he would groan in a way not dissimilar to the
growling of a bear. In fact, he was labouring under the belief that he
was a wild beast of some sort, and apparently he regarded himself as a
"bruin." I never heard him speak or utter words, but whether he was
actually dumb or not I was not able to ascertain, as every time I tried
to examine his mouth he attempted to bite me. His biting, however, was
of a different nature from that of the sweet girl on the Saruma shores,
and when he did bite he bit well. One day in a struggle I came off
nearly minus two joints of the third finger of my right hand.

I several times attempted to take measurements of his skull and bones,
but with no success. Once, as I had got hold of him and was feeling the
"bumps" on his skull, he managed to disentangle himself, and grabbed me
by the hair, which led to a conflict, and caused me a "très mauvais
quart d'heure." We fought desperately, and I was thoroughly "licked";
not, however, before having found out that he had no bump of
sensitiveness and none of philoprogenitiveness. He was pleased with his
victory, and the hostilities ended. He hopped away cautiously, and I saw
him climb on his hands and feet over the cliff near his hut, where he

Some hours later I saw the monomaniac stealthily creeping back among the
rocks. I was some way from the hut, in a place where he could not see
me. He came slowly forward, watching the hut suspiciously, as he
evidently thought I was still inside. When he got near he stopped to
pick up a large stone, and with it in his right hand he sneaked along
towards the hut. He listened, and crept in. I followed immediately
after. He was furious when I entered, and tried to escape, but I barred
his way. He retreated into a corner, crouched down groaning, and showed
signs of impatience. I could see that he was frightened, and I went to
him and endeavoured to soothe him; not without success, for he became
quieter, and I once more noticed the great power that a stronger will
can exercise over a weaker one. As long as I was staring at him he never
dared to move, and I could "will" him to do almost anything I wanted by
thinking hard that he should do it; but when once I turned my eyes away
I had no more control over him.

This is just what happened that day. Thinking that he would keep quiet
for some minutes, I got out my palette and brushes in order to take his
likeness. I had till then relied on my power of "willing" people, when
my host, seizing the opportunity of my turning my head away for one
moment, grabbed the stone which he had picked up, and threw it with
great force at me. I was hit in the ribs, and was hurt sufficiently to
lose my temper. I went for him, and gave him a sound thrashing, which
sometimes has more effect than all the "willing" in the world. He became
docile after that, and I took him outside and forced him to squat down.

[Illustration: MY HOST, THE MADMAN.]

He was restless while I was painting him, and hundreds of half-starved
crows, which seemed to be on good terms with my sitter, gathered round
him, chatting in their incomprehensible and noisy language. Some of them
even flew on to his back and shoulders, and he touched them without
their flying away.

I was astounded at the familiarity which existed between the madman and
the birds. They seemed to understand each other, and had I only been
sufficiently imaginative I might have asserted that I even saw them
kissing him. Unfortunately, when the first astonishment was over I
understood the reason of the affection on the part of the scavengers,
and the whole mystery was unveiled to me. Like all mysteries, the
apparently extraordinary friendship between the madman and the black
birds turned out to be a plain bit of literal prose, and, I must add, a
very disgusting bit. The maniac was covered with vermin, and the
affectionate kisses of the crows were not kisses of love or sympathy,
but only mouthfuls of parasites, which they found among the thick hair
of his body.

Two or three times the maniac crawled up to me, and seemed anxious to
touch the colours on my palette, and also to put his fingers on the
sketch. He saw that he gained nothing by being a foe, so he became a
friend. He even became a great friend when I presented him with a shiny
silver coin.

Though Omangus was undoubtedly insane, he was a very practical person.
As will be seen by the illustration, his attire was simple, and no
allowance was made for pockets. He looked at the coin, turned it over in
his hands several times, and grinned; then he placed it in his mouth for
safe keeping. His mouth was apparently his purse. As I saw that he was
fond of silver coins, I gave him one or two more, and all of them were
religiously kept in the same natural pocket, except at night, when he
hid them under a large stone. At sunrise they were collected again and
placed back under his tongue or in one of his cheeks.

I cannot say that my host was by any means brilliant, but, like most
lunatics, he was a good soul apart from his little peculiarities. It was
unfortunate that he had lost the power of speech, or I might have learnt
some strange things from him.

Omangus was generally restless at night, and while asleep he seemed to
suffer from awful nightmares. Most Ainu as a rule do not. One morning at
dawn, as the first rays of light penetrated the hut, I watched him. He
had been groaning frightfully all night, and I had not been able to
sleep. He was lying flat on his back breathing heavily, and now and then
he had a kind of spasm, during which he ground his teeth together with
violence. It was during these spasms, or nervous contractions, that he
groaned most fiercely. As he was so stretched I noticed how
extraordinarily long his femur was compared to his tibia. I gently
placed my hand over his heart, and found it was beating rapidly and
irregularly. His forehead also was feverish and abnormally warm. He did
not wake up, but as soon as the nervous strain was over he fell into a
lethargic state. He appeared to have lost all strength, and it took me
some time to awake him; but he finally opened his eyes, and, drowsily
getting up, yawned to his heart's content, and went to fetch the hidden

The more I saw of Omangus, the more he puzzled me. His faculties were
defective; still, he seemed to possess a fairly good memory. If not, how
could he remember the concealed treasure? Although he was not able to
form ideas of his own, he could retain those which he had grasped. His
hearing was extremely acute, and his inability to speak must have
undoubtedly been caused by paralysis of the tongue and vocal organs.
Several times he made violent attempts to utter words, which he would
not have done had he been born dumb.

After the second day of my pleasant stay in Omangus' ten feet square
sea-side residence my host became more genial and even affectionate.
Instead of constantly running away from me he sat opposite me,
attentively watching all my movements; and if I happened to be
whistling, he slowly crept nearer, grinning with delight. Occasionally
he crouched himself by my side, even resting against me. I did not
approve of the latter proof of affection, not so much for his own sake
as on account of the "large company" which he carried with him; but I
had to put up with it until I found a counter-action in loud singing,
which frightened him away.

Omangus had a quantity of last year's salmon, which he had dried in the
sun, and which was now hanging from the roof of the little hut. The
first day or two of my stay there I had but little to eat, owing to his
belligerent behaviour. He rebelled every time that I attempted to touch
his provisions, and what I had to eat was generally appropriated while
my host was out. Afterwards, however, he became generous, and gave me
more than I wanted. He took good care to draw the three coins out of his
mouth while he was eating, but once, during a nervous fit, to which he
was often subject, he swallowed one of them.

One morning, weary of my lunatic friend's company, I packed all my traps
and went to fetch my pony. Omangus seemed aghast, suspecting that I was
about to leave. He was restless, and followed me, moaning, from the hut
to the pony and back, and, with a forlorn look in his eyes, watched me
bring the baggage outside and lash it to the pack-saddle. I gave him a
couple more silver coins, which I thought would make him happy; but he
dropped them in the sand. I bade good-bye to him and left; and there
poor Omangus stood motionless, gazing at me until the winding shore took
me round the cliff. He was out of sight for some minutes, but he soon
reappeared on the summit of the cliff itself, on to which he rapidly
climbed, and from this point of vantage he could see the coast for
several miles. There standing, a black figure against the rising sun,
the hairy Ainu became smaller and smaller as I moved away from him,
until nothing but a black spot could be seen against the sky; then even
that spot disappeared. It was the last I saw of my host the madman.

The rivers were troublesome all along this part of my journey, and as
most of them had quicksands, the safest plan was to cross them in a
boat, when this was obtainable. However, as I went further north the
boats became scarce and more scarce, and the small villages, few and
very far between. I seldom came across a human being with whom I could
exchange a word, and the constant solitude induced in me the bad habit
of talking to myself, to animals, or to inanimate objects. My
unfortunate pony was often lectured on different subjects, and the
millions of seagulls and penguins all along the coast were asked
questions of all sorts, which, however, they invariably left unanswered.
It was strange to see the myriads of birds stretched in two or three
lines along the shore. Like the "beasts which roamed over the plains" in
Alexander Selkirk's lament, they had seen so few human beings as to be
indifferent to me and my pony, and I could walk among them without
disturbing them or causing them to fly away. The penguins were my
greatest source of amusement, with their fat bodies and their funny way
of lifting up one leg as I was approaching, in order to get enough
spring to raise themselves from the ground had I attempted to capture
them. I was soliloquising, according to my then custom, while watching
these droll birds, when not more than two hundred yards ahead I saw two
large eagles. One of them was perched on a low cliff, the other was
flying about, now and then returning near to its mate. I dismounted,
with my revolver in my hand; I had a pocketful of cartridges. I crept
stealthily from rock to rock, keeping well out of their sight until I
came close to the pinnacled rock on which they stood. I was then about
fifty yards from them, and it was useless my firing at such a distance
with a revolver. I peeped over the rocks, and one of them saw me and
flew away, while the other remained where it was, stretching its neck in
my direction. Its piercing eyes were fixed full on me as I was
approaching; it understood that danger was imminent, and it seemed ready
to resist the attack. I drew nearer and nearer, and when about four
yards away I fired two shots, both of which went through its breast, and
the eagle, with its widespread wings, fell from its lofty pinnacle and
came down heavily on its back.

In its last convulsions it made desperate efforts to clutch me with its
long sharp claws; but a couple more shots finished it. The male bird,
which meanwhile had been describing circles high up in the sky over my
head, plunged down on me with incredible velocity. I emptied the last
chamber of my revolver into him, just as the wind of his large wings
made my eyes twinkle; and to evade the grip of his outstretched claws I
had to cover my face with my left arm. The report stunned him, and
flapping his wings, he rose again, to resume his circling over my head,
leaving a few of his feathers floating in the air. I reloaded quickly,
and each time he attacked me he was received with a volley. Another
bullet went through his wing, and his flying became unsteady; he flew
on to a distant cliff, and there he remained. I seized this opportunity
of carrying the dead bird away and lash it on to my saddle; but while I
was so engaged the male eagle flew back to the pinnacle where I had
first seen the two together, and stretching his enormous wings to their
full width, screamed as if in despair. On the pinnacle was their nest
and young, and that was why the female had kept watch and ward over her
eyrie, and also why she had not abandoned it even when I approached.

I mounted my pony and away I rode with my prey. The male bird followed
me for miles and miles, and now and then I had to fire to keep him at a
respectful distance. Ultimately he left me, and my delight was immense
when, instead of seeing him over my head, ready to plunge on me at any
moment, I saw him disappear behind the cliff, flying rapidly but
unsteadily back to his eyrie.

As I now made sure that he had no intention of pursuing me any longer, I
dismounted, and proceeded to skin the eagle I had shot. It was decidedly
a magnificent specimen. It measured seven feet from tip to tip of wings,
and its claws were nearly as large as a child's hand. The semicircular
nails measured two inches, and were extremely pointed, which fact made
me feel very thankful that I had just escaped the grip of its male
companion. The beak was enormous, of a rich yellow colour, the upper
mandible overlapping the lower. The feathers were black all over, with
the exception of the tail, which was white. I believe that this kind of
eagle is generally called the "black sea-eagle," and is found in
Kamschatka, Yezo, and also along the Siberian coast of the Japan Sea and
Gulf of Tartary.

I found a sheltered spot, and with my large Ainu knife proceeded to
dissect the bird. Each minute seemed as long as hours, for I feared the
male bird might reappear on the scene as I was thus occupied in
stripping the skin from the carcass of his beloved helpmate. There is no
knowing what effect anatomical researches might have on a Yezo eagle. My
heart bounded with joy when the operation was successfully completed,
and I went to wash my hands in the sea. I came back to the bird, or
rather its skin, and I was indeed proud of my work, when a horrid idea
struck me. How was I to get the skin dried? I should be moving day
after day, and it would not be possible to pack it in that condition
among my sketches; I had no arsenical soap, and unless I dried it in the
sun it would certainly rot, and get spoiled.

I resorted to a trick. I fastened two sticks crossways, and having stuck
one up the eagle's neck, I fastened the two opened wings to the two side
branches of the cross. The skin was thus kept well opened, and with two
additional strings, one at each wing, the frame was fastened on to my
back, the feathered side against my coat, while the inside was exposed
to the sun and the wind. In wading a river I saw my own image reflected
in the water, and I must confess the appearance was strange. A few hours
after a group of Ainu were able to certify to this. I was riding slowly
along the shore, when I saw a few of them not very far ahead. Two men
were the first to notice me, and they seemed terror-stricken. As I
approached they stood still for a minute, shading their eyes with their
hands so as to make out what kind of winged animal it was they saw
riding on horseback. When they discovered that the black wings were on a
human being, the two brave Ainu fled, crying out, "_Wooi, wooi!_" the
hairy people's cry of distress.

As I got nearer the village, dozens of wild dogs came to meet me, and,
barking furiously, followed my pony, while the few inhabitants,
frightened out of their wits at such an unusual sight, hid themselves
inside their huts. Two or three hurriedly launched their "dug-outs" and
put out to sea. When I passed the first hut some large salmon were
thrown at me from inside, probably with the idea that I might satisfy my
appetite on them, and spare the lives of the trembling donors. Food was
not over-plentiful along that coast, so I dismounted and picked up the
provisions so munificently provided by the scared natives. I tied them
on each side of my pack-saddle, not sorry to be thus saved from the
danger of dying of starvation--at least for the next two or three days.

As I was so occupied, a little child about four years old, evading the
vigilance of his parents, ran out of one of the huts. I took him in my
arms; whereat he cried bitterly, and when the people inside heard it
there were screams of indignation and despair.

Maternal love is occasionally strong even among Ainu women, and while I
tried hard to quiet the shrieking baby, his mother, as pale as the dirt
on her face allowed her to be, came out trembling, and, offering me
another large salmon, begged me to accept it in exchange for her child,
who, she said, was not good to eat! It is needless to say that I was
magnanimous enough to accept her offer, and thereupon handed the child
over to his mother, who fled with him back into the hut. Then I took off
my wings and went in after her, explaining to the frightened natives
what I really was. It took them some minutes, however, to overcome their
first impression, and then the men were pretty hard on the women for
having given all the salmon away. The same scene was more or less
vividly repeated when I came across any other natives during all the
time that I wore the eagle-skin on my back. I have related this small
anecdote, as, a few years hence, when some worthy missionary or
imaginative traveller visits that barren coast of Yezo, it is not
improbable that he may hear of some additional Ainu legend, which, the
good missionaries will say, proves that the Ainu are fully aware of the
existence of heaven and hell.

"A heathen child," the legend will very likely run, "whose parents had
not embraced our Christian faith, was one day plainly seen by his mother
in the arms of a black-winged devil. The devil was seen by many, and he
came from the lower regions on an unknown animal with huge side
paunches, in which he kept the heathen children he had eaten. The
mother, who, through her wickedness, saw herself deprived of her child,
gave offerings to the gods, some through the eastern window for the
sun-god, and some through the door for the other gods. The offerings
were accepted, but none of the gods came to her help, and the child was
nearly lost. Her guiding star appeared to her in that supreme moment,
and inspired her to reach down from the roof the largest salmon in
store. She walked out of the hut and offered it to another god, whom she
knew not before. Instantly the child was restored to his mother. (That
the god took the salmon would probably be omitted in the legend.) The
black-winged demon vanished, and the hut was visited by a white being
(freely translated, "the guardian angel"), with a halo (my white terai
hat) round his head. He rewarded them, and from that day the family has
been happy in the faith which they learned in such a miraculous manner."

"Does not this legend speak for itself?" the good missionaries will tell
us. "Does it not show that the savage Ainu are Christians without
knowing it?"

I have given these two versions of the same story, as they show the
reader how easy it is to garble accounts and misrepresent facts. It is a
good illustration of what I say in my chapter on the Ainu beliefs and
superstitions, and I must be forgiven if I have ventured to make fun of
the missionaries. It is not because I dislike them, for I gladly admit
that some of them out in the East have done good work; but,
unfortunately, most of them will not take an open-minded view of facts.
They are so wrapped up in their good work of converting people to
Christianity that, outside of that, they occasionally have a tendency to
tinge with their own preconceived ideas, facts which to a less biased
mind appear simple enough.



On the North-East Coast--From Poronai to Cape Soya.

It was late in the evening when I arrived at Poronai.[35] Saruru, the
last village I had passed, had only six Ainu and three Japanese huts,
and the nine or ten miles between there and this place were most
uninteresting. I was taken across one of the quicksand rivers in the
ferry by a lovely Ainu girl of about twelve years of age. I have never
seen a more picturesque being than she was. She was partly dressed in
skins, but half her chest was bare; her wildly-curled black hair fell
over her shoulders, and while gracefully paddling across the ferry she
occasionally threw back her head, thus shaking back the hair that the
wind had blown over her eyes.

    [35] _Poro_, large; _nai_, stream.

I have often noticed how supple the children of savages are, and how
like in ease and grace and unconscious rhythm their movements are to
those of wild animals. Sometimes, to be sure, they have the jerky,
quick, and ungraceful movements of monkeys, but as a rule their actions
are unconsciously graceful. Of course, with our children such
unconscious grace is rare at any time, even when found at all, as from
the day when they are born we train them to artificiality of all kinds,
and this artificiality becomes in a sense second nature, overlaying, if
not destroying, the original impress. And yet that impress is probably
not wholly destroyed, for, so far as my own experience goes, I, who had
from my birth led a civilised life, now that I had been for some months
among barbarians had so little conventionality left in me as to be quite
happy, or even happier than before, in leading a perfectly uncivilised
existence. In the absence of chairs and sofas, instinct and the example
of the natives taught me to squat as they did, and when I had once got
into the way of it I found the position much more restful than any of
our European so-called comfortable ways of sitting. It was the same
thing when I had to sleep, either in the open air or in Ainu huts, where
there was no more bedding than sofas or easy chairs. To protect myself
from the cold I almost invariably slept sitting on the ground, with my
head resting on my knees, just like the apes in the Zoological Gardens.
I am sure that a good many of my readers, who have never gone through
such an experience, will put me down as a "crank;" others will say that
I am a worthy companion of my friend the hairy lunatic, and the most
charitable will think that, bearing the name of "Savage Landor," I am
only indulging in a new edition of "Imaginary Conversations," without
the literary merits of the old. Such is not the case. I have mentioned
these facts, not to amuse the reader, or merely for the sake of paradox,
but to show how shallow is the veneer of civilisation which we are apt
to think so thorough, and how a very short time spent unaccompanied by
men of one's own stamp, and alone with "nature," rubs the whole thing
away, and brings us back to instinct rather than education. I am willing
to admit that not many people would care to follow in my footsteps, and
live as I lived for months among the Ainu in order to prove whether I am
right or wrong. Many who have only sat in comfortable chairs or slept in
soft beds will hardly think my statements credible; but as the
experiences, besides being of great amusement, were of great interest to
me, I shall pass them on to my readers, no matter what opinion they may
form of him who has written them.

Another quality, merely instinctive, which I developed in my lonesome
peregrinations was the power of accurate tracking. Most people are
astonished at the wonderful tales told of the tracking abilities of the
Australian black fellows, and of savages in general; but few ever think
that if when young they had led the same life as these savages they
would be as good trackers as the best. As there were absolutely no
roads, and I travelled with no guide, servant, or companion, the power
of discovering traces became invaluable to me. It was instinctive in me,
developed rather than acquired, and therefore I mention it in connection
with the other facts relating to animal and human instincts.
Furthermore, I may assert that, until I was thus compelled to make use
of that faculty, I was not aware that I possessed it.

We find that horses, bears, and most animals are good trackers. Dogs,
the nearest in intelligence to men, are better than any other quadruped.
Then come savages, who are the masters of tracking among human beings;
but as we rise in the scale of civilisation we find that this faculty of
following a slightly indicated track hardly exists. Does, then,
intellectual education destroy our instincts instead of improving them?

Tracking on sandy or tufaceous ground is an easy matter, as of course
the foot leaves a well-marked print; but where I found real difficulty
was over rocky ground, until I got used to it, and knew all the signs
and what I had to look for. However, with a little practice, even over
rocks which the sea has washed, it is not impossible to know if such and
such creatures, human or animal, have passed that way.

One of the first things in tracking is to look for marks where they are
likely to be; and this is just where the instinct comes in. Next to
this, a clear knowledge of the person's or animal's way of walking and
general habits is necessary. For instance, when I tried to discern
tracks of Ainu, I invariably looked for them along the sea-shore, and
failing that, on the adjoining cliffs, as I well knew that if any Ainu
had passed by there he would have kept either along the coast or not far
from it. By examination it is easy to see if the ground has been in any
way disturbed of late. Sometimes a small stone moved from the place
where it had been for years shows a difference in colour where it has
been affected by the weather and where not, thus giving a distinct clue
of some passer-by, man or brute; and when once you have found what the
characteristics of the tracks are, the most difficult part of the task
is accomplished.

On weather-beaten rocks the trail is more difficult to strike, and more
difficult still on rocks over which the sea washes. "For," say the
simple people, "how can you see tracks on hard stone? The foot certainly
does not leave a print on rocks as on sand; and even supposing that the
feet were dirty, the sea would wash away the marks, and you could not
see anything."

In my case I limited my search to bare-footed marks, as the Ainu
generally go bare-footed. Everybody knows that dogs track by scent, and
this is a sure proof that every footmark must have a certain special
odour, however infinitesimal. When we remember that the act of walking
makes the feet warm and perspire, it is easy to understand that this
perspiration, which is a greasy substance, leaves a mark on the
stone--though to be sure it is sometimes almost imperceptible,
especially when quite fresh. But most of us, when children at school,
have noticed that touching a slate with moist fingers leaves a greasy
mark, which could not be rubbed off again. The same thing happens when
we tread on stones with bare feet. If the sea washes over the stones
after the greasy impression has been thus made on them, it does nothing
but accentuate these marks, and show them more plainly, as the salt
water acts in one way on the untouched parts of the stone, but in a
different way where the grease has been absorbed. These marks are
generally very faint, and it requires some training before they can be
discerned; but when the knack is once acquired, they become evident
enough. To an observant eye, and with a little practice, it is not
difficult to perceive whether one or more persons have tramped on a
given place, and in what direction they have travelled. The marks on
stones which are washed over by the sea are usually of a lightish

I could almost invariably distinguish the footmarks of an Ainu from
those of a Japanese, as the Ainu take longer strides, and their toes are
longer than those of the Japanese. Moreover, with the latter, when
walking the greater pressure is forward under the foot, and their toes
are turned in; while in Ainu footprints the whole foot rests on the
ground, and they keep it perfectly straight, moving the two feet
parallel to each other.

I have given these few points on tracking, as it will explain to the
reader how I was able to find my way from one village to another miles
apart, to steer for huts where I had never been, and to overcome great
difficulties, which I could not have surmounted if I had not learnt the
art of tracking, and so far developed my natural powers. My ponies were
also to a great extent my teachers; and by a close examination of their
instinct I learned that I myself possessed it, and improved on it.

Between Sawaki, or Fujima, and Poronai there is a beautiful forest of
oak and hard-wood trees on the hills and firs on the higher mountains,
while the shore above the sea-wash is covered with thick scrub-bamboo,
which reaches a height of about ten feet.

On the sandy beach, besides a large number of whales' bones, there is
any amount of driftwood.

At Poronai, which consisted of only eight huts, the Ainu had adopted an
architecture for their storehouses different to that of other tribes.
The walls and the roof were made partly of wood, partly of the bark of
trees. Heavy stones were placed on the roof to prevent it from being
blown away during the strong gales so frequent along that coast.

The natives described the winter weather as very severe, especially
during northerly winds, and they told me that some years the sea all
along the coast is frozen for some eight or ten miles out, besides the
drift-ice which sets in from the north and works its way along the coast
as far as Cape Nossyap, in the neighbourhood of Nemuro. At the beginning
of the winter this ice, probably drifted across from Sakhalin by the
strong current in the La Perouse Strait, sets in from the north and
works down all along the north-east coast of Yezo, filling up all
indentations in the coast-line, and forming a solid mass on the surface
of the water.

Seals are very plentiful on these shores as far as Abashiri, but the
greatest number are found on the Saruma lagoon. In winter it is not
difficult to come within reach of them, but even in September I saw many
of them. They were, however, very shy, and when they caught sight of me
instantly disappeared under water.

A few miles from Poronai I came to a headland, and about one mile from
it lay the small island of Chuskin.

The coast again, instead of being sandy, showed traces of its volcanic
formation, forming beautiful cliffs and a rugged outline, rising in
terraces at places, or cliffs of clay and gravel sediments, with reefs
extending far out to sea, while below them stretched a beach of coarse
sand or pebbles, strewn with enormous volcanic boulders. These terraces
are wooded mostly with alder, Yezo fir, and beech.

Soon after crossing the Porobets River I came across the wreck of a
sailing ship, which lay flat on the shore disabled and dismasted; and at
last I reached Esashi. There I again noticed a curious fact, which may
be of some interest to anthropologists; namely, that Yezo is mostly
formed of Tertiaries and volcanic rocks, and that the Ainu are mostly to
be found in regions of Cainozoic or Tertiary formation. In volcanic
districts they are very scarce. This is curious, for it is a well-known
fact that the typical life-form of Tertiaries is anthropoid apes, and it
is a remarkable coincidence that we should find ape-like men populating
the same strata.

From Esashi the coast is extremely rough and rocky for about eight
miles. I had to take my famished pony up and down steep mountains rising
directly from the sea in places where the beach was impassable. Owing to
the lack of grass my wretched beast had but little to eat; and what with
the danger of riding, and the miserable condition my pony was in, I had
to walk most of the way and lead him. Shanoi, about thirteen miles
further, came in sight--a group of wretched fishermen's huts; and from
here the coast was somewhat better. The scenery all along is beautiful,
especially looking back towards the Shanoi Mountains. I saw one or two
abandoned huts blown down by the wind, but no people.

Near Shanoi the eruptive rocks and granitic cliffs suddenly come to an
end, as well as the mountainous character of the country, and for
fifteen miles, till one comes to Sarubuts, the country is pretty flat
and swampy, with a thick vegetation inland of spruce trees. There is a
small lagoon formed by the Tombets River, and which often has its mouth
blocked by the quicksands, which cause it to overflow.

I left Sarubuts in pouring rain, following the trail along the beach.
The river forms a long narrow lake similar to that of Tombets, and at
the back of it are terraces and high lands, but no very high mountains.
Another wreck of a large boat lay in fragments on the sand, and after
fifteen miles of very uninteresting scenery I arrived at Chietomamai, a
group of four or five fishermen's huts. Here again the coast was rough,
but my pony did not sink in the sand as it did on leaving Sarubuts, but
it stumbled among large pebbles and stones as pointed as needles.
Further on were grey and brown steep cliffs, which were extremely
picturesque. The Mezozoic nature of this coast shows more distinctly
between Chietomamai and Soya Cape, and a large rock emerging from the
sea is both peculiar and picturesque with its numerous square sections.
It is from this point that one gets the first view of Soya Cape. Going
round a bay one passes a few fishermen's houses, and on the cliffs above
them has been erected the Siliusi lighthouse. I cleared the Cape and
rounded the bay on the other side, where I saw another wreck of a
sailing ship dashed upon the rocks, making the scene a sad one. I still
went on, and went round two or three smaller headlands, when the
melancholy sight of a fourth wreck stood before me. This last ship had
her stern out of the water, and a Turkish name was painted on it. Her
appearance also was Turkish, and I was more than once puzzled as to what
a Turkish ship could have been doing in the La Perouse Strait. Many
months afterwards, on my return to Yokohama, but too late to be of any
help to them, the sad story of the survivors of that ship was revealed
to me. The mission of the ship in those far-off seas was a mysterious
one. No one ever knew exactly whence she came, or whither she was bound.
No one ever learned whether she had been disabled in a typhoon in the
Chinese Sea, and had been drifted so far north by the strong currents,
or whether the careless Turkish master had mistaken his course and had
met his fate in the dangerous currents of La Perouse Strait. Only four
of the crew survived. There they were on that deserted coast, with no
clothes, no food, no money; but the few natives treated them kindly. Two
of them wore "_Tarbouches_" (red caps), the only things they had saved
from the wreck. The natives on the north-west coast told me of these men
who were tramping their way south, unable to make themselves understood,
continually asking for "_Sekhara_," or "_Sakhara_," which, I believe, in
the Turkish language means tobacco or cigarettes. After months of
privations, half starved, and worn out with fatigue, they reached
Hakodate, where, having no passport, and not being able to explain
themselves, they were duly arrested and sent down to Yokohama.
Unfortunately for them, at that time the "Entogroul," a Turkish
man-of-war, had come to Japan, a voyage which took her two years, to
bring some decorations which the Sultan had bestowed on the Mikado.
Osman Pasha, the Admiral, had the poor devils brought before him, and
they told him their sad story, what they had suffered, and how they had
lost their ship. The story was too true to be believed, or too strange
to sound true!

"Impostors!" said Osman Pasha, and declining to listen any more to their
tale of woe, which he called "pure lies," had them "put in irons," in
which condition they were to be taken back to Constantinople. None of
the foreign residents in Japan believed the story of these wretches, and
all were glad to see the miscreants punished. "Impossible," said
everybody, "that a Turkish ship should have been up there!"

As it so happened, the "Entogroul," on her return trip to
Constantinople, was herself caught in a typhoon, and, steaming full
speed to resist the force of the wind and the waves, her boilers burst,
and Osman Pasha and nearly all hands on board were blown to pieces or
drowned. If I remember right, over three hundred and sixty lives were
lost, and no doubt the four men, whose prison, I was told, was near the
boilers, thus found a tragic end to their life of misery.

When I arrived at Yokohama all this had already happened, and my
evidence, which probably might have saved the life of these men, was
therefore useless.

But let us return to Soya Cape, where we have left the wreck.

The rapid current which comes through the Strait gives a horrid look to
the water, and I have never seen the sea look so vicious. The natives of
the small Soya village told me that it is impossible to cross over to
Sakhalin, the high mountains of which, covered with snow and glaciers, I
could see distinctly. The distance from land to land is about
twenty-eight miles, but no small boat can get across without being
swamped. They told me also that often dead bodies of Russians are washed
on shore, probably unfortunate convicts who found their death in
attempting to obtain liberty. H.M.S. "Rattler" was wrecked in 1868 on
one of the numerous reefs near this Cape, so the record of Soya could
hardly be more mournful.

After the Cape has been well rounded one finds oneself in a bay opening
due north. In the winter time this bay is completely blocked with ice,
but the Strait itself is never entirely frozen, owing to the strong warm
current from the Chinese Sea, which the Japanese call by the name of

Soya village is a wretched place of thirty or forty sheds. A few planks,
badly joined together, and with a kind of a roof over them, made my
shelter for the night. Soya Cape is the most northern point of the
north-east coast, and before we abandon it to move towards the south,
along the west coast, it is important to mention the peculiar and
conspicuous characteristic of the marked bending of watercourses in a
south or south-easterly direction. They are forced that way by the
drift-sand travelling along the coast from north-west to south-east with
the Kuroshiwo current, which drift-sand is in such quantities as often
to block altogether the mouths of some rivers, and form the large
lagoons so common along this coast. The lack of harbours or sheltered
anchorages, the inhospitable and unfertile shores, the quicksands, and
the severe climate, besides the danger of being swamped and carried away
by the overflow of a lagoon or lake, make this coast of little
attraction for intending settlers or for pleasure-seekers.

Herrings are plentiful all along the coast, but fishing stations could
not possibly pay, even if any were established, owing to the difficulty
and expense of carriage and freight, and the risk that ships would run
in calling at such exposed and unprotected shores.


[Illustration: MASHIKE MOUNTAIN.]


From Cape Soya to the Ishikari River.

From Soya the coast forms a large bay, which opens due north, and which
ends in Cape Soya on the eastern side and in Cape Nossyap on the
western. Almost in the middle is the small village of Coittoe, and from
this place, towering beyond the flat Nossyap peninsula, one can see
Rishiri Island. Near the western part of the bay are some small hills,
covered mainly with fir-trees. Wakkanai, a Japanese village, is on the
west coast of the bay, and north of it is Cape Nossyap. From this cape
is a lovely view of Rishiri and Repunshiri Islands. Rishiri is a
volcanic cone 6,400 feet above the level of the sea. It has the
identical shape of the famous Fujiama in Southern Japan, and rising as
it does in graceful slopes directly from the sea, has the appearance of
being higher than it really is. Repunshiri is hilly and partly of
volcanic formation, but none of its peaks rise to a higher altitude than
five hundred feet.

Rishiri is almost circular at sea-level, and it has no well-sheltered
nor safe anchorages; but Repunshiri has one good anchorage on its north
coast. Rishiri is about six and a half miles in diameter and twenty-five
miles distant, directly west of Cape Nossyap; Repunshiri is eleven miles
long, about four and a-half wide, and eleven miles distant to Ikaru, its
nearest point east on the Yezo coast. As the Kuriles are a continuation
east of the volcanic zone of Yezo, there is no doubt that Rishiri and
Repunshiri are the terminus of the same volcanic zone at its north-west

From Wakkanai a new horse-track has been opened to Bakkai, on the
north-west coast. The ride for the first eleven miles was uncomfortable,
as my pony, a worn-out brute, sank up to its belly in the mud; but in
due course I came to the hilly part, and after having gone up one steep
pitch and down another for a considerable distance, I rapidly descended
a precipitous bank, and followed the soft sandy beach till I reached
Bakkai. Here there is a large and peculiar stone, which the Ainu say
resembles an old woman carrying a child on her back. It stands
perpendicularly out of the ground at a great height, and it is of a rich
dark-brown colour. If the north-east coast was barren and deserted, the
western shore of Yezo was even yet more desolate. For thirty or forty
miles, as far as the Teshio River, the beach was strewn with wrecks and
wreckage. Here you saw a boat smashed to pieces; there a mast cast on
the shore; further on a wheel-house washed away by the waves; then the
helm of a disabled ship. It was a sight sad enough to break one's heart,
with all the tragic circumstances it suggested.

Between Bakkai and Wadamanai especially, I do not think that one can go
more than a few yards at a time without being reminded by the wreckage
which is strewn thick on the coast of some calamity. A white life-boat,
with her stern smashed, lay on the sand helpless to save, and as a kind
of satire on her name; and at Wadamanai, a large Russian cruiser, the
"Crisorok," dismasted and broken in two, lay flat on the beach half
covered with sand. Her bridge had been washed away and her deck had sunk
in. Some of the bodies of her gallant officers and crew had been washed
on shore by the sea. No one knows in what circumstances the ship was
lost, but it is probable that during last winter, when she came to her
ill-fated end, her rigging and sails got top-heavy with ice, and that
she capsized. Some of the wreckage one finds on that coast has been
drifted there from the Chinese Sea by the Kuroshiwo current; and then,
owing to the La Perouse Strait turning so sharply to the east, has been
left on this last portion of the coast. Here and there a rough tent made
with a torn sail, or a deserted shed knocked up out of pieces of
wreckage, is a suggestive reminder that some unfortunate derelict
seafarer had suffered and striven for life on these forlorn sands. An
enormous quantity of drift-logs, and here and there some bones of
whales, are strewn all along the beach.

At Wadamanai there is a mere rough shed under the shelter of the
sand-hills. When I left this place, moving south, a strong gale blew,
which made the travelling most unpleasant. It was getting fearfully
cold, and now that I needed clothes so badly mine were falling
altogether to pieces. My "unmentionables," which reached down to my feet
when I left Hakodate at the beginning of my journey, had long since been
trimmed and reduced to a kind of knickerbockers. Then the knees got worn
out, and they became more like bathing-breeches; and finally I dispensed
with them altogether, and made use of them to protect my sketch-book and
diary, round which I wrapped what remained of the ex-garment. My boots,
of course, were a dream of the past, and little by little I was getting
accustomed to walking barefooted. Thus, dressed in a coat, a belt ...
and nothing else, I moved along this inhospitable coast, half frozen,
but not discomfited.

The mouths of some of the small rivulets were extremely nasty to cross,
as my pony sank in the quicksands. I had to help him out, and that meant
a cold bath each time. From Wadamanai I kept a little more inland, still
steering for the south, and every now and then I again struck the beach.
Still the old sad story of wreckages strewn all over the shore, sailing
boats smashed to pieces, junks disabled and half buried in sand, met me
at every turn, creating in my mind a very monotony of melancholy.

Late in the evening I reached the mouth of the Teshio River, a broad
deep watercourse, one of the three largest rivers in Hokkaido, the other
two being the Ishikari and the Tokachi. It has a long course in a
general north-westerly direction, and then sharply turns southward,
running parallel with the coast for about four miles, and forming a
kind of lagoon at its outlet, which seems now to be working towards the
northward again. All the other rivers on the west coast tend northward
owing to the drift-sand which the current brings north. It is strange
that the Teshio should partly be an exception to this rule, though we
have ample evidence, even in this watercourse, of the movement of the
sand, for the bar at its mouth almost entirely blocks its entrance, and
rapidly works in a northerly direction. Thus there is no doubt that the
sand travels towards the north all along the west coast.

Sea-trout is abundant in the Teshio River, but salmon, with which this
stream formerly abounded, are now less plentiful owing to the sand-bar
which blocks the entrance.

A gale was blowing fiercely when I crossed the lagoon in a small Ainu
"dug-out," and my pony was made to swim across. Two or three times we
nearly capsized, and we shipped a lot of water. It was just like sitting
in a bath with water up to my waist; but the Ainu, who had as much as he
could do to paddle me across and tow the pony as well, comforted me by
saying, "Now that his 'dug-out' was full, we could not ship any more
water, and that his skiff, being made of wood, could not sink!"

After a long struggle we got safely to the other side, and the Ainu
boatman guided me for a mile or so to the fishing village at the mouth
of the river. It has but ten huts, all more or less miserable. The pony
was so done up that he was hardly fit to carry my traps, much less could
he have borne my weight. I could not get a fresh animal, so I had to
push forward walking, and dragging the beast on as well as I could. This
had the advantage of keeping me warm, which I needed badly, for what
with the cold and my dilapidated costume I was more nearly frozen to
death than was pleasant. The track was heavy in the soft sand, and the
dangerous and numerous quicksand streams were enough to make a saint
swear--if swearing would have done any good. How unspeakably desolate it
all was! Not a soul to be met; not a hut to be seen! Here and there more
wreckage and drift-wood on the shore, telling of storms and death, and
the absence of all human aid. At last I came in sight of an Ainu hut;
but as I drew near I found that it was abandoned. My meals, never very
plentiful, were now specially scanty--few and far between; and, taken
altogether, this part of my travels in Ainuland was somewhat lacking in

The cliffs near Wembets have the strange appearance of so many cones at
equal intervals along the coast. On the Wembets River there were as many
as two huts; and here again I had to cross in a boat, the stream being
too deep to ford on foot or horseback; then again along the sand,
dragging my pony, while I myself could hardly stand on my half-skinned
feet, I went on and on, wearied of the monotony of my miserable
experiences. The track grew narrow, and always worse. The high grey
cliffs of clay-rock began, and the rough sea washed up to the foot of
them, making progress more than ever unpleasant and dangerous. Each wave
that came brought the water up to my knees, often up to my waist, and
for about ten miles I was continually in and out of water. On a cold day
my readers can imagine how pleasant it was! About sunset I came in sight
of the two flat islands of Teuri and Yangeshiri, about fifteen miles off
the coast. It then grew dark; but the moon came to my help, shining
brightly on the greyish cliffs. The tide had risen, and in several
places I had great difficulty in getting across on account of the
furious waves dashing against the cliffs, and making a picturesque and
living sheet of foam.

Late at night, as I had almost given up all hope of finding a shelter, I
came upon a shed on the Furembets River, where I put up for the night.

My wretched pony was nearly dead with fatigue, and I let him loose so
that he might get a feed of grass. The next morning, after the inmates
of the hut had volunteered to go and bring him back to me, I heard them
on the distant hills calling, "_Pop, pop, pop, pop!_" the Ainu way of
approaching and calling horses. After a time they came back hopeless,
saying that the brute had bolted, and there was no hope of getting him
again. He could not be found anywhere! I was in the most awful dilemma,
for had that been the case I would have been forced to abandon all my
impedimenta, consisting of sketches and painting materials, and proceed
as best I could on foot. Under other circumstances I could have carried
the baggage on my back easily; but as I was half-starved, and had my
feet badly cut, I was hardly able to carry my own weight; therefore this
was not possible now.

As incredulity is one of the useful qualities I possess, I went to look
after my pony myself. The shed was protected by a sand-mound at the
back, and a small space was left between the mound and the wall of the
shed. I do not know what made me go and look there, but sure enough
there was my pony lying flat, and almost too weak to get up again. This
was no horse-stealing ruse on the part of the Ainu; simply the wretched
animal's own idea of good stabling and likely fodder. I dragged him out
of his involuntary prison, and after having done what I could for his
comfort and well-being, we set out once more on our melancholy travels.
This may sound cruel to some who in the course of their life have never
travelled in out-of-the-way places, and who are ready to condemn anyone
who is the means of letting an animal suffer. It may sound cruel in our
humane country, where animals are protected and prize-fights tolerated
and enjoyed; so to avoid misunderstandings it might be as well for me to
say, that as regards this tired pony it was simply the matter to push on
with him as far as I could or lose all the valuable materials I had
collected during months of sufferings and privations. No ponies were to
be got for any money along that deserted coast, for there were none in
existence. I did my best to alleviate the poor animal's sufferings by
undergoing myself a considerable amount of pain, walking most of the way
with my feet a mass of sores; and as winter was rapidly coming on, I was
more than anxious to make my way south with all the speed I could, to
prevent being blocked up with snow and ice and forced to spend the
winter on this inhospitable coast. Consequently, I was, as a matter of
fact, more cruel to myself than to my animals; to the others, those who
will still cast the first stone at me, I can wish no better punishment
than to be placed in the same position I was then. The trail became
somewhat better, as it led over the cliffs for about three miles; then
again it was on the beach. The high cliffs varied from a very rich burnt
sienna colour to a nice warm grey, and in some places they are perfectly
white, like the cliffs at Dover. Conical mounds frequently occur, and
give a curious aspect to this deserted shore. Ten miles further on, at
Chukbets, I found a couple of huts; then I walked and dragged the pony
on the cliffs for about four miles; then again I resorted to the beach;
and finally I entered Hamboro, a small village, or rather a picturesque
group of sheds and huts, and a capital fishing-station. _Shake_, salmon,
_mashe_, and herrings are caught in abundance at the mouth of this
river. A short distance from here hundreds of carcasses of seals were
scattered on the beach, whence emanated pestilential odours. On account
of the slowness of my pony I had to-night a modified repetition of last
night's experience, but neither was the sea so rough nor the trail so
narrow at the bottom of the cliffs; and though my wretched animal was
naturally in a worse condition than before, I was able to push on to
Tomamai that same night, where I arrived at a small hour of the morning.

At Tomamai, the coast, which had described a long curve, the two ends of
which are Ikuru north and this point south, turns sharply in a southerly
direction, running straight for many miles from north to south.

From Tomamai southwards the coast is not quite as deserted as it was
further north, for here and there are villages of fishermen's houses.
The population, however, is a migratory one, and when I went through,
the herring-fishing season was over, and consequently most of the houses
were abandoned and the people had migrated south. The winter weather is
very severe, and the houses have to be barricaded with thick piles of
wood as a protection against the strong westerly gales. The boats had
been drawn far on shore, where they were well fastened to posts, and
rough sheds thatched with grass built over them.

Along the coast there was a string of these habitations, hut after hut,
storehouse after storehouse, but hardly a soul to be seen. It was like
going through the city of the dead. Many of the fishermen's huts were
built on the side of the rugged cliffs, and they stood on piles about
fifteen feet high, the back of the house resting on the cliff itself.
Twelve and a half miles further another row of houses, similarly
deserted for the winter, stood along the shore-line at Onishika. In this
part of the coast salmon are very scarce, and the chief industry is the
herring fishery. There are no Ainu to be found either at Tomamai or

I continued my lonesome ride in the pouring rain, and soon came to a
peculiar long tunnel, natural and partly excavated, between this place
and Rumoi, a village prettily situated on the slope of a hill fifteen
miles further. This place possesses a small anchorage at the mouth of
the river, which is now only fit for junks and small sailing-boats, but
could be considerably improved. Good coal has been discovered some way
up the river. There is a track on the cliffs leading to Mashike. All
along the coast are any number of fishermen's houses, but they were all
closed and barricaded. Ultimately, descending from the cliffs in a
zig-zag fashion, after another ten miles' ride I found myself at
Mashike, the largest Japanese village in the Teshio district. Close to
the tunnel there is a small Ainu village, where the natives let their
hair grow very long, and then tie it up in a kind of knot, similar to
the Corean fashion of head-dress, while the women have given up
tattooing altogether. The fishermen at Mashike seem to suffer greatly
from "_Kaki_," or rheumatism, and cancer, while consumption, malarial
fever, and typhus are in a small proportion.

I had to stop over one day at Mashike, for the river was swollen by the
heavy rains, and it was impossible to get across. On the other side of
it stood Mashike-san, a huge volcanic mountain rising sheer from the
sea, and forming Cape Kamuieto, under the shelter of which lies Mashike
village; and further south Cape Uhui projects into the sea. It is the
end of a mountain range which here runs north and then south again, in
the latter part forming one side of the upper basin of the Teshio River.
Mashike is the largest settlement either on the north-east or west coast
of Yezo. Its population is partly migratory, but not so wholly as is the
case with the villages I had previously passed. I was delayed still
another day owing to the condition of the river; for the rain, instead
of decreasing, poured down to such an extent that the stream could not
be crossed, the current being too swift and the water too deep. The sea
was also too rough to allow of my leaving Mashike in a canoe.

On the third day I rose early, and decided to attempt this much-desired
crossing of the river. It had not rained during the night, and the
waters seemed to have slightly diminished. As the stream runs down a
very steep incline on the slopes of Mashike Mountain, the current rushes
with tremendous force. It was about five in the morning when I took my
baggage to the river bank. It was made up in two bundles, which I tied
together firmly with a leather strap. Some of the natives who had
collected round me entreated me to give up this foolish idea, for they
said I should infallibly lose my life if I attempted to wade across the
swollen river.

I saw at once that my pony would never be able to cross, so I left him,
and, taking the baggage on my head, and passing my hands through the
strap, I went into the water. The current was indeed so strong that,
weak as I was, I could hardly stand against it. I had nearly reached the
middle, with the water up to my mouth, when I fancied I heard the
anxious crowd scream to me, "_Abunai! abunai! abunai!_"--"Look out! look
out! look out!" Startled and alarmed at this piercing cry I turned my
head, and saw within a few yards of me a huge trunk of a tree coming
swiftly down with the current. There was a bump, and I saw nothing more.
Half a minute later I was violently thrown on the opposite bank, and in
trying to stand up on my feet in the shallow water my right foot
unfortunately got jammed between two stones in the river bed; I was
knocked down again, and broke my heel-bone just under the ankle. Several
natives came to my rescue and I was lifted out of the water,
half-stunned, half-drowned, but still holding fast to my load. I was
nearly frozen, and trembling like a leaf from cold. When I tried to
stand my right leg collapsed, and I had to lie down on the ground. What
with the blow which I had received from the floating wood, what with the
muddy water I had involuntarily swallowed, it took me some minutes
before I could quite understand my situation, or what had befallen me.
When I did I felt a terrible pain in my right leg. I looked, and there,
on the sand, under my foot and leg, which were swollen up to an enormous
size, was a pool of blood; the broken bone had penetrated the skin, and
was exposed to the air. When I recovered my senses well enough I got a
man to tear the wet lining of my drenched coat, and with it and a few
improvised splints I proceeded to set my own broken bone. It was hard
work; but with the help of some natives I bandaged it up as well as I
could, and with the extra help of a coarse flaxen rope I made a fairly
good surgical job of the whole thing.

Stopping there till I grew better would have been foolish, for winter
was setting in; everything would soon be frozen and snowed up, and, far
from all my friends, as well as from anything like civilised life or
elementary comforts as I was, I should probably have died. As long as I
had a spark of life left in me I decided that I would struggle and push
on, come what might. Two men undertook to carry me over the Mashike
Mountain, which rises to an altitude of 3,600 feet above the sea-level.
The mountain is thickly wooded, and the trail is steep, heavy, and in
many places dangerous, and when we reached a sufficient altitude the
trail was merely in the bed of a rivulet composed mainly of huge stones.
Travelling in the state in which I was, was something like going to
one's own funeral. The jerking and the cold were excruciating; the
continuous stumbling and unsteady walk of my men over the rough and
slippery slopes did not improve my condition; but finally we reached the
summit. What a lovely view! One could see far along the Teshio coast on
the one side and down towards the Ishikari on the other, and towards the
east rose up a picturesque chain of thickly-wooded mountains. Rising
from the sea stood the fine Cape Airup, near Moi; then far beyond, dimly
seen in the mist, was the towering outline of Shakotan. We went down the
other side, and my men, poor fellows, did their best to cheer me up. One
of them told me a cheering story of a grizzly bear--which, by the way,
he said were numberless on this mountain--that had killed and eaten two
children, and also their father when the latter went to their rescue.
The other told me of the many men who had perished in crossing the
mountain; some had been overtaken by a snowstorm, others had lost their
way and fallen over precipices, while others again had been killed by
avalanches in winter.

Listening to this lively conversation, shaken and suffering, I arrived
late at night at Moi, having been carried over a distance of twenty-five
miles, to do which occupied about eighteen hours. There was no possible
way of getting across the mountains between here and Atzta, as the high
granitic perpendicular cliffs are unscalable, and I was bound to
entrust my life to a small Ainu canoe. Two other passengers, a Japanese
woman and a man, asked if I would allow them to travel in the boat with
me; and then we three, rowed by an Ainu man, put out to sea. The sea was
rough outside, but as the large bay was well protected by the Aikap
Cape, all went right at first; but in rounding the point we went too
near the rocks, got caught in a breaker, and shipped so much water that
the canoe began to slowly sink under the additional weight. The Ainu was
pretty smart, and he put his skiff on the rocks. Between him and the two
passengers I was helped out, and while the Ainu emptied the canoe, the
two Japanese undressed entirely and spread out all their clothes and
underclothes in the sun to dry.

We got on board again, and, coasting more carefully, passed several
small fishing villages, of which Gokibira is the largest and most
important. It is backed by high mountains ranging from twelve hundred to
seventeen hundred and more feet above the sea. One of the mountains--the
highest--is called Okashi-nae-yama.

Atzta is a long narrow village, of which almost all the houses are built
against the cliff. From here I had to begin riding again along the bad
and stony coast, among drift-wood, and up and down cliffs. Anyone who
has ever had any broken bones will appreciate the tortures which I had
to go through. Owing to pain, exhaustion, and fatigue I had no control
over my pony, and could hardly stick on to the saddle. I took the
precaution of tying the bridle to my wrist, for should the pony knock me
off, he could not bolt away; but, unhappily, sometimes this was the
means of his dragging me mercilessly on the ground for dozens of yards
before he would stop. Then I had to wait for some charitable passer-by
to help me into the saddle again, for I could no longer mount by myself.
Day after day of this wretched life made me feel almost unconscious that
I had a pain. I took things as they came, and I went on. Now that I sit
here in a comfortable chair writing this by a cosy fire, I am myself
astonished at my own perseverance. If I were called upon to go through
the same experience now I could not. But in truth there are many things
that one does not mind doing for motives of pleasure which one would
never dream of attempting under the compulsion of an external will.
Kutambets is picturesquely situated in a large gully formed by a break
in the red-tinted cliffs. From Kutambets to Moroi the track is slightly
better, and from this to Ishikari it is quite easy. The latter river, a
very large one, has to be crossed by a ferry, as the habitations are on
the south banks of the stream.




The Ishikari River.

On the north side of the mouth of the Ishikari River is an Ainu village
called Raishats. Its inhabitants are not natives of this island, but
were imported by the Japanese Government from Sakhalin when it was
exchanged with Russia for the Kuriles.

At the entrance of the river, and close to this village, another
wreck--of the "Kamida Maru"--a schooner, ended the mournful list of
disasters on this inhospitable coast.

The Ainu of Raishats are different in some ways from the Yezo Ainu
proper. They call themselves Kraftu Ainu, "Kraftu"[36] being the Ainu
name for Sakhalin. Their skin is of a lighter colour; but the principal
difference is in their eyes and eyebrows. The Kraftu Ainu have eyes of
the Mongolian type, though larger, while the Yezo Ainu have not; and
their eyebrows have a very pronounced curve near the nose. Most of the
women seemed to suffer from consumption, and the men also did not seem
as strong as the other Ainu. The women tattoo on their lips a small
square pattern instead of the long moustache, and most of them have now
adopted Japanese _kimonos_, or else wear gowns similar to those of
Russian peasants. Some also wear skin gowns similar to those of the
Kurilsky Ainu, ornamented with feathers and bits of molten lead sewn on
them. A velvet cap or a kind of tiara is their head-gear, and this also
is ornamented with gold and silver or red beads, or else is embroidered
in bright colours.

    [36] Sometimes also pronounced _Krafto._

The children are arrayed in more gaudy colours than their elders. They
have bright red embroideries round their necks, and the whole gown is
full of spangles and beads, the proceeds of parental barter. A peculiar
paunch-suspender, which I saw here for the first time, was ingenious,
and answered a great want in the Ainu country. As will be seen later,
the majority of Ainu children have huge paunches, mostly due to the
inability of the hairy people to tie and secure properly the umbilical
cord at the child's birth. This not only produces great discomfort to
the child, but often causes its death. The belt which I saw was made on
the principle that the weight of the paunch, under which passed a kind
of net made of strips of skin, was supported by braces going over the
shoulders, and by this contrivance, if the original lesion did not get
much better it did not get worse, as it does when not taken any care of
at all. Neither men nor women wore earrings; but the fair sex wore a
kind of velvet ribbon necklace round their neck, and on this ribbon were
sewn ornaments of molten lead, silver, and other metals.

The habitations, storehouses, and customs of these Ainu are similar to
those of the others. As I slowly rode along the banks of the river just
before sunset, retracing my steps towards the Ishikari village, I saw a
hidden trail, which apparently led to the woods. I made my pony follow
it, and shortly afterwards I came to a graveyard. As I have said, the
Ainu are extremely jealous of their burial-places, and they resent
strangers, even Japanese, going near them. It was nearly fifteen days
since the accident to my leg had occurred, and though I could neither
walk nor stand on it, still I was beginning to be accustomed to the
agony, and with great trouble and pain I could dismount from my tiny
pony. Strange to say, mounting was not so difficult, for I could pull
myself up with my arms, lie flat on my stomach on the saddle, and then
swing round, and it did not jar me as much as coming down. I had my
paint-box fastened to the saddle, and I unlashed it to take a sketch.
The tombs were so many trunks of trees cut and carved, and with one
branch left on one side (_see_ Chapter XXI.). One tomb particularly was
more ornamented, and it had a flat-shaped monument, roughly but well
carved at its head. An object resembling the bottom of a "dug-out"
covered the body, and this was also carved. At each of the four corners
a wooden blade was stuck in the ground. From the stench I should think
that the body was only a few inches underground.

Fate had punished me so severely of late for faults which I never
committed that I thought myself now entitled to commit a fault for the
sake of squaring accounts. One of the small wooden blades, nicely
carved, would just go under my coat. I decided to steal it. To my mind
it was hardly a big enough crime even to balance the last accident I had

I turned round to see that no one was looking. I put down my paint-box,
crawled to the grave, took the blade, put it under my coat, and, ashamed
of myself for committing the outrage--though with prepaid punishment--I
scrambled up on my pony as well I could, and hurriedly left the place. I
rode back to the ferry, a long way off, and went across to Ishikari, and
catching a moment when no one was watching me, I quickly passed the
carved blade from under my coat into my baggage.

"What a good thief I would make," I thought to myself, when to my horror
I remembered that in the hurry of leaving the graveyard I had forgotten
my paint-box in the very same spot from which I had taken the blade!

If any Ainu had gone to the graveyard and found it, I would get into a
nice mess! During the night I felt more than uncomfortable about it, and
at dawn the next morning I got the tea-house man to bring my horse and
set me on it, for I said, "I wish to go and see the sunrise from the
other side of the river."

The landlord thought it rather funny, and funnier still when he saw me
coming back a couple of hours later with a paint-box lashed to my
saddle, while he said he was sure I had started without one.

"Did you not see it this morning?" said I with assumed innocence.

"No, your honourable," said he, drawing in his breath.

"You did not look for it in the right place," said I, and up to this day
the landlord does not know where the right place was.

The Ishikari is one of the great salmon rivers of Yezo. About the end of
September the salmon enter the river to spawn. They are in such
abundance then that the stream is crowded thick with them, and it is
quite sufficient to have a hook fastened to a stick to pull out a large
fish each time it is dipped into the water. Millions of fine salmon are
caught within a few days, and the banks of the river are packed with
dead fish, while the whole population is occupied in splitting open each
fish, taking out its inside, for preservation.

The same method of netting as is practised for sardine fishing is
employed for salmon. Eighteen or twenty excited men vigorously row the
boats out into mid-stream, and after describing a semicircle, return to
the bank. The nets are hauled in, the fish flung out on the river banks,
and the same process begins _de novo_. A man in a "dug-out" watches when
the salmon are more or less plentiful, and signals for the boat to
start, while he himself spears them with a harpoon. At the right time of
the year as many as 1500 or 2,000 and more good fish are caught each
time the net is hauled in. This grand take of course only lasts a few

Though good, the Yezo salmon has none of the fine qualities of the
salmon of northern European rivers, and it is not quite so good as that
of the Canadian rivers. It does not keep so well, and in colour is much
lighter than our salmon.

The Ishikari River opens to the north, and runs parallel to the coast,
leaving a flat tongue of sand between it and the sea. Following the
course of the stream against the current, it goes winding south, then
sharply turns to the south-east, following this direction for about
fourteen miles. Then again it winds up to the north, and then to the
east for a distance of over one hundred miles, where its source lies in
the very heart of Yezo.

The Ishikari carries a large body of water, and it is nine hundred and
twenty feet wide near its mouth. Its "drainage area" has been estimated
to be over three thousand square miles, including mountain slopes, while
the actual valley does not, in my opinion, exceed eight hundred square
miles. The river receives many affluents, of which the most important
are the Rubeshibe, Chupets, Piegawa, the Sorachi River, and the Toyohira
on its south side, and the Uriugawa on its north side. Near the coast
the valley is wooded mainly with scrub oak, but further inland its banks
are heavily timbered. The Sorachi River is the most important affluent
on the south side. It is navigable for "dug-outs" and small sailing
boats for some considerable distance. At Sorachi one strikes the new
road which leads from the Poronai coal mines to Kamikawa, where the site
has been chosen for the intended new capital of Hokkaido.

The road between Sorachi and the latter place not being metalled, was
exceedingly bad owing to the heavy rains, and my pony continually sank
in mud up to his belly. The road follows the course of the Ishikari
River more or less; and in the woods is a military settlement like those
we have seen near Nemuro and Akkeshi. At Otoyebukets the traveller must
change horses. About eight miles further on one reaches the Kamuikotan
rapids, a poetic spot: huge rocks in the water, violently rushing
between and over them, form pretty waterfalls. The Ainu occasionally
shoot down these rapids in their "dug-outs," and remains of these are to
be seen here and there smashed on the rocks. From this point the road
rises almost all the way, and the wayfarer must cross over the hill
range, from the top of which the whole plain of Kamikawa can be seen, in
the upper basin of the Ishikari, which, winding like a silver snake,
intersects the flat valley.

Descending the hill on the other side, I reached the future capital of
Hokkaido. It is indeed a town of the future, for at the present moment
there are only five houses, if I may call them so. The site of this
embryo metropolis is by the Chubets River; and on the hill called
Nayosami I was told a palace for the Emperor is to be erected. However,
they were not certain about it yet. It is a pretty hill, almost in the
centre of the large plain, and from the top of it one gets a lovely view
of a volcanic cone standing in front of you to the south. Near this hill
the new road turns sharply almost at a right angle, and two miles
further some _Tondens_ have been begun (_Ciuta Hombu_). Hundreds of
convicts, who, by the way, have made the road between here and Poronai,
were at work continuing the same road towards the east. I believe that
eventually it will be prolonged to the north-east coast, where it will
end near Abashiri. In my opinion the scheme practically will be a
failure, for Kamikawa will never be a flourishing place, as there is
nothing to support a large population. From a strategic point of view of
course Kamikawa has the advantage of being in the centre of Yezo.

Kamikawa is 342 feet above the level of the sea, but it is well
sheltered, and the climate, though very cold, is not quite so severe as
in other parts of Yezo.

The Ainu of the upper Ishikari are nearly the same as the Saru Ainu,
only somewhat taller and more ill-tempered. They show greater skill than
other Ainu in wood-carving and general ornamentation. Along the banks of
the river huts are scattered here and there; but the largest number is
at Chubets.

At the present moment the Japanese population of Kamikawa is, with the
exception of half-a-dozen policemen and as many civilians, composed
entirely of convicts. These are dressed in red coats and trousers, and
those who have committed murder have the top of their head shaved in the
shape of a bottle (Jap., _Hetzui_). If any misbehave, they are beaten
with the flat side of the long sword worn by the policeman in charge;
but I must confess that otherwise the policemen are extremely kind in
every way to these fellows. The well-behaved have one, two, or three
small pieces of black cloth sewn to their left sleeve. They are made to
work hard, but save this enforced diligence they seem to have a pretty
good time. As I was talking to a policeman in charge, two dead men were
brought on a cart by a man who had a towel over his mouth and a red
blanket over his head. The two men had died suddenly. They had arrived
only a few days previously from Southern Japan, where cholera was
raging, and they had all the symptoms of having died of that deadly

A very exciting way of retracing your steps down to the Sorachi River is
to shoot the rapids in an Ainu "dug-out." You make one or two Ainu
moderately drunk, as otherwise they do not seem anxious to attempt it,
and when they are in that pot-valiant condition you get them to paddle
your canoe down the stream, while you sit in the bottom holding on to
the sides. You start with the velocity of a turtle, increase it to that
of a horse, then to that of a swallow, and when you are well in the
rapids it is like travelling on an arrow. You go rubbing against rocks,
and are shot in the air when going over a small waterfall, only to fall
with a splash in the water some yards further, with an increase of
velocity as you go on. It really requires but little skill to navigate
rapids, for it is the current itself that does all the work. All that is
needed is to keep the "dug-out" straight in the water. Of course if you
should happen to collide with a rock when you are going at nearly double
the rate of an express train you would have little chance of saving your
life; but if you are neither smashed nor drowned, and you do not come to
grief in any way, you can accomplish the journey, which takes you the
whole day by land, in little over one hour when there is plenty of water
in the stream.

On the road from Sorachi to Poronai, and halfway between the villages of
Naye and Takigawa, a new coal mine has been discovered and opened, which
is said to be very rich in mineral of good quality; in fact, superior to
the coal of Poronai. It is ten miles from Otaussi Nai village, where the
high road has to be abandoned if the mine is to be visited.

There are many Ainu both at Takikawa-Mura (Waterfall-River village), at
Otaussi, and at Poronai-buts. Poronai has in its neighbourhood some rich
coal mines. As others have reported more accurately and correctly than I
can on the quality and extent of these coal seams, I shall abstain from
repeating or copying what has been already said. I may, however, mention
that the seams cut the valley of the Ikusum River eight miles from
Poronai-buts, and a continuation of them is found near the springs of
the Sorachi. The coal beds of Poronai are about three and a half feet
deep, and many different beds have been found deeper than these, but of
inferior quality. Poronai also goes by the name of Ishikishiri, and a
large penitentiary has been erected here for the accommodation of the
numerous convicts exported from the Main Island to improve the scheme
for the colonisation of Yezo. I was called on by the chief _yakunin_
(officer), and he expressed a wish that I should inspect the prisons. A
splendid horse was sent to convey me thither, and two policemen helped
me on my progress through the buildings, owing to my inability to walk
more than a few yards at a time. It was a large walled enclosure, with
houses for the officials and cells for the _akambos_, a jocular term,
meaning "babies," which is applied to convicts, because they wear red
clothes like children. The buildings were beautifully clean, but what
astonished me most was that no precaution whatever was adopted to
prevent convicts from escaping. The outside gates were all wide open;
there were neither soldiers nor policemen at the gates, and, moreover,
the _concierge_ was himself a convict!

"But," said I, "do not many of these fellows escape?"

"Oh, no, not many. Last month only sixteen ran away," was the
_insouciant_ answer of my guide.

From Poronai-buts to Sappro there is a small railway, by which the coal
trains are run to the coast as far as Otaru.


[Illustration: AINU BARK WATER-JUGS]


Nearing Civilisation.

Sappro, the present capital of Hokkaido, is a town of fairly large size,
with wide streets intersecting each other at right angles. The
Hokkaido-cho, a high red-brick building, the law courts, the _Kofikan_,
the palace built for the Emperor, and used now as a kind of hotel, and
the houses of officials, are the main buildings of the place. There are,
besides, a sugar refinery, a hemp and silk factory, and a brewery,
mainly supported by the Government. Neither of the first two were
"flourishing industries," and one of the factories, if I remember
aright, had long ceased working, and the other was soon to follow suit.
The Government, I must say, have done their best to encourage and push
on industries as well as agriculture in this district, but their efforts
have produced but poor results. Machinery, which had been imported at
great expense from England, America, Germany, and France, was left to
rust and perish, and no private company seemed ready to continue the
works. As a farming region the Sappro district has also proved more or
less a failure from a financial point of view, though again the
Government cannot but be highly praised for the money they have spent in
trying to educate the people up to some kind of scientific, and
therefore paying, method of agriculture. They have a large model farm of
about 350 acres laid down in grain fields, as well as in meadows and
pastures, stocked with cattle imported mainly from America. In the
Toyoshira valley, south of the town, a cattle farm is in full
operation, but it yields the Government a very poor return. However, the
Government, I believe, only wish to teach the people foreign ways of
agriculture, and expect no direct returns for the pains taken and the
money sunk--so at least it would appear. Another colonial militia
settlement is also found near Baratte, eight miles north of Sappro.
Regarding these settlements, it may prove interesting to transcribe the
Imperial Ordinance No. 181, dated August 28th, 1890, by which they were
brought into existence and the Tondens were built:--

     ARTICLE 1.--Colonial Militia shall be composed of colonial
     infantry, cavalry, and colonial artillery and colonial military
     engineers, and shall be set apart for the defence of Hokkaido,
     where they shall be stationed.

     ARTICLE 2.--The Colonial Militia shall be organised as soldiers, in
     addition to their ordinary occupation of farmers; shall live in
     military houses which shall be provided for them, and shall take
     part in military drill, in cultivation, and in farming.

     ARTICLE 3.--The Colonial Militia shall also be composed of
     volunteers from cities and prefectures, and shall change their
     registered residence (_Houseki_) to Hokkaido, and live there with
     their families.

     ARTICLE 4.--The term of service of Colonial Militia shall be twenty
     years: the service with the colours being three years, in the first
     reserve four years, and in the second reserve thirteen years.
     Should a colonial militiaman be released from service during his
     term, owing to the attainment of the full age of forty years, or
     through death, or some other cause, a suitable male of the family
     shall be ordered to fulfil the remaining term of service. Such
     service may be remitted if there be no suitable male.

     ARTICLE 5.--The Colonial Militia shall fulfil supplementary
     military service during ten years after the end of service in the
     second reserve, and shall be mobilised in time of war or other

     ARTICLE 6.--The term of each stage of military service under
     Articles 4 and 5 shall be counted from April 1st of the year in
     which the soldier enters the Militia.

     ARTICLE 7.--The terms may be prolonged, even though the period for
     each stage has fully elapsed, should war or other emergency, or the
     requirements of military discipline, or the inspection of soldiers
     (_kwampei-shiki_) demand the same, or should the soldier be then in
     transit from or to, or be stationed in, a foreign country.


     ARTICLE 8.--Colonial Militia enlisted before the carrying out of
     these regulations shall be treated according to the following

     (_a_) Those enlisted between the eighth year of Meji and the
     sixteenth year of Meji shall serve in the first reserve during four
     years and in the second reserve during nine years.

     (_b_) Those who were enlisted between the seventeenth year of Meji
     and the twentieth shall serve in the first reserve during four
     years from the twenty-fourth year of Meji, and in the second
     reserve after the lapse of the above period during twenty years,
     reckoned from the year in which they were enlisted.

     (_c_) Those who were enlisted in the twenty-first year of Meji
     shall serve in the first reserve during four years from the
     twenty-fifth year of Meji, and in the second reserve after the
     lapse of the above period during twenty years, reckoned from the
     year in which they were enlisted.

     (_d_) Those who were enlisted in and after the twenty-second year
     of Meji shall be treated in accordance with these regulations.

     ARTICLE 9.--The mode of reckoning the terms of service of Colonial
     Militia levied before the twenty-first year of Meji shall be in
     accordance with Article 6 of these regulations. The term of service
     with the colours of those levied in the twenty-second and
     twenty-third years of Meji shall be counted from the day on which
     they were included in the Colonial Militia, and their term of
     service in the first and second reserves from the day next to the
     lapse of the full term of the former service.

     ARTICLE 10.--These regulations shall come into force on and after
     the first day of the fourth month of the twenty-fourth year of

          (Colonial Militia.) Imperial Ordinance No. 181.

     We hereby give our sanction to the present amendment of the
     regulations relating to Colonial Militia, and order the same to be
     duly promulgated.

          (His Imperial Majesty's sign-manual),
          Great Seal.

     Dated August 29th, 1890.
     (Countersigned) COUNT OYAMA IWAO,
     (Minister of State for War).

     (_Japan Daily Mail_, September 14th, 1890.)

Sappro was a civilised place compared to others I had seen in Yezo; but
it had neither the picturesqueness, nor the strangeness, nor yet the
interest of more uncivilised spots.

There is no doubt that savagery--when you have got accustomed to it--is
a great deal more fascinating than civilised life, and infinitely more
so than a base imitation of civilisation.

It might have been thought that after the months of privation to which I
had been subjected, after all the harassing experiences I had gone
through, after the accident which had made the last thirty days of my
journey so agonising, I should have been glad to rest in this "London"
of the Ainu country, at least until I was well again. But in truth this
indirectly reflected civilisation worried me. The bustle of the people,
the lights in the streets, the sounds of the _Shamesen_--everything
annoyed me.

His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Nagayama, kindly called on me, and when
I put on some decent clothes which were lent me, he drove me to his
house, where I had a lengthy conversation on the future of Yezo and the
Kurile Islands. He seemed to approve of many of the points which I put
before him, among which I suggested that the exports of sulphur from
Kushiro, on the south-eastern coast, would be greatly increased if it
were opened to foreign trade, and I was pleased to hear several months
later that a motion to that effect was proposed in the Japanese
Parliament. He also agreed with me that Yezo needed roads and railways
badly, and that when more facile ways of communication should be
established along the coast and across country, then without doubt Yezo
would be rich and flourishing.

He expressed sorrow that emigration was not carried on on a larger scale
from the Southern Island of Japan, and that private companies of
capitalists in no way helped the Government.

His Excellency was also kind enough to drive me round the town and show
me all the sights of Sappro, including the small museum containing
zoological specimens from Hokkaido, and the implements of the Ainu and
the Koro-pok-kuru. A huge grizzly bear which had killed two babies and a
man is now stuffed, and occupies the first small room, while a bottle by
the side preserves in spirit the head and foot of one baby and some
parts of the man which were found in its stomach when captured and

I left Sappro for Otaru by the coal train. Otaru is situated on a
semicircular well-sheltered bay, which makes it the best and only safe
port on the western coast of Yezo.

The coast at the mouth of the Ishikari River curves gently round, and is
exposed to the north as far as Cape Shakotan. Otaru is rapidly growing
in importance, owing to the fact that it is the nearest shipping port to
the Poronai coal mines. Unfortunately, three small hills, which were
being levelled when I was there, had greatly interfered with the first
laying out of the settlement, which accounts for the town being all
crooked and irregularly planned. It has the appearance of a thriving
place, and much resembles one of the small seaports of Southern Japan.
In the main street a go-ahead tailor had written over his door the
following inscription for the attraction of foreign clients: "Tailor.
New Forms of every country shall be made here." The notice was tempting,
and I went in to request his services in furnishing me with "new forms,"
as he called them, of English fashion; but to my great regret he had
come to an end of his stock of goods, and I had to be contented with my
"old forms," and go on as best I could with what I had till I should
reach Hakodate, where I had left most of my baggage. At Otaru I left all
my paraphernalia to be shipped to Hakodate by the first ship calling,
and I proceeded by land on the north and then on the north-west coast. I
felt that, suffering as I still was, I should keep alive as long as I
kept moving, as long as I was distracted by new scenery and new
excitements. I felt that if I were left to myself, not pitied or
sympathised with, I should be able to drag on and conquer in the end.
There is nothing, it seems to me, that makes people feel so ill or is so
enervating as the sympathy of friends and the verdict of a doctor. Among
civilised people nine out of ten do not know whether they are very ill
or not until the doctor pronounces his opinion, which shows that many
complaints would be scarcely felt at all if the patient did not know the
name of his malady, or if he had sufficient determination as to prevent
his physical pain from becoming a moral one as well. We have a proof of
this in hypnotism, by which sicknesses of many kinds can be cured by
impressing on the subject the belief that his body is perfectly free
from disease. Of course in this case it is a stronger will acting on a
weaker one, which, so reinforced, is able to overpower the physical
trouble. Again, I may be allowed to state that savages and barbarians,
though affected with horrid diseases of all kinds, do not seem to suffer
from them as much as we do. If an Ainu man breaks his leg he does not
think for a moment of lying in bed for the regulation forty days; first
of all, because he has no bed to lie on; and next, because the
confinement and inaction would simply kill him. He may lie down on the
hard ground for two or three days, after which time he crawls about as
best he can until nature makes his broken bone right again. He does not
worry himself much about it. Wild animals do the same. If, then, the
Ainu, and with them savages of other countries, do that, why should not
I, a human being like them, do the same?

Freed from the encumbrance of my baggage, I set off on a good horse down
the north coast, and moving from east to west. My baggage now consisted
of a crutch which I had made for myself, a stick, a couple of Japanese
_kimonos_, and a few sketch-books.

The travelling was extremely slow, and I shall not dwell at length on
this part of my journey, for it has no interest in connection with the
Ainu, as I met with scarcely any. On a practicable and pleasant track
leading all across the hills beyond Oshoro village, a lovely view of the
cliffs between that place and Yoichi, lying to the west, is to be had.
In some parts the scenery is really grand. Coming down on the other side
of the hill, Momonai and Kawamura, two fishermen's villages of some
importance, are passed, and further west, through a picturesque and
narrow entrance of rugged volcanic rocks, is Yoichi, a large village,
which was entirely burnt down last year, but has since been built up
again. The road to Iwanai branches off at Kawamura, across the Shakotan
peninsula. This peninsula is partly volcanic, partly composed of
tertiaries, on which metal veins are found, especially along the course
of the Yoichi River.

About three miles from Yoichi a small flax factory was being built as an
experiment by a Mr. Tokumatz Kuroda, in the employ of the Mitzui
Company. Twenty-five miles further south-west of Yoichi is Iwanai.
About ten miles from Kawamura, at Hando, a black tumbledown shed, like a
haunted house, stands in the middle of the woods, and from here the
track again goes over a mountain. On the other side is Iwanai. Five or
six weeks previous to my arrival a large fire had destroyed nearly the
whole of the village, and--just my luck again!--I had great difficulty
in finding a place in which to obtain shelter for the night.

From Iwanai the coast-line roughly describes a semicircle, which is
almost concentric with Volcano Bay on the south coast, the distance
between the two seas being about twenty or twenty-five miles, so that it
forms a kind of large peninsula stretching towards the south, and
widening considerably at its most southern part on the Tsugaru Strait.
The first two or three miles from Iwanai were a pretty flat and easy
track, but then I struck the mountain trail, which was steep and heavy
for my pony. It was raining in torrents, and the narrow track was
literally turned into a running rivulet. By good luck the rain stopped,
and when I reached the summit I had a glorious panorama of the brilliant
rocks and cliffs of the Shakotan Cape to the north-east, with the Kamui
and the Hurupira Mountains on one side, and the villages of Shiribets,
Isoya, and Karibayama along the coast on the other. I descended into the
valley and then went up again the next mountain, the Iwaonobori, a
higher peak than the first. I went down its slopes on the other side in
a zig-zag fashion, and then came to the snake-like river called
Shiribets, on both sides of which a few fishermen's houses are found,
forming the Shiribets village.

Three miles further is a larger settlement, Isoya, the half of which is
called Notto Isoya, the other Shimakotan Isoya. It is a long row of
fishermen's houses scattered along the coast until we get to Ushoro,
eight miles further, a settlement of 120 houses.

Ushoro is connected by a road to Oshamambe, on Volcano Bay, but I went
on to Shitzo, four miles north-west of Ushoro. The way was fairly good
in some parts, and execrably bad in others. The heavy rain which had
again come on was not exactly suited to my present state of health;
moreover, it swelled all the small brooks, which fell in a series of
picturesque waterfalls over the high cliffs down on to the beach. As the
beach was narrow, this meant each time a cold shower-bath, which,
however, did not much matter, for I was already drenched by the rain,
and I had no very "swell" garments to spoil, as my readers know.


Shitzo is an old-looking place, but there is nothing attractive about
it. It is in a small bay sheltered by Cape Benke, but its anchorage is
only fit for junks or very small skiffs. It is much exposed to northerly
and easterly winds. The coast from Shitzo to the Cape is lined with
rocky bluffs and cliffs of conglomerate and volcanic formation, with
bare hills inland.

There are many reefs stretching out, both along the coast and off the
Cape; but in many places channels are cut in them, to all appearance
produced by some remote volcanic action.

On the western side of Cape Benke is the village of Masatomari. There
were formerly some Ainu villages on this part of the coast, but hardly
any natives are to be found now. The few remaining have adopted to a
certain extent Japanese customs and manners.

At Baraputa I heard that it was impossible to continue my journey south
on horseback along the coast, for the track was almost impassable, even
on foot. It was a steep and difficult trail over the mountains, among
rocks and precipitous cliffs, and I was quite unable to accomplish it;
so I retraced my steps to Shitzo, and from there struck across the
peninsula on the road for Oshamambe, on Volcano Bay. The road is a good
one, and when bridges are built where needed it will be practicable for
_bashas_, the four-wheeled vehicles of Southern Yezo. The way is across
mountains or among well-wooded hills. Kuromatsunai is the largest group
of houses found along the road. It is about halfway between the two

Late at night, after having ridden twenty-five miles, I arrived at
Oshamambe, a semi-Ainu village on Volcano Bay.



Completing the Circuit of Yezo--The End of my Journey.

Oshamambe is a group of seventy houses, just midway between Mororran and
Mori. The Ainu of this bay are poor specimens of their race, as most of
them have intermarried with Japanese. They are, however, those most
talked about by Europeans, for they are of easy access to

They are mostly half-castes, and even second and third crosses;
wherefore it is no wonder that the incautious travellers who have
written on the Ainu, studying only these easily-visited specimens, have
discovered in them a remarkable likeness to the Japanese!

The fact that I was rapidly nearing the end of my trip half filled me
with pleasure, yet pleasure mingled with regret. It was nearly six weeks
now since I met with the accident to my foot, and I was decidedly
better. The cold weather had greatly contributed to this improvement of
my condition; and had it not been for my bone which kept sticking out of
my skin, I should have considered myself in fine case. I could hop along
with my self-made crutch and my stick, and when riding the pain was not
nearly as acute as it had been the first fifteen or twenty days.

As the road was good, and there was nothing interesting to me on this
portion of the journey, I tried to push on rapidly towards Mori.
Unfortunately, at the last minute my patience was put to a trial. I
hired a horse, and it was lame. No others were to be had that day for
love or money. The animal had been lame for two years, they said, and
though uncomfortable to ride he did not suffer any pain. This I
ascertained afterwards was true, for that day the sturdy brute carried
me 48½ miles without once requiring punishment. It is needless to say
that what I suffered that day by the continuous jerking is beyond
description. I rode fourteen hours in a fearful storm of rain and snow,
and my feverish anxiety to reach Hakodate soon, so that I might receive
letters, and have news of my parents and friends--from whom I had not
heard for five months--helped me to pull through all the fatigue and
worry of the way. The road between Oshamambe and Kunnui is fair, getting
still better towards Yurap and Yamakushinai. But to shorten the journey
and lessen the jerking I followed the sandy sea-beach, which, describing
a smaller circle than the road, necessarily diminishes the distance.
From Yamakushinai the road is very good and wide, and it has
nicely-built bridges over the Otoshibe and Nigori Rivers. The small
fishing villages, though not so imposing in appearance as some of those
in other parts of Yezo, add to the picturesqueness of the bay, with its
beautiful volcanic cone of Komagatage towering in the distance towards
the south-east.

The fishing in Volcano Bay consists mostly of mackerel, sprats, halibut,
and herrings.

I reached Mori late in the evening, and was received with a friendly
greeting by the people of the tea-house in which I had stayed on my way
up at the beginning of my journey.

The place was brilliantly lighted with numberless candles, and opposite
the entrance was a kind of altar decked with flowers and cakes. A few
_bonzes_, with their shaven heads and long, thin, depraved fingers, were
saying their prayers and beating with a small wand on the round wooden
bells. With the gods of Japan you must ring a bell or clap your hands
before you begin to pray, or else the god will pay no attention to your
petitions. In the next room another Japanese, with less depraved
fingers, but with a more wicked face, was dressed in European clothes,
and was apparently giving a sermon, and sure enough he proved to be a
native Christian minister!

"Hallo!" said I to the landlord; "what does all this mean?"

"Oh," said he, smiling--for Buddhism teaches you not to show pain--"my
old mother is dead. You saw her when you were here before. She died
yesterday, and as she was formerly a Buddhist and had become a
Christian, I have now got some Buddhist _bonzes_ and a Christian
minister to pray for her, for I want her to be happy in the other

"But do you not think," I replied, "that so much praying of different
kinds might interfere with her happiness?"

"Oh, no, your honourable," he said quickly, "I have paid the _bonzes_
and the clergyman in advance, and the gods cannot get angry now!"

It was curious to notice the competition between the representatives of
the two different creeds.

On the one side the Christian shouted his prayers and sang his hymns in
a stentorian voice, to put the _bonzes_ in the shade and get the start
of them in the contest; and on the other side these rattled on the
wooden bells with all their might, so that their prayers should be heard
first. I was more than happy when this religious race was over, and I
was allowed a few hours' rest.

Instead of going straight to Hakodate by _basha_ by the road I had
already once traversed, I followed the coast in a south-easterly
direction towards the volcano of Esan.

Near Usushiri, some two miles inland, are the hot springs of Obune,
where, in a picturesque gully surrounded by mountains, are two dirty
shanties for the benefit of those who wish to take the waters. At Isoya,
five miles north of this place, similar springs are found, and three and
a half miles south-east of Usushiri still more can be seen at Kakumi.
The latter place is a picturesque little spot, with its three old sheds
and the steaming bath-room framed in the multi-coloured foliage of trees
with their lovely autumn tints. A clean path a few hundred yards long
leads from the coast to the springs, and a track across the mountains is
found between that place and Hakodate; also another leading from Obune
to the latter port. By both these tracks a most lovely view of Hakodate
Bay can be obtained when the summit of the mountain range is reached.
From Kakumi the coast-line is wretched for travelling, set thick as it
is with stones as sharp as knives, while the waves continually wash over
the narrow beach, drenching the wayfarer to the skin.

I reached Otatsube, a group of a few fishermen's huts; and as there is
no traffic whatever along this coast, there were no regular tea-houses.
Unfortunately for me, the British Squadron in the Pacific had spent the
summer at Hakodate, and the ships had often gone for gun-practice
somewhere near this place, scaring the natives to death, and furthermore
angering them against foreigners in general, for they said the report of
the guns frightened away all the fish. When I asked for food and offered
money for it, they flatly refused me, saying contemptuously,--

"You foreigners come and scare all the fish away, and now you shall die
of starvation before you shall get food from us. We do not want your
money. We are rich."

And so I was held responsible for the doings of Her Majesty's fleet,
which until then I did not even know had been in those waters!

At Furimbé, the next small village, only a few miles further on, my
experience was even more unpleasant. Not only would they not give me
food, but they would not shelter me for the night in any of the houses;
and many of the fishermen, taking advantage of my wretched condition,
were impudent to such a point that I thought we should have come to

It was getting quite dark, and I was fearfully hungry and exhausted. The
only course open to me was to push on, and see if I could come across
some other hut where the owners were not so churlish. As it turned out,
for the first time since I had been in Hokkaido I had some good luck
that night!

A few hundred yards from this Japanese village, among the trees, was a
little wooden shrine. Through the grating of the door I caught sight of
offerings of cakes and rice which the religious fishermen had deposited
on the kind of altar, probably to appease the angry gods, and induce
them to fill the sea with fish again. The door of the shrine, as is
usual in country places in Japan, was not locked, but a small outside
bolt was all there was to keep it closed. I had no difficulty in
entering. The night was a terrible one. The rain was pouring in
torrents, and having had nothing to eat all day, I felt I had not the
strength to go another yard. "After all," I said to myself, "the home of
the gods, Japanese or not, is good enough for me. So is this supper," I
soliloquized, swallowing now a white cake, now a red one, then a green
one, till nothing but the empty vessels were left. "Delicious" was my
last word, when, smacking my lips over the last green cake, I proceeded
to make myself comfortable for the night. It is needless to add that I
left very early in the morning, when the first rays of light broke the
dimness of the night, and I dare say that, for the sake of morality, I
ought to add that I was sorry for committing the sacrilege; but I was
not--indeed I was not!

The mountain track continued, rough and steep in many places, and the
autumn tints on the foliage were lovely, though not as varied as those
of Northern America. Past Todohotke another volcano, the Esan, stared me
in the face. Its crater, or rather its craters, for there are several,
are not on the summit of the mountain, which is well rounded, but nearly
halfway down its western slopes. Accumulations of very pure sulphur are
deposited in and around these craters, and a continuous rumbling can be
heard inside the mountain. The craters eject sulphurous vapours, and
molten lava bubbles up as if in gigantic caldrons, congealing at the
mouths of the craters and cracking with the extreme heat.

The coast-line is precipitous and almost impassable round Cape Esan,
therefore the track leads over the mountain. The altitude of Esan is
1740 feet above the sea-level, but owing to its rising directly from the
sea it has the look of a much more lofty mountain. Komagatage, near
Mori, is 4,011, or more than double the height of Esan, while
Makkarinupuri volcano, or Shiribeshi Mountain, as others call it, about
forty-five miles south-west of Sappro, and ten miles north of Toya Lake,
reaches an altitude of 6,440 feet.

Iwaonobori, which I passed on the north coast in this latter part of my
journey, is 3,374 feet. Usu, on Volcano Bay, 1868 feet. Tarumai,
directly south of Sappro, only reaches a height of 2,800 feet.

When this volcanic part of the coast round Esan Cape is passed the track
becomes easier and flatter. One comes again to the sandy beaches, and
the coast is lively with numbers of fishermen's huts, and a couple of
villages like Shirikishinai and Toi. One day's journey on horseback from
here takes you to Hakodate. The Hakodate Peak can be seen in the
distance to the west; and only a few more hours, only a few more miles,
and I should be in civilisation, I should see a few European faces, and
I should hear English spoken again.

As I approached the sandy isthmus, and the peak grew bigger before me, I
wondered what had been going on in the world, and what news I should
receive of my dear ones. I imagined myself already devouring with my
eyes the hundreds of letters which must have been amassed at Hakodate,
waiting for me during the many months I had been away. I imagined myself
half buried in newspapers months old, anxiously reading the news of the
world. I hurried on my pony, I crossed the sand isthmus--and there I was
in the lively streets of Hakodate, gazed at by the astonished Japanese,
who, I believe, were more than a little amazed--perhaps scandalised--at
my turn-out.

Such as I was, and before I went to the Japanese tea-house, I called at
the Consulate for my correspondence. Her Britannic Majesty's
representative, who knew me well enough, was more than thunderstruck
when I appeared before him in such a strange attire. He was smoking a
pipe, and he almost let it drop, such was his surprise.

"Who are you?" he feebly exclaimed, looking me all over from head to
foot. "Surely you are not Landor?" he said when I told him my name.

"I believe I am," I answered, "and I have come to trouble you for my

"Oh, none have come; we have none," he said drily.

And now that I was not quite so well dressed as when I had called on my
arrival at Hakodate from Southern Japan, he seemed anxious to see me off
the premises as soon as possible, I dare say for fear lest I should
expire on his doorstep.

"But there _must_ be some letters," I said, as I was sadly leaving.

"No, there are none. Good-bye," he repeated.

The first glimpse of civilisation and of a civilised being was certainly
not a pleasing one. In a town where there are hardly half-a-dozen
British subjects, all told, I expected a better reception than one which
many would not bestow on a beggar to a compatriot in a foreign country.
Kindness costs nothing, and I was asking no favour.

I left the place disheartened, but feeling that the pompous official had
made a blunder, unluckily at my expense.

Mr. Henson, in whose house I had left all my luggage, greeted me with
open arms. He was kindness itself, and very different from the
gold-collared gentleman of the Consulate. I must say that I felt most
uncomfortable when, after having opened my trunks, I put on fresh
clothes and boots; in fact, such was the change from my late airy
costume that I caught a cold! I had now almost finished my self-imposed
task. I had made the whole circuit of Yezo, and been up all its largest
rivers, with the exception of that part of the western coast which lies
between Barabuta and Hakodate. It would mean only a few more days of
agony, and for the sake of completing my journey I left Hakodate again
the next morning at 2 A.M. in a _basha_ for Esashi, on the west coast.
The distance is fifty-seven miles, and we employed sixteen hours in
covering it. It was snowing when we crossed the hills, and it was
fearfully cold. Fortunately, the road is one of the best in Hokkaido.
Just in front of me sat a poor man piteously ill with _kaki_. His body
was dreadfully swollen and his limbs were stiff. What the poor man must
have suffered in being shaken for so many hours is beyond description.
His lamentations were heartrending. He had come to Hakodate in the hope
of getting cured, and now he was returning--to use his words--"to die
near his home." When we reached Esashi he was truly more dead than
alive. He was senseless, and had to be lifted up bodily and carried into
the house.

Esashi is a large place, and is one of the oldest towns in Yezo. In
front lies a small oblong island, with which various wonderful tales of
treasure are connected. Its harbour is too unsafe, being exposed to all
winds, and I was told that the sea is always rough except during the
months of July and August. I believe that this is greatly due to the

I went north to Kumaishi and Cape Ota, the most westerly point of Yezo.
About ten miles west of this cape is the small island of Okushiri,
peopled mostly by Japanese.

The track is tolerably fair for about twenty-four miles as far as
Kumaishi. It runs either along the beach or around clay and conglomerate
rocky points, occasionally over the cliffs and through ravines. North of
Esashi, along the Assap River, is a good stretch of cultivable land;
then the thickly-wooded mountainous region begins again towards the

Kumaishi is said to be the best district for herring fishing along that

From Kumaishi to Kudo numerous reefs extend out at sea, and small
headlands afford a safe anchorage to junks. The track is mostly on a
rough coast backed by high and well-wooded hills. Striking across the
mountains, which rise sheer from the sea, we come to Cape Ota, the most
westerly point of Yezo. From here the coast turns towards the north-east
as far as Barabuta; but as it was impossible for me to go on horseback
to that place, though only a few miles distant, I turned back and
returned to Esashi, then following the coast towards the south to
Matsumai or Fukuyama, one of the first Japanese settlements established
in Yezo, and formerly the capital of the island. The coast is rugged and
picturesque from Esashi to the two villages of Kaminokumi and Shiofuki,
after which a mountain path leads to Ishisaki.

I found the Japanese on this coast most polite and honest, and more like
the "old Japanese" than the younger generations.

The cliffs on the south side of the Ishizaki River were resplendent in
beauty under the brilliant red and yellow light of the setting sun.
Oshima (or Large Island) could be seen on the horizon in the distant
south. Five miles further, across a mountain track, I came to Cisango,
and five more miles beyond that place landed me at Haraguchi, two small
fishing villages, with houses resting on high posts and against the
cliffs, somewhat similar to the villages I found previous to my reaching
the Ishikari River.

After that are eight or ten miles of a monotonous hilly road, where you
do nothing but ascend and descend one small hill after another, up and
down a snake-like or a zig-zag path; but when Eramachi is passed the
track becomes much more interesting, with its peculiar groups of rocks
of all shapes sticking out of the sea, and the long line of reef over
which the breakers roll foaming and thundering. From here by the side of
Oshima, another small island, "Koshima," is seen on the horizon. Going
south the coast gradually gets more and more picturesque, with its
pretty little fishing villages hidden among the rocks and sheltered
under the high cliffs. At Neptka a good road leads over the cliffs to

About a mile before the town is reached, from a high point of vantage on
the road, is a pretty peep of Benten Island, just off the shore, with an
old temple on it, and by its side a new lighthouse. On the shore, a few
yards from the road opposite the island, a large rock is literally
covered with hundreds of stone images of Amida and different gods, and
two _Torii_, sacred emblems of Japan, are placed in front of it.

I descended the slope gently and reached Koromatsumai, otherwise called
Matsumai, or Fukuyama. It is a "dear old spot," the most picturesque of
all the towns in Hokkaido. It is ancient, for one thing, while other
places are modern--some villages, indeed, only a year or two old, or
even less. Thus weather has toned down the light yellow colour of the
new wood, which is so offensive to the eye in a landscape, and is so
common in all Japanese villages of Yezo. Besides, Fukuyama has pretty
temples on the surrounding hills, and prettily-laid-out gardens with
tiny stone bridges, bronze lanterns, and dwarfed trees. It is more like
a town of old Japan. It has a three-storied castle with turned-up roofs,
as one sees on the willow-pattern plates.

The castle, formerly the residence of the Daimio, a feudal prince, is
now a restaurant. The irregular streets of the town, the narrow lanes,
the houses blackened by smoke and age, give a certain _cachet_ which is
peculiar to the place itself. The inhabitants, too, are more
conservative than the younger colonists, and are quite "in keeping" with
the place. Unluckily, the town has seen better days! It possesses no
good harbour, and all its trade, little by little, is being carried
away by its more fortunate rival, Hakodate. The population of Matsumai
decreases considerably every year, as the inhabitants leave this
poetical but dead-alive and decaying spot for the more exciting life to
be found in newly-opened districts further east or north.

Between Fukuyama and Hakodate, a distance of over sixty miles, the road
is extremely bad, and there is nothing whatever to see. Shirakami Cape
is interesting as being the most southern point of Yezo, and from here
the coast turns slightly towards the north-east.

Fukushima is an old village. The other headlands, and the Cape of
Yagoshi, have no special features calling for attention. Near the latter
cape the coast is volcanic, which renders it very rugged in shape and
warmly tinted in colour. There are many villages along the coast, as
Yoshioka, Shiriuchi, Kikonai, Idzumizawa, Mohechi, and Kamiiro, and the
inhabitants seem well off and well-to-do people.

A great quantity of coal and firewood is carried on pony-back from these
mountains to Hakodate. Rows of ten, twelve, or fifteen ponies one after
the other, loaded with as much as they can carry, can be seen slowly
travelling, under the care of one man, down to the principal port of
Yezo, especially at the beginning of the winter season; and here and
there stacks of split wood are piled ready for transportation.

Rounding the Hakodate Bay, I was again at the point whence I had first
started, and happy that, notwithstanding all the ill-luck I had had,
notwithstanding the strain on my physique, which is not by any means
herculean, and notwithstanding all the obstacles which had come in my
way, I had finally succeeded in doing what no European had ever done
before, namely, in completing the whole circuit of Yezo at one time,
exploring all its most important rivers and lakes, studying the habits,
customs, and manners of that strange race of people, the Hairy Ainu, and
visiting the Kuriles besides.

Many parts which I travelled over had never been trodden by European
foot, and this made my journey all the more interesting to me. As the
book stands I have related but the principal adventures which I had
during my long peregrinations in Hokkaido, most of which are intended to
illustrate Ainu customs and traits by my own personal experience rather
than to excite sympathy for my hardships. Really, though the journey
nearly cost me my life, I have never, in my extensive wanderings,
enjoyed a trip more than that to Ainuland.

I have touched but slightly, and not more than was absolutely necessary,
on subjects relating to the Japanese; for this is intended as a work on
the Ainu.

I was happy yet sorry to be at the end of my journey! This was the 146th
day since I first left Hakodate, and the distance I had travelled was
about 4,200 miles, out of which 3,800 were ridden on horseback, or an
average of twenty-five miles a day. The remaining 400 miles were either
by steamer or canoe travelling.

From the day I broke the bone in my foot I travelled fifty-eight days,
mostly on horseback, and the first time it was attended to and properly
bandaged up was sixty days after it occurred, or two days after my
arrival in Hakodate, by Mr. Pooley, chief engineer on board the SS.
_Satsuma Maru_.

Mr. Henson was again extremely kind, and pressed me to leave the
tea-house and go and stay at his place, and after five months of "hard
planks" I slept again in a comfortable bed. What a treat it was! What a
curious sensation to sleep in a bed again, and actually have sheets and
blankets! But this was not all, for surprise followed surprise.

The pompous Consul, who for the sake of saving himself the trouble of
looking into his desk, had made my last portion of the journey wretched
and sorrowful, found that after all he was mistaken, and on the
breakfast-table in my place I found a packet of about 100 letters and
newspapers, which the Consul sent to me with a message saying that when
I called last time he had forgotten who I was, and therefore had
forgotten to give me my correspondence!

Now that we have travelled round and through the country in every
direction; now that we have seen where the different tribes of Ainu are,
I shall attempt to give my readers some insight into the Ainu
themselves, and their mode of living.



Ainu Habitations, Storehouses, Trophies, Furniture--Conservatism.

Ainu architecture is by no means elaborate, let alone beautiful; but
though it is so simple, it is to a certain extent varied, differing
according to the exigencies of climate and locality. Huts of one
district vary from those of another not only in small details, but also
in the whole shape; or if the shape is the same, the materials are

The principal characteristics of the Volcano Bay and Saru River huts is,
that they have angular roofs and are thatched with tall reeds and
arundinaria, while the huts up the Tokachi River are more often covered
with bark, though in form they are almost identical with those others.

On the Kutcharo Lake, again, the huts are thatched with tall reeds like
those of Volcano Bay, but the building itself has a totally different
shape. The roof is semicircular, and each hut is in appearance like the
half of a cylinder lying on its rectangular base.

On the north-east coast the huts have either roofs similar to the
Kutcharo ones, or else the angle is very obtuse instead of being sharp,
as with the Piratori or Volcano Bay huts.

In the Kuriles, at Shikotan, the Ainu have houses exactly similar to
those at Piratori.

Setting aside the varieties of form, we shall now consider how the huts
are built. A frame is first made by horizontally lashing at short
intervals long poles to others at the angles of the roof. Often the roof
is made first and lifted up bodily on the forked poles on which it
rests. Then long reeds and arundinaria are collected in sufficient
quantity to thatch the frame thickly on each side. Other poles or
rafters are then placed over these reeds, and through them lashed
tightly to the under frame, thus preventing the thatch from being blown
or washed away. Care is taken to leave an opening for the door; and the
small east window--usually the only one in Ainu huts--is cut out
afterwards by means of a knife. Ainu huts have never more than one
storey and never more than one room and a small porch. In districts
where the climate is less severe the porch is often dispensed with. In
building their habitations the hairy people make no attempt whatever at
symmetry or beauty; all they aim at is to make themselves a shelter and
nothing more.

There are no more professional architects than professionals of any
other kind in the Ainu country. Each man is his own architect, builder,
and carpenter. He may occasionally receive the help of a neighbour when
he is building his hut, if all hands in the family are not sufficient to
carry him through his work.

Each family has its own hut, which is used day and night by all the
members. If one of the sons gets married he sometimes brings his bride
to live in his father's hut, or else he goes to live in his bride's hut;
but as the "hairy mother-in-law" is no better than other
"mothers-in-law," the end of this arrangement is that generally the
bridegroom has to build a habitation for himself and his better-half.
Fortunately for him, he has to pay no ground-rent; nor has he to take a
lease, nor pay the lawyer for an agreement, nor yet to buy the ground
nor the materials on which and of which his not too luxurious abode is
to be built. He chooses the site which is most suitable to him, and
there he builds his hut as best he can; and no one is any the worse or
the wiser for it. The "furnishing" is a matter of no consideration with
the Ainu, as he prefers to live in an "unfurnished house." By
instalments, however, as he finds his floor becoming rather damp, he
provides himself with a few rough planks, which afford him comfortable
sleeping accommodation; and during the winter, when fishing is not
practicable, and he spends most of his day at home, he roughly carves
for himself a moustache-lifter (the _Kike-ush-bashui_); a small paddle,
the _Hera_ (which is used both to stir the wine and as an implement in
weaving); a pestle and mortar carved out of the trunk of a tree; and, if
he be a very ambitious person and fond of his wife, he will probably
make her a weaving loom as well as two or three "water-jugs" if we may
call them so--vessels made of bark bent into shape, and lashed so
strongly as to be water-tight, and used for carrying water as needed.

A few wooden bowls, a wooden hook, which is suspended over the fire when
bear-meat is smoked, occasionally a _Kinna_ (a mat), and a skin or two,
are all the articles of furniture of Ainu manufacture which an Ainu can
possess, though few of them possess so many. The Ainu hut has a
fire-place in the centre, or rather, a fire is lighted in the centre of
the hut. The fire is lighted with a flint and steel--a method learned
from the Japanese--or by the friction of two sticks. The more civilised
Ainu have now adopted matches. A hole in the angle of the roof acts as
chimney, but unfortunately more in name than in practice.

Chairs, stools, sofas, beds, tables, etc., are all things unknown to the
Ainu. While inspecting the hut it may be as well to see how the
weaving-loom, the most complicated article of the Ainu household, is
made and worked. There is a "yarn beam" (the _Kammakappe_), on which the
"warp" of unwoven thread is wound and kept separated, and another "roll"
by which the warp threads in the process of weaving are kept in tension
between the two gratings. There then is the _Poro-usa_ (the "large
grating"), through the intervals of which the warp threads pass, and the
_Usa_, a similar but smaller grating placed on the other side of the

[Illustration: THE KAMMAKAPPE.]

[Illustration: PORO-USA, OR "LARGE GRATING."]

[Illustration: THE USA.]

[Illustration: STICKS.]

The cloth is wound round a stick which rests on the lap of the weaver,
and is kept in tension by means of her wrists; and at the same time the
_Ahunkanitte_ (the "shuttle"), is passed between the two sets of warp
threads carrying the transverse thread, or "woof," from one side of the
cloth to the other and back again. This is then beaten up by means of a
long shuttle like a netting mesh, which first draws the weft into its
place, and is then used to beat it up. In some ways this form of loom is
similar to that of India. The "netting mesh" is called _Atzis-Hera_.
Finally, the _Pekoatnit_ is a bi-forked instrument for separating the

[Illustration: THE AHUNKANITTE.]

[Illustration: THE PEKOATNIT.]

It is needless to say that with this primitive and homemade loom it
takes a very long time to weave a very short piece of cloth; but as time
is not money with Ainu women, and patience is one of their virtues, it
answers their purpose, and they wish for nothing better.


The thread used for manufacturing the cloth is made of the inner fibre
of the _Ulmus campestris_ bark. At the beginning of the spring the elm
bark is peeled off the trees and is put in water to soak and soften
until the inner fibres can be separated, made into threads, and wound up
round reeds. The material woven from these threads is very coarse and
brittle, except in wet weather or when soaked in water, in which case
clothes made of it cannot be worn out.

The weaving is usually plain, but sometimes a simple pattern of black
parallel lines is woven in with the material. The natural colour of the
elm-fibre thread is dark yellow, and the black lines are composed of the
same thread stained.

The other contrivance in Ainu huts which strikes one as being simple
but clever is the hook suspended over the fire. The rope is passed over
a rafter. One end of it is fastened to the hook, the other, as shown in
the illustration, to a piece of wood through which the hook has
previously been passed.

[Illustration: ROASTING HOOK.]

Mat-making is closely allied to weaving, and is worked entirely on the
same principle, but without the aid of any kind of machinery. The
bulrushes are crossed and woven coarsely, and plaited flat. One of these
mats is used in Ainu huts as a door--"the _Apa Otki_." A smaller one is
hung over or by the window.

Naturally, Ainu huts are somewhat draughty. The imperfectness of the
door and window-fittings, the large outlet for the smoke, besides the
wind which finds its way through the thatched walls, make Ainu dwellings
"ideal" to anyone wishing to "catch his death of cold." The Ainu do not
much mind it.

The roof is low, and from it hang the winter provisions of dried salmon
captured during the autumn. This gives an additional odour to the
already strong scent of the hut--an "ancient fish-like smell," not
redolent of the perfumes of Arabia. The smoke inside the hut is so dense
when there happens to be a fire burning that one's eyes stream with
involuntary tears, and one is nearly choked. When the days are short in
winter the Ainu sometimes light their dwellings with a stick to which is
fastened a piece of animal fat. It is hung up aloft, and when the lower
end is lighted the fat slowly melting serves to feed the flame and keep
this primitive lamp alight. Another mode of illumination is by firing a
lighted piece of birch bark on a stick previously split at the upper
end. The third way is by filling a large shell with fish-oil and burning
in it a few strings of elm-fibre. None of these methods come much into
use for everyday life, as, unlike the negroes, the Ainu are not fond of
sitting up at night, except on extraordinary occasions; and when by
chance they do sit up it is by the light of the fire only.

If a stranger stops for the night in an Ainu hut, he is made to sleep
directly under the east window; but the family take good care to sleep
all together on the north side, which is the most distant point from
the door and the window. Occasional callers are received on the side
nearest to the door.

The few Ainu who possess mats on which they sit during the day hang them
up at night round the hut, probably to protect themselves from the
liberal ventilation, which even those who are used to it find trying
when a gale is blowing or the thermometer is very low.

There is no particular spot inside the hut set apart for meals, and the
refuse is either thrown into a corner of the hut or flung outside the
door and left there. It is difficult to say whether the inside or the
outside of an Ainu hut is the dirtier. Heaps of stinking refuse are
accumulated round the dwellings, and in summer-time these heaps are
alive with vermin--mosquitoes, flies, _abu_, and black-flies. It is
quite sufficient to move a step from the door to see a cloud of these
noxious insects rise, and each one of them will have a bite at you.

Inside the house you are no better off. _Taikki_ (fleas) are
innumerable, and of all sizes, not to mention other well-known but
usually anonymous enemies of the human skin.

The first night I slept in an Ainu hut, though I was provided with
insecticide powder, I was literally covered with bites. With my fondness
for statistics I proceeded to count them, and only from my ankle to my
knee I counted as many as 220. The rest of my body and my head were
covered in the same proportion, but I gave up the attempt to ascertain
the exact number--the task was too overwhelming. My skin, however, got
so inflamed by these bites as to produce fever, which lasted two or
three days. After that time I never again suffered to such an extent,
perhaps owing to the fact that no free spot was left to attack, or may
be from that curious process called acclimatisation.

The Ainu huts are built entirely above ground, and are used alike in
winter and summer.

In olden times the hut was always destroyed at the death of its owner,
or when abandoned; but in the former case the custom is seldom practised
now, and in the latter they are merely left to decay.

It is singular that migrating Ainu, coming across an uninhabited hut,
never live in it, but build a new one for themselves.

The Kurilsky Ainu until quite recently destroyed their huts when
migrating from one island to another. They also burnt the huts of
deceased persons. It is needless to say that the Ainu have no churches,
no hotels, no hospitals, and no public buildings of any kind. The huts
in villages are a little way from one another, and each hut has directly
in front a separate storehouse, built on piles or posts so as not to be
accessible to wolves, dogs, or rats. These are small structures, the
architecture of which has the local characteristics of the habitations,
with the exception that they are invariably on piles, while the
habitations are on the ground. Clothes, furs, mats, and winter
provisions of sea-weed are kept in these storehouses, and access to them
is by means of a peculiar ladder. It is a mere log of wood, six or seven
feet in length, pointed at one end, and with five or six incisions,
which serve as steps, and remind me of the steps cut by an ice-axe in a
glacier or on frozen snow. Natives go up and down these ladders with
ease, even when carrying heavy weights on their heads; and good care is
always taken to remove the ladder when leaving the storehouse. Women
principally look after these storehouses, and seem to have the whole
care and control of them. I have often seen an Ainu girl--for a
storehouse could hardly hold more than one--sitting on the tiny door
working at her lord and master's _Atzis_ robe. Hour after hour I have
seen her sitting there, working patiently till the sun has set and the
darkness has come. Her materials were then stowed away; the mat at the
door was let down; the ladder descended and kicked away; and sadly
singing in her soft falsetto voice, she retired into the dirt and dark
of her habitation.

The storehouses stand about six feet above the level of the ground, and
are generally on four, six, or eight piles. Upon each pile is placed a
large square piece of wood turned downwards at the sides, so as not to
be accessible to rats and mice. Upon these square pieces of wood rest
horizontally four rafters, forming a quadrangle about eight feet square.
The small storehouse has as a base this quadrangle, and is seldom high
enough to allow of an adult to stand inside.

Storehouses are thatched like all other houses. On the upper Tokachi,
however, they are covered with the bark of trees.

Next in connection with Ainu habitations comes the skull-trophy at the
east end of the hut. This is on a parallel line to the hut wall, and
only a few yards away from it, and is made of a number of bi-forked
poles, upon which are placed the skulls of the bears, wolves, and foxes
killed by the owner of the hut. The Ainu is proud of this trophy, and if
the number of bear skulls is very large, he commands a certain amount of
respect from his hairy brethren. There is nothing that Ainu admire more
than courage, and there is nothing in the world that an Ainu desires
more than to be thought brave. When he has gained this character a man
becomes in a certain way the "lion" of the village. He embellishes his
trophy with a _Nusa_ and _Inaos_ (willow wands with overhanging
shavings--_see_ Chapter on Superstitions), and he always looks on it as
an evidence of his manly glory. Besides this, many Ainu possess one or
two live bears kept in cages. Bear hunters often secure one or more
cubs, which they bring home and allow to live in the hut like one of the
family or an Irishman's pig. These cubs are nursed along with and in the
same manner as the children, and Ainu say that women often put them to
the breast and suckle them like their own infants. Whether this is true
or not I cannot say; but though I have never seen it, and therefore
cannot vouch for it, it is not unlike Ainu women to do such a thing.

When the new-comers grow big and powerful enough to be dangerous, the
men make a rough cage with logs of timber, placing them one over the
other in a quadrangular shape, and lashing them strongly together. The
bear is driven into the cage, which is then roofed over; and after a
couple of years of confinement, during which it is fattened, poor Bruin
is killed for a bear festival. In the lower part of the cage there is a
small wooden tray by which food is served to the captive.


On the north-east coast of Yezo I have also seen smaller cages, in which
foxes, eagles, or other animals are kept; and I always noticed the care
which Ainu took to feed up the imprisoned animals. That "charity begins
at home" is true even among the hairy people; for if they are kind to
animals it is only for the sake of making a good meal of them on the
first occasion that presents itself.

It may be as well to state that the Ainu have never been known to make
pottery. What they have of the kind is imported and sold to or exchanged
with them by the Japanese. If I were an Irishman I should say that real
Ainu pottery is made of wood. Nevertheless, large shells are often used
by them as drinking vessels where wooden bowls are not obtainable. It is
a common occurrence in Ainu households that one bowl is used by several
individuals, and a more common occurrence still that none of the bowls
are ever washed or cleaned after having been used.

[Illustration: MORTAR.]

[Illustration: PESTLE.]

The small Ainu porch which stands frequently at the entrance of Ainu
huts answers the purpose of a stackhouse, and in it is stored the
firewood used in the house. The wooden mortar and the long pestle are
kept in a corner under the porch. In the more civilised parts of Yezo
these pestles and mortars are general, as the natives use them for
pounding millet.

[Illustration: BONE SPOON.]



The pure Ainu live principally on animal food--fish and meat--sea-weed,
and some kinds of roots and herbs, which they find on the mountains.
Metallurgy is utterly unknown to the Ainu. Until of late years they
possessed nothing made of metal. Their arrows had bamboo or bone heads;
tin or iron cooking utensils they had none; and the blades of their
knives were and are of Japanese origin. Some of these blades are very
old, and were acquired by the Ainu in the battles which they fought
against the Japanese; others have been got by barter-metal exchanged for
skins of animals.

Furthermore, save the weaving-loom, the Ainu possess no machinery of
their own make. This too, as we have seen, is but a very rude and simple
kind of machine. The application of wind or water power to economise
human labour is in no way known to them; thus they have no windlasses,
no pumps, no bellows, no windmills, no waterwheels; neither have they
any signs of the rudest form of machinery moved by manual power which
they have imagined and made for themselves. Furthermore, they are very
loth to accept those mechanical means of economising labour which are
employed by their neighbours the Japanese.

The Ainu are very conservative, little as they may have to preserve.
They show a great dislike to change or reform their habits and customs,
or to improve themselves in any way. Worse they could certainly not be.
They have no ancestral attachment which makes them unwilling to discard
their rude practices for more civilised ways; but, acting according to
their instincts, and not by their intelligence, they preserve customs
which seem inconvenient and unpractical to us, which habit has rendered
familiar and pleasant to them.

Various natives in other parts of the world show signs of an earlier
state of civilisation, but the Ainu do not. They have never had a past
civilisation, they are not civilised now, and what is more, they will
never be civilised. Civilisation kills them. As a hog delights in filth,
so the Ainu can only live in dirt, neglect, and savagery of personal
habits. They are made that way, and they cannot help it. They are
excluded from progress by an impassable barrier. They have many miseries
in their life, but no greater misery could befall an Ainu than to be
forced to lead a civilised existence. Even after they have been educated
in Japanese schools, when they return home, in a short time they forget
all they have learned, and discard their acquired civilisation for the
old, free, untrammelled mountain life; the wild habits of the woods and
sea-shore; the nakedness of summer and the stifling squalor of the one
small dingy hut in winter; the uncombed hair and matted beard; the
putrid flesh of salmon, and the vile compound they revel in till they
get gloriously drunk and bestial.




Ainu Art, Ainu Marks, Ornamentations, Weapons--Graves and Tattoos.

The expression of ideas by graphic signs is utterly unknown to the Ainu.
They have no alphabet, and furthermore, they have no methods whatever of
writing. Hence the utter incapacity of the hairy people to record
events, time, or circumstances in their history; for even the system of
picture-writing is not known to them.

Thus they have neither graven records nor any form of visible history;
and tradition transmitted from mouth to mouth is all they have by way of
historic continuity. The nearest approach made to graphic signs is in
the owner's marks, which we occasionally find on some of their
implements. The moustache-lifter is the article on which this mark is
most commonly found. What these marks are meant to represent I do not
know for certain; but I believe that Fig. 1 is supposed to convey the
idea of a house, and Fig. 2 that of a boat; Fig. 3 a bear cage, and 4
the mere result of fancy. Even these marks are only rarely found, and
have probably been suggested by Japanese writing.

The illustration shows the four specimens which I found carved on

[Illustration: 1 2 3 4]

Closely allied with writing is, of course, map-drawing and
ornamentations. Map drawing can be dismissed at once, like that famous
chapter on snakes in Iceland, as the Ainu know nothing of it.

Rough ornamentations on bone and wooden implements are their only
artistic efforts. Truthful representations of figures and animals are
seldom attempted,[37] but conventionalised symbols, suggested by and
based on certain forms of animal or vegetable life, are occasionally
used for ornamentation.

    [37] The only attempt at animal representation is the small
         bear-head in chiefs' crowns.

The Ainu have no rock-sculptures, and can neither paint nor draw in any
form; what they have are mere simple wood-carvings. But only a few have
any aptitude for even this crude work, though of course they are not all
alike. As with us we have people who are artistic and people who are
Philistine, so with the Ainu, in that very humble degree which is to
Western art what an acorn is to an oak.

Like all early work, Ainu art--if we may call it so--aims at a certain
uniformity, especially in leaf-portraiture, so as to produce a somewhat
symmetrical pattern; for at all times geometry has been the mother of

An Ainu does not go for his models direct to Nature, neither does he
servilely copy his neighbour's work; but he gets his ideas indirectly
from both these sources, and through inability to copy accurately,
negligence in close study, and some amount of native imagination
combined, varies the design which he has seen to such an extent as to
make it in a sense original. The talent shown by different men in the
art of carving varies considerably, even in men of the same tribe; while
certain tribes show both aptitude and fondness for these ornamentations,
whereas others have little of either.

It is the Ainu of the upper Ishikari River who chiefly excel in these
carved ornamentations. The knife represented in the illustration comes
from Kamikawa, and was carved with the point of a knife by the chief of
the Ainu there. It took the man many months to accomplish, and it is by
far the best specimen of Ainu workmanship that I saw in Yezo, though the
ornamentations on it are not purely Ainu in character.

This man was a genius as compared to other Ainu, and his ideas of form
and precision were considerably more developed than in most of his race.
He has ornamented the sheath with conventionalised symbols, which were
apparently suggested to him by leaves and branches of trees; and the
suggestion of a flower can be noticed in the upper part of the handle.
A suggestion of fish-scales has been used by him to fill up small open
spaces; others he filled up with parallel lines. The sheath is made of
two parts, to allow the carver to cut the space for the blade inside;
but these two parts are well fitted together, and kept fast by six rings
of neatly-cut bark fastened on while fresh, so that by shrinking the two
sides of the sheath are brought close together, and are as if made of
one single piece.

The side view of the same knife shows the clever contrivance for
fastening it on to the girdle without removing the latter from around
the body. This knife may be ranked among the _chefs d'œuvre_ of Ainu

[Illustration: SIDE VIEW.]

The principal characteristics of the more usual ornamentations are
interesting to study.


Art of course is only the personification, so to speak, the expression
of the mind, character, and knowledge of the artist; thus, in Ainu
ornamentations we have patterns which could be nothing but Ainu, taken
collectively, yet which show distinctly the temperament of each
individual. For instance, taking the moustache-lifters (Figs. 1, 2, 4 in
the illustration). Fig. 1, with its roundish, undecided, lines, was
carved by a man weak in physique and _morale_; Fig. 2, which is much
simpler and with more decided lines, was the work of a quiet but strong
and proud man; and Fig. 4, with its coarse incisions, was the outcome of
a brutal mind.

Ainu designs, though slightly varied by each individual, are principally
formed of simple geometrical patterns; then of coils and scrolls; and,
rarest of all, because the highest attainment of all, of
conventionalised representations of animal or vegetable forms. Of the
representations from animal forms the fish-scale is the only one adopted
by the Ainu, but suggestions of leaves may not infrequently be found in
these designs. Some of these are long and narrow; others are short and


The above are, to my mind, the models which the Ainu have chiefly taken
for their leaf patterns, following nature at a long distance indeed!


Beside these, and much more common, are the rope-pattern and the simple
bands. Often the rope-pattern has bands above and below, especially in
drinking vessels.

Triangles filled with lines parallel to one of the sides are frequently
met with in moustache-lifters, and occasionally the annexed patterns are
found: but as a rule the Ainu are not fond of merely straight single
lines except for "filling" purposes. These patterns are mostly used on
their graves. In articles of every-day use they prefer curves as a
foundation of their ornamentations. The lozenge pattern, especially one
lozenge inside the other, is a favourite among their geometrical
designs; also contiguous and detached circles, chevrons, double
chevrons, and triple chevrons. The chevrons are mainly used by them on
their graves, and they are invariably enclosed between two or four

[Illustration: TRIANGLES.]

[Illustration: CHEVRONS.]

The two following patterns are elaborations of the foregoing, but are
much more uncommon.


The parallel incised lines and parallel lines crossing each other at
right angles are met with again and again in Ainu patterns. More common
still is the occurrence of a number of parallel lines meeting
perpendicularly another lot of parallel lines without crossing them.

[Illustration: A COMMON PATTERN.]

Parallel lines have a fascination for the Ainu, as we find them in most
of their designs.

Concentric circles are not often met with, neither is the plain or loop
coil often found, owing to the difficulty of execution; but the wave
pattern and double wave are typical Ainu patterns; also the reversed

[Illustration: WAVE PATTERNS.]

From these may have been derived the other two, the last of which is a
mere double reversed coil.

[Illustration: REVERSED COIL.]

Triangular marks are occasionally "put in" by the Ainu in some of their
more complicated designs, and finally we find that, though rarely, they
sometimes attempt a kind of fret.

Other strange forms of lines which are thoroughly characteristic of the
Ainu are the following.

[Illustration: FRETS.]


I never came across any Ainu wood-carvings that were coloured, but in
bone-carvings--which, I must add, are very rare--black is used to assist
shade, and bring out the higher lights by contrast. The Ainu have no
idea of tones, semi-tones, or gradations; the contrast is merely between
the strong black and strong white. Enamelling is not known by them.

The objects which bear these incised ornamentations, beside the sheaths
and handles of their knives and swords and their moustache-lifters, as
has been shown, are the _Tchutti_, or war-clubs; the _Hera_, or
netting-mesh used in weaving; drinking-vessels, quivers, pipes and
tobacco-boxes, the thread-reeds, cloth-hangers, and graves.

[Illustration: TCHUTTI, OR WAR-CLUBS.]

The modern Ainu are not a warlike people, therefore many of the weapons
which were used in former days for defence and offence are rarely found
now. For instance, the old war-clubs are not used by the present
generation. These clubs were long and heavy, and were carried on the
wrist by a piece of rope passed through a hole at the upper end. Some
were plain and straight, others were curved towards the end to make them
heavier. Now and again some carved all over are found. Pieces of leather
or rope were often knotted round the heavier part to make the blow more
severe. In some of the very old clubs a stone was inlaid to add to the
weight and consequent efficiency of the weapon. These clubs are from two
to two and a half feet in length, and are made of hard wood.


Ainu bows are simple, and not very powerful. They are about fifty inches
in length, and made of only one piece of yew. The arrows, which are
poisoned, are of bamboo or bone. The poison is extracted from aconite
roots mixed with other ingredients. It is somewhat greasy owing to
certain fatty matters which it contains, and is smeared into the cavity
in the arrow-point, which has previously been treated with pine-tree gum
to fix the poison. The arrow-point is barbed, and so fashioned that when
the shaft is drawn from the wound this poisoned point remains.

[Illustration: POISONED ARROWS.]

The illustration gives two different kinds of poisoned arrows. In Figs.
2 and 3, the black part in the point shows the cavity filled with
poison. Fig. 2 shows how the arrow-head is separated from the reed, and
how when the arrow is drawn from the flesh the poisoned point remains
inside the wound.

The arrows, when in war or hunting, are kept in a quiver, and a small
_Inao_ is hung to it to bring good luck to the owner.

Spears and harpoons of one barb are common, and some of the poisoned
spears have heads similar to the arrows but of a larger size. Spears are
out of date now, but harpoons are still employed in fishing.

Knives are the weapons on which a modern Ainu most relies. Some of these
knives are of such length that they might pass for swords. The blade is
single-edged, and is protected by a wooden sheath. Nearly every man
possesses one, which he carries in his girdle when dressed; when naked,
he carries it in his hand. The illustration shows knives of different
sizes, and with different patterns worked on them. From an artistic
point of view the sheaths of knives are the most carefully wrought over,
and ornamented to a greater extent than any other article of Ainu

[Illustration: AINU KNIVES.]

Then come the graves. The Ainu are very jealous of these places of
eternal rest, and good care is taken to hide them either in the midst of
a forest, on a distant and almost inaccessible hill, or in some remote
spot, difficult to find or reach.


[Illustration: MONUMENTS FOR WOMEN.]

Each village has its own semi-secret graveyard, in which all its dead
are buried. Occasionally, when the site of a graveyard has become known
to others than these local Ainu, the place is deserted, and a fresh
place of sepulture is chosen. The manner of burial is as follows. The
body, wrapped up in a _Kinna_ (mat), is fastened to a long pole and
carried to the grave by two men. All the villagers follow, each carrying
some article which was owned by the deceased. A grave is dug, wide and
long enough to hold the body laid flat. In it are placed the bow and
arrows with their quiver, the knife--from which, for the sake of
economy, the blade has been previously removed--and the drinking-vessel
which belonged to the deceased, if he were a man. Women are usually
buried with some beads, earrings, and furs. All these articles, carried
by the mourners, are broken before they are laid in the grave with the
corpse; a few boards are then placed over the body, and earth is thrown
over these till the ground is level again.

The grave is generally so shallow that the body is only a few inches
underground--sometimes not more than four inches. The body lies flat on
its back. Close to its head is erected a monument. For men it is the
trunk of a tree, about six feet in length, from which the bark has been
peeled off, and whereon certain ornamentations are cut. A short branch
is left on one side. The top of the tree-trunk and the end of the branch
are cut either in the shape of a lozenge, a hexagon, or a semicircle;
and a hole is made through it. At the branch end, the cloth-earrings or
the head-gear of the deceased are hung and left to decay.

[Illustration: WOODEN BLADE.]

Women have simpler graves; they are flat instead of round, and are cut
into the shape of a canoe-paddle. The chief of a village has a more
elaborate tomb than others if he has been liked by the villagers. At
Raishats, on the Ishikari River, I saw a really imposing monument put
over the grave of the chief who had recently died. It was of very large
size, and well carved--in the same patterns as those shown in the
illustration. Its chief peculiarity was that the body, instead of being
covered by earth, was covered by what appeared to be a canoe or
"dug-out" turned upside down, the bottom of which had been laboriously
carved. On each of the two sides, at the head and foot of the grave, was
stuck into the ground a wooden blade twenty-one inches in length,
resembling in shape the blade of a sword. Each of these four blades was
carved alike, and had a strange design resembling the number 88. Whether
a meaning is attached by the Ainu to this design I cannot say, and the
curious circumstance, as my readers will remember, through which I came
into possession of one of these blades, did not permit me to ask many
questions on the subject. I often wondered whether it meant that life
begins, goes its way round, and ends where it began? It is more likely,
though, that no meaning whatever is attached to those lines, for such
deep thoughts would hardly harmonise with the Ainu philosophy--such as
it is. The Ainu do not stop to mourn or pray or trouble themselves about
a grave when the body is once buried. Those who have touched the body
wash their hands in a tub of water which has been brought for the
purpose; afterwards the water is thrown over the grave and the tub is
smashed. The Ainu seldom visit their graveyards except when some one has
to be buried. They hate their dead to be disturbed, and nothing makes
them more angry than to know that a stranger has been near their
burial-ground. When a man is dead they try to forget all about him and
his doings, in which they generally succeed to perfection. This
naturally is not conducive to anything like continuity in the history of
the country, and may partly account for their having none. Moreover,
none of the tombs bear the name or the mark of the person to whom it was
erected. Tombs of children are of similar shape to those of adults, only
smaller in size. When carrying the dead--or, as we should say, going to
a funeral--the Ainu put on their best clothes, and when the burial is
over they all get helplessly drunk to make up for the loss of the
departed friend.

To leave this somewhat grim subject and to return to every-day art, it
may be well to mention that the designs for embroideries differ in no
way from the wood-carvings. They are often more accurately finished,
owing to the greater facility of materials, but the lines and all the
characteristics of the patterns are the same. In the tattoos the lozenge
pattern and bands are the two more commonly used. The Egyptian cross is
sometimes met with([Illustration: egyptian cross]), and also a kind of
reversed _fylfot_, or _svastika_. Moreover, the St. Andrew's cross with
an additional line is not uncommon(X|). In the present volume this is
all I have to say on Ainu art. I may, however, add that their
ornamentations could not be more primitive, but their frequency on
weapons, clothing, implements, and graves shows us that art, though not
understood by the Ainu, has a certain fascination, which, in their
ignorance, they cannot explain. They know art without knowing what art
means. Certain lines and simple designs which are familiar to them
appeal to their taste, else they would not ornament all their articles
with them. But this does not show any great intellectual activity, for
beyond that point the Ainu brain cannot go. As art in its natural state
is merely the pictorial outcome of what the brain has grasped, we have
in these crude beginnings another strong proof that the brain-power of
the Ainu is indeed very limited, and their inability to represent animal
form seems extraordinary in view of what other savages have done; but of
course superstition may have something to say to the omission. The Ainu
rank very low in the scale of civilisation; they are probably below the
Australian blacks and the tree-dwellers of India, who are supposed to be
among the lowest races in creation. The Terra del Fuegians and certain
African tribes run them hard; but, taken all in all, the Ainu are the
furthest behind in the great race of human development.

[Illustration: AN AINU PIPE.]


Ainu Heads, and their Physiognomy.

The faces of the Ainu are far from ugly, and their heads are singularly
picturesque, though of course there are the finer types as there are the
meaner; by which we come to gradation and comparison. The general idea
that all Ainu are hideous has arisen from the accounts of the few who
have travelled in the more civilised parts of Yezo, and have seen and
studied only a limited number of half-breeds and actual Japanese,
mistaking them for Ainu. In one of the last publications on the Ainu,
photographs of Japanese and half-breeds are given as typical specimens
of the Ainu race; and one or two real Ainu are given as phenomena and
exceptions. That the Ainu are disgustingly filthy is undoubted; that in
many ways they are monkey-like is certain; but also that on a close
examination many are not devoid of good features is undeniable. As
regards looks, it is a great mistake to compare savages with ourselves,
and to judge of them from our own standpoint. This is no more fair than
to compare a thoroughbred fox-terrier with a thoroughbred poodle-dog, to
the disadvantage of the one or the other. Passing off half-breeds as
pure types of course makes things ten times worse, and complicates
matters for those who care for accuracy, and are interested in
anthropological researches.

Ainu physiognomy is an interesting study. When seen full-face the
forehead is narrow, and sharply sloped backward. The cheek-bones are
prominent, and the nose is hooked, slightly flattened, and broad, with
wide, strong nostrils. The mouth is generally large, with thick, firm
lips, and the underlip well developed. The space from the nose to the
mouth is extremely long, while the chin, which is rather round, is
comparatively short and not very prominent. Thus the face has the shape
of a short oval. The profile is concave and the mouth and eyebrows are
prominent, though of course the nose projects more than the lips, yet
without being too markedly projecting. The chin and forehead recede, as
has been said, and in the supraorbital region the central boss is
extremely well marked; also the brow ridges, which, however, are
slightly less conspicuous than the central boss. The ears are usually
large, flat, and simply-developed, with long lobes; but unfortunately,
owing to the heavy weight of their enormous earrings this part of their
ears is generally much deformed. Sometimes I have seen children with a
hole in their lobes large enough for me to pass my finger through; with
others, where the skin was not so elastic, the lobes were torn right
through and the two sides hung down. In older people one does not see
this so much, as their long hair entirely covers their ears. The average
length of a man's ear is two and three-quarter inches; of a woman's, two
and a half inches.

People have classified the Ainu as Mongolians, notwithstanding that they
possess no characteristics whatsoever of the Mongolian races.

The colour of their skin is light reddish-brown, and not yellow and
sallow, like that of Mongolians; they are very hairy, and the Mongolians
are smooth-skinned; the features of the one race are diametrically
opposed to those of the other; the mouth is strong and firm in the Ainu
and weak in the Mongolian; and the Ainu eyes, the strongest
characteristic of Mongolian races, do not slant upwards, nor are they
long and almond-shaped, as with the Chinese or the Japanese, but with
their long axes are in one horizontal plane, as in most Europeans.
Indeed, the Ainu have a much greater resemblance to the northmen of
Europe in their prehistoric stage than to any modern races, and least of
all to the Mongolians.

But let us examine the eye more carefully. The iris is light brown,
sometimes tending towards dark grey. One seldom sees black or very dark
brown eyes save in half-breeds; and they are deeply set, as with
Europeans. The eyelids are no thicker than those of Caucasian races,
though they droop, as is common among people exposed to the full glare
of the sun. The broad ridges being very heavy and prominent, cover part
of the upper eyelid over the outer angle of the opening. The eyelashes
are extremely long, and the eyebrows are shaggy and bushy. The eyes are
full of animal-like expression and emotional warmth, a thing very rare
with their neighbours the Japanese or Chinese. The long eyelashes
shading the large eyes and rendering them soft, together with their
pathetic and slow way of talking, make men and women singularly
interesting. Like most animals, the Ainu can "speak" with their eyes.

The hair in Ainu adults is for the most part black, wavy, and easily
breaking into large curls. Among children, however, one sees brown
shades, which darken with years, until the hair turns quite black. Along
the north-east coast of Yezo I came across several Ainu adults who had
reddish hair and beard; and in the Kurile Islands, at Shikotan, several
of the children had light auburn hair hanging in large loose curls and
rather flaxy in texture, while the hair of adults was even darker than
that of the Yezo Ainu.

The hair, which is coarse and strong, is uniformly and thickly planted
over the whole scalp, and reaches well down over the forehead, where, as
my readers will remember, a space is cut out or shaved off. It grows
long in men as in women, but when it exceeds ten or twelve inches it is
generally trimmed in the shape of a half-circle at the back of the head,
and is cut off level with the shoulders at the sides. The men have a
luxuriant beard, whiskers, and moustache, which grow to a great length.
The hair of the beard often begins directly under the eyes, and covers
all the lower part of the face. Many of the natives also have a few
short coarse hairs on the nose (especially noticeable in natives of the
north-east coast of Yezo). The beard, whiskers, and moustache begin to
grow in the Ainu when they are fairly young. A man at about twenty can
grow a good beard, and at thirty his beard is very long. Ainu women,
whom nature has not provided with such a luxuriant growth of hair on the
lower part of the face, make up for it by having a long moustache
tattooed on the upper and lower lip, which in their idea makes them
look "very manly" (_see_ Tattoos). Baldness is not common among
thoroughbred Ainu, even at a very old age, when, however, they generally
turn grey and then white, which gives a patriarchal appearance to the
hairy people.

The Ainu face seldom undergoes the marked changes common to civilised
nations, as they are not subject to large emotions; but different
expressions are as easily discernible by anyone who really knows and has
studied the natives, as the different expressions in the eyes of animals
by one who is familiar with them. When the Ainu is pleased he seldom
wrinkles his face and draws back his mouth at the corners, as we do, but
he shows it by a peculiar sparkle in the eyes and by an almost
imperceptible wrinkle in his eyelids, which contract and diminish the
opening. The corners of the mouth turn slightly upwards. The smile is an
accentuation of this expression, with the additional lowering of the
eyebrows, especially in the middle near the nose, causing the forehead
to wrinkle.

Laughter Ainu know not. During my long stay among them I never once saw
a _real_ Ainu laugh heartily, for the hero of the dab of blue paint
laughed less than he roared with pleasure; and I do not remember even
direct crosses doing so; hence travellers have reported the Ainu to be
"dull," "sad," "expressionless."

Certainly, the first thing that strikes one on coming in contact with
them is, how depressed they look, and how, even in their work, their
games, their festivals, sadness is greater than joy. In fact, the Ainu,
with their sentimental nature, enjoy sadness.

Astonishment and surprise are expressed by a perplexed look in the
wide-opened eyes, by raising the eyebrows, and by the contraction of the
mouth. The hands are not raised nor directed towards the object or
person causing astonishment; but if the arms be hanging down, the
fingers are widely separated. With the Ainu sorrowful emotions are more
marked than the more pleasing, the more joyous. Thus, when in low
spirits the head is bent forwards, the eyes are staring and drooping,
and the mouth is drawn downwards. In greater grief howling is added to
these signs. Ainu men occasionally indulge in quiet tears without
sobbing, but women weep copiously at the death of their children when
these are young.

When an Ainu stands very erect, with one hand in the other in front,
and, turning his head on either shoulder, throws it back and looks down
at you with expressionless eyes, in the meanwhile raising his eyebrows,
you may be sure that he means to show contempt. If, however, his eyes
are restless and his lips quiver, if the eyebrows are rapidly brought
down over the eyelids, while he opens his eyes wide showing the whole of
the iris; if the nostrils are inflated and he breathes heavily; if the
head is thrown forward and he is slowly arching, and, as the French say,
"making a round back," you may be certain that he is in a very bad
temper, and means to go for you, if he sees his way to it.

When obstinate, the pose of the arms and legs is similar to that by
which he wishes to show contempt, but the expression of the face is
absolutely stolid, the eyes are firm and frigid, meaning in that way to
impress you with the certainty that, come what may, he will not move
from his decision.

When actively angry, the Ainu sneer and snarl at one another, frowning
ferociously, and showing all their front teeth, but specially uncovering
their fangs or dog teeth; the arms are stretched out, but always with
the fist open--if no knife or other weapon be held in the hand. Shame
and disgust are two expressions which one does not often see on Ainu
faces. The former I cannot describe, for I never saw an Ainu who was
ashamed of anything he had done; the latter is manifested by an upward
movement of the corners of the lips, and a curling of the nose, with a
sudden expiration almost like a snort.

Shyness, which is the nearest approach to shame, is shown by women when
meeting a stranger, and gives them a submissive look. They bend their
heads and look down until the first emotion has passed, when they gaze
at the new-comer with a certain restlessness and curiosity, again, as in
so many of their gestures and ways, reminding one of monkeys. I never
found any shyness whatever in Ainu men; neither could I detect in them
any signs of fear for objects, animals, or powers with which they were
familiar. Things which they do not understand of course frighten them,
like eclipses of the sun or moon, or as my revolver did when I was
attacked by them at Horobets; and also when I appeared as a black-winged
rider on the north-east coast. In the latter case, unfortunately, I was
too far off to see their faces clearly, and in the former, after the
attack they showed more sensible submission to the inevitable than true
cowardice. What I chiefly saw then was here and there a face with
wide-open, undecided eyes heavily frowning; while some of the others
shrugged their shoulders and closed their eyes, waiting for the loud
report of the revolver, which unpleasant noise, heard before from
Japanese guns, always gives a shock to their nerves.

When an Ainu wishes to show that something cannot be done, or that he
cannot prevent someone else from doing it, he neither shrugs his
shoulders like a Frenchman, nor shakes his head laterally like an
Englishman; nor does he throw out his hands like a Neapolitan, but,
quietly standing erect, and with his head slightly bent forward, he
gently lifts it up, and slowly winking his eyes, says that he cannot do

When children are sulky or displeased they frown and protrude their
lips, making a nasal noise similar to this--"Ohim"--without any of the
vowels clearly pronounced.

Our way of nodding the head vertically in sign of affirmation and
shaking it laterally in negation is not known to the thoroughbred race.
Those, either Ainu or half-castes, who practise it have learned it from
the Japanese. The right hand is generally used in negation, passing it
from right to left and back in front of the chest; and both hands are
gracefully brought up to the chest and prettily waved downwards--palms
upwards--in sign of affirmation. In other words, their affirmation is a
simpler form of their salute, just the same as with us the nodding of
the head is similarly used both ways.

It is quite enough to look at an Ainu's eyes to see at once whether he
consents or not, just as it is quite enough to look at a monkey's face
to know if it will accept the apple you offer it. Slyness and jealousy
are well marked in the Ainu face, and the former is seen in the
glittering, restless eyes, the latter in the sulky glance and protruding
mouth. Slyness is a very common characteristic among Ainu men; jealousy
is recognised and frequent in women.

I could give a large number of other characteristic expressions, of less
ethnological importance, but in the present work I shall limit myself to
the principal ones which I have attempted to describe, leaving out
altogether "expressions" of half-castes, so as to avoid confusion.

I must beg my reader's forgiveness for the "dryness" of the imperfect
description I have given of the Ainu physiognomy, as many will agree
with me that it is a great deal easier to notice unfamiliar expressions
on faces than to describe them accurately in so many words.



Movements and Attitudes.

The Ainu people may be called physically strong, but yet they are not to
be compared to the Caucasian races. They are fairly good walkers,
capable mountaineers, and deft marksmen, but they do not excel in any of
these exercises, either by speed and endurance in the former two, or by
special accuracy and long-range in the latter.

In the Ainu country most of the hard work is done by the women, who thus
surpass the men in both endurance and muscular strength. Ainu men are
indolent, save under excitement. They will cover a long distance--say
forty miles--in one day, bear-hunting, and not suffer from great
fatigue, while they will not be able to walk half that distance under
less exciting conditions. The average distance which an Ainu can walk in
one day on a fairly level track does not exceed twenty-five miles at the
rate of two and a half miles an hour. The distance he can run would not
go beyond ten English miles, and this is partly from want of training,
as he never runs if he can help it. If, however, the walk of twenty-five
miles, or the run of ten miles, had to be kept up for several days in
succession at the same pace, few Ainu could manage to hold out for more
than three days at most; while a walking average of fifteen miles and a
running average of six miles each day could be kept up for a week. In
walking and running women are as good as men in one day's distances;
but, contrary to what they are in manual labour, they lack endurance in
locomotion, and break down after the second or third day. Men regard
running as unbecoming after childhood. "If we must go quick, why not go
on horseback?" says the practical Ainu, who is as perfect a horseman as
the Indian.

When riding, he is able to cover a distance of fifty-five miles easily
in one day on a good pony, and about seventy miles if he changes his
quadruped four times. Both men and women ride in the same fashion,
astride, and nearly always on bareback, or with simply a bear-skin
thrown over the horse. Pack-saddles are only used when carrying wood,
fish, sea-weed, or other heavy articles; and though the Japanese of Yezo
designate these by the name of _Ainu kurah_ (Ainu saddles), they are
only in reality rough imitations of their own pack-saddles. Though women
do ride on occasions, it is the men who are the true equestrians. From
their infancy they spend a great deal of their time on horseback, while
women ride only when obliged. Being, therefore, accustomed from their
earliest days to ride pretty nearly from morning to night, men can stand
many days of hard riding, and are not so easily exhausted as by walking
or running. The Ainu are good at horse-racing, as we have seen at the
Piratori festival, but foot-racing, even when the distance was short,
gave but poor results.

Weights and burdens are carried entirely by women, and they carry them
either on the head, if the load be not too heavy, or on the back by
means of a _Thiaske Tarra_, or simply _Tarra_, a long ribbon-like band
tied round the bundle, leaving a loop which goes over the forehead, thus
dividing the weight between the shoulders and the forehead. When
carrying a weight with the _Tarra_ the woman stoops, and the greater the
weight the lower the head has to be. The strain on the forehead and
muscles of the neck is greatly modified by bending the body more or
less; the weight increasing on the shoulders in proportion as the pull
decreases from the forehead. The advantage of this contrivance is that
it leaves both hands free. Very heavy loads can be carried by average
women with this simple contrivance, and its common use may account for
the strong and well-developed necks noticeable among them, but not among
the men. Children are carried on the back of other children by means of
a modified _Tarra_ that has a stick about twenty inches long, the two
ends of which are fastened to the two ends of the band. The child
carried sits comfortably on this stick while the centre part of the
_Tarra_ rests on the head of the child-carrier. This centre part is
generally lined with a piece of skin or cloth, and ornamented with a few
simple Ainu designs. A weight which cannot be lifted with both hands is
easily borne for a long distance by the aid of the _Tarra_; and I should
think that with it a strong woman could carry on her back a load, say,
of from eighty to ninety pounds. It is difficult to institute
comparative tests of strength, as constant practice, without counting
"knack," often enables a person to perform feats which baffle a much
stronger man. Taken altogether, the Ainu strength is relative to their
height; but they are somewhat below the average Caucasian races both in
endurance, and yet more in speed and muscular power.


When actively employed, the Ainu can abstain from food for fourteen or
sixteen hours; when quiescent for about twenty. They can go without
drink (when it is not alcoholic) for ten or twelve hours without feeling
inconvenience. A pebble is often sucked, or a straw is chewed when fluid
is not obtainable, thus causing a flow of saliva, which to a certain
extent quenches their thirst. However, the reason given by the Ainu is
not this. According to them, certain stones and some kinds of grass
contain a great amount of water.

More interesting to me than their physical characteristics were their
movements and attitudes, which I was able to study and note correctly
without their observation. For instance when Ainu try to move some heavy
object they pull it towards them. Thus, when they drag their "dug-outs"
and canoes on shore, and again when they launch them, they never push
from them, but always pull towards them. If an Ainu has to break a stick
planted in the ground he does it by pulling it; whereas a Japanese will
push it. Again, in pulling a rope the Ainu pull; the Japanese push by
placing the rope over one shoulder and walking in the direction wanted.
In a crowd where a Japanese would push his way through by extending his
arms and thus separating people, the Ainu seizes a man on each side,
pulling one to the right and the other to the left till space for him to
pass is made.

As muscles are only strengthened by exercise, it is not astonishing that
we never find well-developed arms among the hairy people, who so seldom
make vigorous use of them. Children are as fond of climbing trees as the
average English boy; and sometimes this is done in our way, by putting
the legs and arms round the trunk and gradually "swarming" up; but with
trees of a small diameter the ways of monkeys are adopted. The arms are
stretched, and one hand is placed on each side of the tree. Both feet
are then pushed against the trunk, keeping the leg slightly bent, but
stiff. One hand goes rapidly over the other, one foot above the other,
and so on; and the more rapid the movement the easier the climb, if care
be taken to plant the feet firmly so as not to slip. Ainu boys are
dexterous at this; but I have never seen full-grown men attempt it,
though I am sure they could if they chose. Elderly people are very
sedate in Ainuland, and violent movements are generally avoided.

Where the Ainu are indeed great is at making grimaces. The Ainu resemble
monkeys in many ways, but in this special accomplishment they beat
monkeys hollow. It would take volumes to describe all the different
grimaces which I saw them make, especially at myself while I was
sketching them; but one or two of their "favourites" may prove worth

One Ainu at Shari, on the north-east coast, excelled in moving his
scalp, and by raising his eyebrows at the same time creased the skin of
his forehead to such an extent as to make his eyebrows almost meet his
hair. The nostrils were expanded and the upper lip was raised so as to
show the teeth firmly closed. The same man was also good at moving his
ears. Others preferred to put out their tongue, emitting at the same
time a harsh sound from the throat.

Although many Ainu could not voluntarily move their scalp they often did
so unaware. When eating, especially if a piece of food required some
effort to swallow, the neck was outstretched, the mouth closed tight,
the eyebrows raised high, and the scalp brought far forward over the
forehead. In masticating, the ears would sometimes move involuntarily,
as with dogs or monkeys.

The Ainu are also good at rapid "winking," first with one eye, then the
other, each eye playing at an inexpressibly funny kind of bo-peep. _En
revanche_, they make no great use of their hands, and it is not uncommon
for them to use their feet to assist their hands. Indeed, their toes are
supplementary fingers, and they often hold things between the big toe
and the next, as when making nets or _Inaos_ (wooden wands with
overhanging shavings). When making nets, the string is firmly held by
the big toe bent over; when shaping _Inaos_ the lower point of the wand
is passed between the two toes, which keep it fast while the long
shavings are cut.

When women wind the thread made of the _Ulmus campestris_ fibre, they
often let it run between the two larger toes while they wind it on a
spool or a reed. Then, again, the toes are often used to pick up small
objects out of the reach of the hands, and also to scratch the lower
extremities. The two middle fingers of the hand and the three smaller
toes of the foot are seldom used by the Ainu, and are somewhat inert.
The little finger is slightly more active. Whenever Ainu point at
anything they habitually do so with the open hand, for they have a
certain difficulty in using any finger separately. This difficulty is
not so great with the first finger; but where a European would use only
his thumb and first finger, an Ainu uses all four fingers and his thumb
as well, as in carrying food to his mouth, picking up small objects,
lifting a cup, pulling his own hair, scratching his ears, &c. That the
Ainu have more muscular power in the head than either in the hands or
feet when violent exertion is required is certain, as I had frequent
proof when requiring natives to make my baggage fast with ropes to my
pack-saddle. Where a European would have done this by passing the ropes
round the baggage and pulling them fast to the saddle, the Ainu set his
foot (generally the right) against the baggage and pulled the ropes with
his teeth. By this method he used one-third more force than he would had
he done his work with his hands. Though the Ainu are very supple about
the body, they are nevertheless stiffer than we are about the knees and
hands, which last peculiarity prevents them from learning any kind of
sleight-of-hand. They are supple because of the singular flexibility of
their spine and the "looseness" of their arms about their shoulders.
When resting or tired, the shoulders droop so far forward as to prove
that the muscular tension which we constantly exert to have "square
shoulders" is foreign to the hairy people. The Ainu are deficient in
biceps, and such an arm as a blacksmith's or athlete's, which is not
uncommon among ourselves, is in Ainuland a thing unknown. Their muscles
have not the firmness of those of civilised men. Want of use entails
loss of power in the muscular system, and that, unfortunately, produces
further results in paralysis, _kaki_, and rheumatism. In the legs the
_tendo Achillis_, which often assumes such enormous proportions with us,
is only moderately developed with them, though it is generally larger
than the biceps, owing to the habit of walking and riding.
Notwithstanding this, the centre of muscular power, as we have seen, is
undoubtedly in the head, as with inferior animals; and the Ainu are
fully aware of this, for if not why should they carry all weights on the
head or by the help of the head? Why should they use their teeth instead
of their hands when an extra powerful pull is required? And why should
they _push_ with their heads when pulling with their teeth is not

Having examined the different movements of the Ainu, let us now take
some account of their attitudes. What struck me most was the
unconscious ease with which they stood, sat, and slept, no matter in
what circumstances.

It may be well to repeat here that the Ainu are not burdened, as we are,
with articles of furniture and a code of manners which so greatly modify
our attitudes and make us conscious of all we do. Moreover, we wear
crippling boots and nonsensical garments, which, besides not being
ornamental, more or less alter and deform different parts of our body,
considerably restrict certain attitudes, and greatly stiffen some of our
limbs; as, for example, the exaggerated smallness of waist in women.

It is remarkable what a close resemblance the hairy people bear to the
prehistoric man as constructed by _savants_ out of skulls and
skeletons--a resemblance found, I believe, in no other race of savages.

Take an Ainu standing at ease; he carries his head straight, but without
stretching his neck, so that if a horizontal line were passed through
the _meatus auditorius_ it would cut the face directly under the eyes.
If another line were drawn perpendicular to the horizontal, we should
find that the front of the face is not on the same plane with the
forehead, but projects considerably beyond in its lower part. In
thoroughbred Ainu the head is well posed on the cervical vertebræ, and
seldom shows an inclination from back to front, from right to left, or
_vice versâ_; but in half-castes an inclination forward, and also
slightly from the left to the right, is a marked characteristic.

The body when standing still is a trifle inclined forward, but when
walking the inclination is greatly increased.

The body is well balanced, and this inclination is partly due to the
head being abnormally large for the body; also to the habit of keeping
the knees slightly bent either when standing still or when in motion.

The women, through carrying heavy weights on the head, are straighter
than men when standing as well as when walking without a burden. Their
spinal column describes a gentle curve inwards, while with men it has a
slight tendency outwards. When an Ainu is standing at rest his arms hang
by his side, the palms of the hands are turned inwards with a small
inclination towards the front. But a pose which is even more
characteristic than this is when both hands are placed in front, the
fingers of the right hand overlapping those of the left. When sitting
this is their invariable attitude, but in walking the arms hang by the
side, and no swing is given to them to help the motion. In running, the
arms are bent, and sometimes the hands are kept half opened about the
level of the shoulders.

The Ainu legs, notwithstanding their greater muscular power than that of
the arms, are neither stout nor well-developed--but they are wiry. The
hips are narrow, and the legs are slightly curved.

The gait is energetic but not fast, each step being flat, with the foot
firmly planted on the ground. When in motion the feet are perfectly
straight, and move parallel to each other, and at each step the heel and
toes touch the ground at the same time--an undeniable proof that the
body is well balanced when they walk.

The Ainu walk mostly unshod, and the average length of the step in men
is twenty-six inches (from heel of left to tip of right foot), and in
women about twenty inches. The average number of steps to the minute is
ninety-two in men and ninety-eight in women. Where the Ainu is seen at
his best is when he is riding bareback. He sits so firmly that animal
and rider seem to be only one body. The knees are slightly bent, and the
legs and feet hang so that the toes are a great deal lower than the
heels, and are also turned in. No voluntary muscular contraction is
affected on the muscles of the legs; for if the knees are bent this is
because of the shape of the horse's body, and if the rider "sticks" on
his steed it is merely by the counterbalance of the dead weight of his
two legs. The body of the rider is quite erect when riding gently, but
on increasing speed the body is thrown backwards, the legs remaining in
the same position. The single rein is held in the right hand resting on
the horse's mane, and the left arm habitually hangs or rests on the
rider's leg. When feeding in his hut, the Ainu sits cross-legged, but in
places where he can lean against something, or out in the open, he
squats, bearing his weight on both feet, but with the legs bent to such
an extent that his head is on a level with his knees. Often his arms are
rested on the knees themselves, and food is passed with the hands to
the mouth, to be then torn by the teeth. No forks, spoons, or chopsticks
are used by the thoroughbred Ainu; but Japanese influence has induced
some of the more civilised specimens of Volcano Bay and Piratori to give
up partly the use of mother Nature's forks and take to the _Hashi_
(chopsticks), also to adopt some ugly tin spoons as the sign of their
adherence to civilisation. Lastly, when asleep the Ainu generally lie
flat on the back. Sleeping on the right side and resting the head on the
bent elbow is also a common posture; and when sleeping for a short
period of time during the day I have often seen men still sitting, bring
up their legs, cross their arms on their knees, and then rest the head
on the arms; thus placidly having a "nap" without waking up with a stiff
neck, stiff legs, and "pins and needles" in their arms, which would be
the sure result if the average European tried that mode of repose.

Most Ainu have no bedding of any kind, and most of them sleep on hard
rough planks or on the ground itself. Some of the people, however, sleep
on bear-skins in winter, as it keeps them warm, and the colder the night
the closer all the members of the family pack together to warm each
other with their natural heat. A strange peculiarity, when Ainu are
asleep, lying flat on their back, is, that instead of keeping both legs
fully stretched out, one, or sometimes both, are raised and bent, with
the sole of the foot planted on the ground. This peculiarity is chiefly
noticeable in men, and I have observed it many times, especially in old
people. The reason of it is this. The Ainu having no pillow, the head
has to be turned so far back to rest on the ground itself that action at
the other end of the body is necessary to counterbalance the strain on
the spine. I came to this conclusion by being often placed in the same
circumstances as the hairy people themselves, when I found that lying
flat on my back on the hard unpillowed ground, if the legs were
straightened only a small portion of the spine between the shoulders was
supported, but by raising the legs the whole spinal column rested on the
level surface.

As we have now seen the Ainu asleep in a "comfortable attitude," we
shall leave them for the present, and I shall take my readers to examine
their clothes, their ornaments, and their tattoos.

[Illustration: THE ATZIS.]



Ainu Clothes, Ornaments, and Tattooing.

[Illustration: WINTER BEAR-SKIN COAT.]

The Ainu men generally go naked in summer time, but in some parts of
Yezo civilisation has forced them to adopt cheap Japanese clothes. It
must not be supposed from this that the real Ainu never wear any clothes
at all, for indeed on grand occasions they dress gaudily enough, but
always in a rude, elementary kind of way. For winter use they sew
together the skins of either bear or deer, fox or wolf, making a kind of
sleeveless jacket, which protects the chest, the shoulders, and the
back. Another kind of fur garment of deer-skin is longer and has
sleeves, is large at the shoulders, and very narrow at the wrist, as a
still further protection against the cold. This deer-skin coat is mostly
worn by women as an under-garment. Besides these fur garments for winter
weather, they wear the _atzis_, a long reddish-yellow wrapper, made of
the woven fibre of the _Ulmus campestris_. It has sleeves similar to the
deer-skin coat, only these sleeves are a great deal wider.

[Illustration: BACK OF ATZIS.]

On the southern coast some of the civilised tribes have either adopted
Japanese _kimonos_ altogether, or make their _atzis_ after the same
pattern, to ingratiate themselves with their masters, on the principle
of imitation being the sincerest flattery, and perhaps also because they
come cheaper in the end. The _atzis_ reaches below the knees, and is
folded round the body. It is kept in position by a girdle or belt of the
same material, or of bear or sea-lion skin. This _atzis_ is ornamented
with embroidery both back and front, round the sleeves, round the neck,
and all round the border, or, as we should say, hem. The embroideries
are done in Japanese coloured cottons and threads. The colours are
invariably red, blue, and white, on a background of this yellow _Ulmus
campestris_ cloth. They have the same characteristic patterns, and are
identical with the ornaments on knife-sheaths, drinking-bowls,
moustache-lifters, &c., as the readers will find in the chapter on the
"Arts of the Ainu." Men and women wear _atzis_ of the same shape, only
those of the women are longer than those of the men, and reach nearly to
the feet. Moreover, the patterns which are embroidered on the men's
dresses are not considered suitable for the women's, and _vice versâ_.
Women--who, by the way, do all these embroideries--have to content
themselves with the simplest patterns devisable--a mere thin line of
blue stitches; but they give to the men a more elaborate ornament. They
first sew on heavy bands of material, which then they embroider in
highly complicated patterns, thus giving a much heavier and handsomer
appearance to the male _atzis_. In winter the sleeveless fur jacket is
sewn over the _atzis_, and, as has been said, women wear the deer-skin
gown as an under-garment. Ainu embroideries vary considerably, not only
in different tribes and different villages, but also in each family,
according to the talent and patience possessed by the embroidress. It
takes an affectionate wife a year or longer to ornament the elm-bark
dress of her beloved husband, and in the case of a chief's robe the work
never comes to an end, as additions are constantly made. Children have
an extremely simple embroidery, when any, round the sleeves and hem of
the _atzis_, but never any, simple or elaborate, either on the back or

I have often seen women working patiently hour after hour while sitting
on the tiny door of their storehouses; and the result of their labour
would be half an inch of coarse stitching, which for them was a great
work of art. Most Ainu now possess needles of Japanese manufacture, but
in former days they had only bone needles, and instead of fine well-dyed
Japanese thread were obliged to be content with the fibre of the elm
tree dyed black. The ornamentations on the _atzis_ of Ainu who have no
Japanese needles are necessarily a great deal coarser and simpler than
those which are done with steel needles and cotton threads. The
essential characteristics are the same in both. In sewing together skins
for winter garments fish-bone needles are often used up to this day.

These embroidered clothes, when new, are only worn on grand occasions,
as at a bear festival, or when paying a visit to a neighbouring village.
A few rags constitute the usual every-day costume, and no difference is
made between the in-door and the out-of-door clothing. In fact, most
Ainu sleep in their clothes, such as they are.

[Illustration: THE "HOSHI."]

One article of dress which is worn by all alike, young and old, male or
female, is the _hoshi_, or leggings. Like their gowns, these are
sometimes made of the inner fibre of the elm-tree bark and sometimes of
rushes and reeds plaited as in the ordinary rush matting. When of
elm-tree bark, they are often embroidered in the upper part, as can be
seen in the illustration. They are fastened just under the knee by means
of the two upper strings, then wrapped tightly round the leg and bound
round the ankle with the lower and longer ribbon. The Ainu go barefooted
in the summer, but during the winter months, when the cold is too severe
for this, they cover their feet with mocassins and long boots made of
salmon-skin, and often of deer-skin. When the Ainu goes for a long
journey or a hunt, during which he has to traverse rough ground, he
generally protects his skin boots--the soles of which would soon be
destroyed by the sharp stones and ice--by slipping over them a pair of
thick rope sandals, which protect the sides, the back, the toes, and
sole of the foot. If to this inventory be added a head-gear consisting
of a band wound round the head, and an occasional apron, the whole of
the Ainu wardrobe is catalogued. This band, which is worn principally by
women, is untied and removed when saluting or meeting a man, whether on
the road or in the woods. A Japanese towel often takes the place of the
native manufacture. I am inclined to think that this custom of covering
the head has been acquired from the Japanese, as none of the Ainu of the
Upper Tokachi--the only pure ones remaining--wore anything in the shape
of band or kerchief, while it is extremely common with the Ainu of
Volcano Bay and Piratori to wear these unbecoming towels. At Piratori
the Ainu women give a more artistic character to this ugly headgear by
embroidering it in front and wearing it like a tiara. An apron is
occasionally worn by Ainu, but this too, in my opinion, has been
borrowed from the Japanese. Ainu clothes often get undone, owing to
their shape, and therefore Ainu men sometimes wear these aprons, but
rather because they are made to wear them than from native modesty or
inclination to be commonly decent. I have seen Ainu on the north-east
coast of Yezo and on Lake Kutcharo wear coarse hats of matted rushes.
When laid flat, these hats have a diameter of about thirty inches; but
when worn, they are folded in two, and kept in this position by a string
tied under the chin and passed through the hat. They are used
principally in winter as a protection against the snow. The Ainu care
more to adorn than to clothe themselves. A few glass beads, a metal
earring, a silver coin, or anything that shines, can make a man or a
woman as happy as a king. Intoxicants come first of all things, but
after them there is nothing in this world that Ainu cherish more than
personal ornaments, and this is, of course, even truer of women than of
men. What strikes a stranger when looking at an Ainu for the first time
is, as I have already said, the size of their metal earrings and heavy
glass necklaces. As the Ainu cannot work in metals or make glass, these
ornaments have been purchased from Japanese, Chinese, and Corean
adventurers, and many costly skins of bears, foxes, wolves, or seals are
gaily bartered for a few beads, worth next to nothing. The Ainu is fond
of metals, but he does not know the difference between one and the
other. All that glitters is gold for him; and if it is not gold then it
must be silver. Therefore some Ainu are known to have invested all their
fortune of valuable furs for a pair of brass earrings, and, what is
more, they have never grudged the bargain! Previous to the importation
of these worthless articles their ornaments were made of wood, bone, and
shells, of which "survivals" are still to be seen with the Ainu of the
Upper Tokachi.


[Illustration: DEER-SKIN SHOE.]

[Illustration: THE TARRA OR HEAD-BAND.]

The large circular earrings are much prized: men and women alike wear
them. Many men, however, do not wear these metal earrings, but prefer
instead a long strip of red or black cloth, or skin.

The lobes of the ears are frequently torn down by wearing these heavy
earrings from early childhood, and they know not how to mend them by
sewing them. Another hole is sometimes bored in the upper and sound

Ainu women of civilised districts occasionally wear metal finger-rings,
but these are of course of foreign make, and imported.

Ainu _menokos_ (girls) seem to have no partiality for bracelets or
amulets, but necklaces are the dream of their life. The delight of an
Ainu woman in a new necklace is in proportion to the size and number of
the beads. A woman who possesses one of extra large beads is envied by
all her less fortunate neighbours; and she who has several strings is at
once admired and hated by all the womankind of the village. For, indeed,
Ainu women are "human" enough to know how to hate each other! The beads
which most take their fancy are the blue, black, white, or metal ones.
The larger beads in the necklace are in front; and the rough wooden
pendants with bits of bone, metal, or broken beads inlaid in it, which
hang to the necklace, rest on the breast. Large Japanese sword-hilts are
often used as pendants by the Volcano Bay natives.

The Ainu of the Upper Tokachi region had none of these beads, but a
rough wooden pendant was suspended round their neck by a leather string.

Girdles are worn by men and women for two purposes--first, to keep their
clothes together; next, to support the large knives which the Ainu
always carry with them.

The Ishikari Ainu who lived formerly in Sakhalin wear leather belts, and
the women wear besides a peculiar cloth headgear. Both these articles
are ornamented with drops of melted lead and Chinese cash sewn on to the

These are all the articles of clothing and ornament which are in common
use among the Ainu. None of them are worn as symbols of rank, or to
denote virginity. No Ainu can explain why he or she wears one thing more
than another, except for the reason that he or she likes it. There are
no Ainu laws as regards clothing, and with the exception of the "chief,"
who on special occasions dresses more gaudily, and wears a crown made
either of willow-tree shavings or dried sea-weed, with a small
carved-wood bear head in front, they all dress pretty much alike. A
chief could not be distinguished from a commoner by his everyday

Speaking of personal ornamentation, I may as well describe the way in
which the hair is dressed, and also the tattoo-marks.

Little care is taken of the long hair, which reaches down to the
shoulders. It is never washed, nor brushed, nor combed. At the back it
is cut in a semicircle round the neck. Over the forehead the men shave a
small part of the long hair, which, falling over their eyes, is
uncomfortable to them; but women do not. Until lately this shaving was
done with sharp shells, and wives shaved their husbands. The process was
said to be rather painful, and the thoughtful women have now adopted
knives for that purpose, to the great delight of the stronger sex. The
part shaved is in the shape of a lozenge two and a half inches by two
inches respectively from angle to angle. This open space causes the hair
to part in two different directions and hang down in large wavy curls.
The fingers are occasionally passed through it, and then with the palms
of the hands it is plastered down on both sides.

A characteristic Ainu method of making the morning "toilette" is to bend
the head low and let the long hair fall over the forehead. The two hands
are then placed under it on the temples, and suddenly and violently the
head is shaken and thrown back, the hair being pressed down by the hands
at the same time. If the first attempt at neatness is not approved of,
the process is repeated two or more times. I must confess that
personally I could seldom see any marked difference between a head of
hair "dressed" and one "not dressed"; but it must be remembered that the
Ainu have no looking-glasses, and what they think is right is of course
right for them.

Formerly, when an old woman lost her husband she had her head entirely
shaved, and when the hair had grown long again she repeated the process
as a proof of fidelity and affection to her deceased spouse. It is very
rarely done now. She used to wear a sort of cap, with an aperture at the
top, round the crown of the head during the time that her hair was
short; and it was incumbent on the widow to wear a look of sorrow and
pain till her hair grew long again.

The Ainu men have long beards and moustaches, which are never trimmed,
with the exception of the Kurilsky Ainu, who trim theirs. The beard
begins to grow when they are very young, but it is shaved till they
reach manhood. It is then left to grow naturally, and never touched
again as long as they live. Ainu women, whom nature has not favoured
with such a manly ornament, supplement their deficiency by having a long
moustache tattooed on their lips. Their hands and arms are also

The tattooing among the Ainu is limited to the fair sex, and it is
confined to the head and arms. Why and when the fashion was adopted is
not known, and the semi-Ainu legends on the subject are very vague. One
legend says that when the Ainu conquered Yezo, which was then inhabited
by a race of dwarfs--"the Koro-pok-kuru"--some Koro-pok-kuru women came
to the Ainu camp to beg food from them, and they did so by passing their
arms through the reed walls of the Ainu huts. One day an Ainu clutched
one of these arms and pulled it in, when a tattooed pattern on the tiny
arm was greatly admired by the hairy conquerors, who adopted the
practice from that day.

A simpler reason is that the women, not being so hairy as the men, are
humiliated by their inferiority in that respect, and try to make up for
it by tattooing themselves. In support of this theory may be quoted the
fact that women are only tattooed in parts which are left uncovered when
clad in their long _atzis_ gowns.

The Ainu process of tattooing is a painful one. The tattoo marks are
usually done with the point of a knife; not with tattooing needles, as
by the Japanese. Many incisions are cut nearly parallel to each other.
These are then filled with cuttlefish-black. Sometimes smoke-black mixed
with the blood from the incisions is used instead. On the lips the
operation is so painful that it has to be done by instalments. It is
begun with a small semicircle on the upper lip when the girl is only two
or three years of age, and a few incisions are added every year till she
is married, the moustache then reaching nearly to the ears, where at its
completion it ends in a point. Both lips are surrounded by it; but not
all women are thus marked. Some have no more than a semicircular tattoo
on the upper lip; others have an additional semicircle under the lower
lip; and many get tired of the painful process when the tattoo is hardly
large enough to surround their lips. The father of the girl is generally
the operator, but occasionally it is the mother who "decorates" the lips
and arms of her female offspring. Besides this tattooed moustache, a
horizontal line joins the eyebrows, and another line, parallel to it,
runs across the forehead. The tattoo could not be of a coarser kind. A
rough geometrical drawing adorns the arms and hands of women, the
pattern of one arm being often different from that of the other.
Frequently only one arm is tattooed. I never saw tattoos that went
further than the elbow, neither did I see any other part of the body
tattooed. The four specimens given in the illustration show the patterns
most usual in different tribes, though each individual has some slight

Fig. 1 was copied by me from the arm of a woman at Frishikobets
(Tokachi River); Figs. 2 and 3 are the two arms of Kawata Tera, a girl
of Tobuts (north-east coast of Yezo); and Fig. 4 is the left arm of a
girl at Piratori.


It will be noticed that in the regions where the Ainu have come in
contact with Japanese, rings are tattooed round the fingers, while the
Tokachi Ainu women have none. In the two arms of Kawata Tera (Figs. 2
and 3) the dissimilarity of the two patterns is very marked at first
sight, but on a close examination it is easy to perceive that the
operator meant to carry out the same pattern on the right arm as on the
left; only through his incapacity to reproduce correctly his former
lines, or for other reasons, he got muddled up in the design, and left
his work unfinished. If all the lines in the upper half of Fig. 3 were
continued, the design would be very similar to Fig. 2.

Tattooing is considered an ornament, besides, as I have already
mentioned, adding the coveted air of "virility" to women. There is no
religious feeling connected with it, and the practice is rapidly dying
out, as the Japanese men make fun of the Ainu women, who after all only
tattoo their mouths and arms, while they themselves often tattoo the
whole of the body. The Ainu have no rules as to when the girls are to be
operated on. They are done both before and after marriage, contrary to
what has been said, that the women do not tattoo themselves after they
have become wives. The moustache is generally finished before a girl
gets married, as she herself is anxious to be thus decorated; but there
are no rules as to virginity or marriage, for the arms and hands are as
often tattooed after marriage as before. Indeed, in the Ainu country,
"tattooing" one's wife seems to be one of the pleasures of the
honeymoon. The design of these tattoos is meant to be, but is seldom,
symmetrical. The Ainu apparently execute these designs on a preconceived
plan, but the results rarely come up to expectation, as no drawing of
the design is prepared beforehand. The bluish-black colour of the tattoo
is very permanent and strong, and many an Ainu woman is disfigured for
life, who, according to our ideas, would otherwise be good-looking.

[Illustration: SNOW-SHOES.]

[Illustration: AINU SALUTATION.]


Ainu Music, Poetry, and Dancing.

The music of each nation has certain characteristics of its own; and
though according to European ideas the music of what are called
barbarous peoples may sound in some sense excruciating, it always has a
certain occult charm, more especially to one who is able to forget his
former training, and teach himself to see, hear, and think in the same
way as the natives he is studying.

Undoubtedly we Westerns have brought music to a pitch of refinement that
no savage nation has even attempted to reach; but in my opinion we do
savages injustice when we call their music "unmitigated discord."
Barbarians like the Ainu do not indicate their rhythmical effects and
modulations by means of a musical notation; and harmony is of course
very defective with them, from our point of view. On the other hand, the
feeling and passion with which they chant their songs make them go
straight to the heart, if as a melody they are not always pleasing to
the cultivated Western ear.

An Ainu seldom sings for the mere pleasure of art as art, and it is only
when full of joy or "crazed with care" that he gives expression to his
feelings in music. Then he pours out his whole soul in that which to
him is melody beyond the power of words to compass.

After a hunt, a fishing expedition, a journey, or a misfortune, the Ainu
enters his hut and seats himself cross-legged on the ground. He then
holds out both hands with the palms together, and rubs them backwards
and forwards three or four times; after this he raises them, palms
upwards, to a level with his head, gracefully lowers them to his knees,
and then, raising them again, strokes his hair and beard. Again he
lowers his hands twice, thrice, or even more times, according to the
amount of respect to which the person saluted is entitled, the latter
following in every smallest detail the motions of his saluting friend.
When this complicated salutation has been performed separately before
each male member of the household, the new arrival relates the tale of
his good-or ill-luck; and if the events be of an unusual character the
story is chanted in a sort of sing-song which makes each note of joy or
lamentation vibrate in the heart of the listener. It is only in such
circumstances of stress of feeling that I ever heard the Ainu sing,
though sometimes women and young folks when alone, fishing, riding, or
travelling, sing out bits of their past lives as they remember this
scene or that event.

Ainu music is almost entirely vocal, and their singing has more the
character of the _recitative_ than of the _aria_ proper. Their songs are
always for _solo_; and during my stay among the hairy people I never
heard a concerted piece, nor even an air or a single voice with a chorus
for a number of voices; neither did I hear any songs performed by men
and women together, but invariably by men to other men, and by women to
other women. It seems to me that the reason why they have no choruses is
their strict etiquette, which forbids them to interrupt a speaker till
he has finished his narrative; and as their songs are only narratives
which the musical sing-song makes more impressive, it seems more than
probable that the reason I have given is the right one. If a singer
during his narrative stops, and is silent for a minute or two, another
takes up the "lost chord" in exactly the same intonation of voice,
asking a question or singing words of comfort, anger, or scorn, as the
case may be; but no Ainu ever joins in the song before the person
singing has stopped.

The hairy people are fond, not only of their own, but of all music, and
their ear is acute enough to hit a tone or note when sung to them, and
even to remember with more or less accuracy a short air after they have
heard it two or three times. Many who have come in contact with the
Japanese have learned from them songs of a totally different character
from their own. Of my personal experience I can speak of a boy who,
while I was sketching, heard me sing a few bars of the _Trovatore_. An
hour or two later I heard him repeat this passage, certainly with an
Ainu _libretto_, and somewhat Ainuized; but for all that he had managed
to catch the melody, which showed that the lad must have had some
musical instinct as well as a good musical memory.

[Illustration: SIDE VIEW OF THE "MUKKO."]


The Ainu are remarkably quick at reproducing sounds which are direct
imitations of noises, cries of animals, &c., and it is instinctive in
them, as when children they are not taught or trained to do so. The
education of Ainu children is indeed a thing far to seek in every way,
and what they know is self-taught. Nature is their only school. The Ainu
voice is pleasant, flexible, and very soft in quality. The men are
mostly baritone and bass, the women alto; but when singing, a falsetto
is preferred to the natural voice, especially by the women, and this
always without an instrumental accompaniment. Musical instruments are
more than rare among the Ainu; indeed, I saw only one, which is now in
my own possession. It is a black-stained wooden instrument, fifty-one
inches in length and three wide. The upper part is flat, the under is
half a cylinder scooped out by a knife, while five keys are fixed in the
short neck, in which a cavity is cut, leaving a space for the strings to
be tied to each key. The top is circular, and flattened on each side.
One very small hole is bored exactly in the middle of the instrument and
another is at the lower end, where the point of a triangular piece of
leather, seven inches long, is passed through and fastened by a knot
tied in the leather on the opposite side. The five strings, which are of
_Ulmus campestris_ fibre, are fastened to this leather piece and then to
each key. A peculiarity of this instrument is, that it has two
prism-shaped bridges, and they are placed at each end of the harmonic
case. The Ainu call it _mukko_, which word, however, means only a
musical instrument; and as it is applied by them to all Japanese
instruments of music, it shows that they do not distinguish very sharply
one instrument from another. Though in my long journeying I found one of
these _mukkos_, I was never able to discover any Ainu who could play on
it, and the Ainu of Ishikari from whom I bought it told me that the man,
the only one, who could play on it, was dead. This was unfortunate, as
none of the others could tell me how he tuned it; and one old man, in
attempting to solve the problem, broke three strings. Seeing that I was
then quite unable to learn any of the tunes of the deceased Ainu
Paganini I purchased the instrument, and found by cross-examining the
natives that it was played by twanging the strings with the fingers, and
not with a plectrum, as is the case with the Japanese _shamesen_. In the
illustration I have faithfully drawn a front and a side view of this
instrument, so as to give the reader an exact idea of its shape. The
Ainu of Volcano Bay sometimes make bamboo jew's-harps for their
children; but even those are very uncommon, so we might as well define
Ainu music as entirely vocal. Ainu music is sentimental, and not
displeasing, but it is monotonous, and continually repeats itself. It is
difficult to establish a rule as to what order of intervals their music
is founded on, as their progressions, modulations, and rhythmical
effects are often so peculiar as to make it impossible to indicate them
accurately by means of our musical notation; but the nearest approach to
it is the diatonic minor scale. The Ainu are fond of chromatic
intervals, and when their recital comes to an exciting point they make
use of this method in a _crescendo_ to give strength to the narrative,
especially at the end of the tune, which invariably winds up in the
tonic. The intervals which are of most frequent occurrence in the Ainu
tunes are as follows:--


The tunes seldom contain modulations from one key into another, except
in the case of genius-gifted improvisators, who sometimes indulge in
such a luxury, especially when intoxicated; but the usual modulation is
generally begun _pianissimo_ and in irregular time, and is sometimes
like a slow lamentation gradually and irregularly increasing in force,
some notes marked violently and the next very faintly, thus giving a
weird effect of light and shade. When a sentence comes to an end, there
is a chromatic interval _fortissimo_, and the keynote generally
concludes the tune. The melody repeats itself again in the next
sentence, sometimes altering the _pianissimo_ into _fortissimo_, and
_vice versâ_, according to the force which the narrator wishes to give
to certain words. The Ainu, as far as I could judge, have no fixed
rhythmical method, and each man constructs his own. Their melodies are
generally short and simple, and the same phrases and passages--in fact,
usually the whole melody--occur again and again in their songs. No Ainu
melody that I heard was constructed according to any rule of musical
form. All were invariably of one part only, in which the name of the
tune was often applied to a certain form of rude poetical composition.
For instance, some of the folk-lore legends--which, unfortunately, are
not purely Ainu--are chanted in a musical intonation, and are a kind of
extempore composition, though the roots of the songs and the verse have
probably been brought down from former generations. This is proved by
the preservation in them of some obsolete words and forms of speech
which are never used in current conversation, and which none of the
younger folks can understand or explain. I believe, however, that none
of these legends are very old. The Ainu, having no written language, it
is but natural that their tradition and legends should have been greatly
changed and corrupted, especially by intercourse with the more
imaginative Japanese. It is to be noted, however, that the Ainu, though
to a certain extent as imitative as monkeys, have also a large amount of
personality and originality, due to their shy and unsocial habits. This
originality is not surprising when we remember that they are taught
nothing, and that each man provides for himself and his family, but has
no markedly friendly feelings towards his neighbours; in other words, it
is a state of degradation very similar to that of wild animals. Perfect
indifference is shown by the people of one village towards those of
another. They are neither friends nor foes. All have a right to live,
but as for helping one another, that is out of the question.

Having no written documents, each man, in his easy-going manner, recites
and sings as best pleases himself such verses or legends as he has heard
from his father or from some other person, and the result is that,
according to the reciter's greater or smaller poetical and musical
tastes, the grandfather's composition, already altered by his father, is
again altered by the son, which makes it a composition of his own. This
transformation of a given theme is common even among civilised nations
when people are set to repeat the same story verbally transmitted from
one to the other--the version of the third person has but little in
common with that of the first. If this we do with a spoken narrative,
how much more with tunes learned by ear only, and characterised in the
delivery by individual temperament and transient mood.

The Ainu do not teach these legends to their children, and if learned at
all they are merely "picked up" by ear and, in a manner, at random;
therefore, most Ainu profess ignorance as to their existence, and a man,
when I asked him if he knew any, scornfully answered in these identical
words, translated:--"The Ainu are taught nothing, and they know

The few legends, &c., that I heard were told me by Benry at Piratori,
and by another old man, the chief of a village up the Saru River. The
title of one was "Tushi-une-pan"--"Twice Below;" the story of
Yoshitsune, a Japanese hero, and Samoro-kuru (a Japanese man-friend of
Yoshitsune), who came to Yezo and had a great struggle with a huge fish,
which was harpooned by them and disappeared twice under the water,
capsizing the boat which contained the two fishermen. Yoshitsune's
temper was roused, and he cut the _nipesh_[38] rope to which the harpoon
was fastened. The fish went to die at the mouth of the Saru River, when
plains of hemp sprouted out of its body.

    [38] _Nipesh_: a kind of hemp.

Another legend, called "Kimta-na," is a rather different and more simple
version of Tushi-une-pan's story which I have just related.

Yet another variant of the same legend is found in the "Inu-sapk"--or "A
Summer Story" (literally translated: _Inu_, hear, relate; _sapk_,
summer), which was so very confused that I could not make head or tail
of its minuter details; but, like the "Kimta-na," it was about a famine
in the Ainu land.

Then there was a fourth, which went by the name of
"Abe-ten-rui"--"Burning to embrace," or love-sick. It was again about
Yoshitsune, who had fallen in love with a pretty Ainu maid, and could
not eat either good or bad fish until she appeared to him in a dream. As
Yoshitsune was a strong-minded man he got over his love, and taught the
Ainu not to be deceived by woman's wiles.

These and other similar legends, some of which do not bear repeating,
being too improper, can be collected at Piratori or on Volcano Bay from
the half-civilised Ainu; but I am inclined to think that they are mostly
concoctions of Japanese ideas construed or misconstrued in the Ainu

Ainu do not indulge in poetic compositions which have a definite metre,
nor do they use special words for rhyme or rhythm; but all the words in
their songs are intelligible, and seldom meaningless syllables are used,
as in many of the chants of other savage nations. This of course is
because, as has been said, their songs are merely a form of conversation
adopted on certain occasions.

Some of their music seems to have been suggested to them by such animal
sounds as the plaintive howling of bears, wolves, and dogs.

Music is believed by the Ainu to have the power of curing illness, or
rather, of scaring away from the body those evil spirits which are
supposed to have taken possession of it; but, when used as exorcism, the
music is no longer grave, slow, and sentimental, but verily diabolical,
consisting mainly of wild howling with an accompaniment of stamping feet
and the rattling of sword and knife, and followed by a disgusting
expectoration of chewed convolvulus roots, which are said to be powerful
in expelling the evil spirit and restoring the sick person to health.

Furthermore, music is invariably used by the Ainu--especially by the
women--to facilitate manual labour, as when pounding millet, rowing,
pulling canoes on shore, or drawing water from a well, when packing
sea-weed, or when preparing salmon for the winter; and also in their
games, which I have already described in the chapter on the festival at

During the process of pounding millet--which is only practised in the
southern part of Yezo--two or three girls stand round a mortar in which
the millet has been placed, and each girl, holding with both hands a
pestle, beats and sings, one after the other, the words "_Huye, huye_,"
as the pestle is let down, increasing in loudness when the grain
requires harder pounding, and slowly decreasing in volume towards the
end. This pounding begins about sunset, and the place chosen for the
operation is generally the small porch of the huts. It has indeed a
weird effect to hear these many voices from the distant huts gradually
dying away as darkness comes on, till finally only two or three break
the stillness of the coming night. Then even those wear away, and
everything becomes as silent as the grave.

When riding on horseback, especially if alone, young men are fond of
singing, and when going through forests, chopping and collecting
firewood, Ainu invariably sing.

I have often heard two or three Ainu, when packing sea-weed within a few
yards of one another, each singing to himself, and each so much absorbed
in his own composition as not to even hear his neighbours. An Ainu does
not and cannot sing unless he feels in the mood for it; but if he sings
he is carried away by his own music. Of course this is a good quality in
Ainu music, as in all arts where "feeling" is to be appreciated as much
as execution. The latter is to be got by constant practice and teaching;
but the first has to be born in one.

My readers must forgive me if I am judging Ainu music, not from the
European, but from the native standpoint, for I think it is only fair to
give things as they are, without too much reference to our own ideas.

With savage nations, music is the expression of the feelings and
passions of the musician. Thus, it is necessary to well know the man
himself before we can understand his productions and appreciate them;
and such knowledge is only attained by constantly living with natives,
not as a mere stranger, but as one of them.

Very few travellers have seen the real Ainu, or studied them accurately,
while many, partly owing to their inability to differentiate one race
from another, have given us highly imaginative descriptions, and even
photographs, of Japanese half-castes and actual Japanese, describing
them as Ainu. If such worthy ethnologists as have visited the "civilised
part only" of the Ainu country, have been unable to distinguish types of
the hairy Ainu race from those of the hairless Japanese, or from
mixtures of the two, undoubtedly racial characteristics have been but
imperfectly recorded.

It is more particularly in music and poetry, as I have already
explained, that temperamental characteristics are shown, and one ought
to be careful to clearly define what is native music and poetry--in
which I include legends, traditions, and folk-lore--and what has been
transmitted by neighbouring and conquering races. Loud music is not
appreciated by the Ainu, and makes them grin with more scorn than
enjoyment. I could only try experiments in this direction by singing to
them, as I had no European musical instruments with me; but I found that
singing _con brio_ at the top of my voice was not so pleasing to them as
when I sang _piano con passione_. For instance, the song "Toreador," in
the opera _Carmen_, created fits of merriment from a crowd at
Frishikobets, while the same crowd, a few minutes later, listened
attentively and silently to Gounod's "Ave Maria," sung in a kind of
"miaoling" voice.

I may here mention incidentally, to show the different musical tastes of
Ainu and Japanese, that some months previous to this I was at a concert
at Tokio in which the same "Ave Maria" was performed by some
distinguished European musicians. The large Japanese audience, who had
been attentive and well-composed till then, went into fits of laughter
when Gounod's masterpiece was played, and all through it the noise of
people laughing was so great as to drown entirely the orchestra and
singers. Some of the women in the audience nearly went into hysterics at
the long _legato_ notes at the beginning of the piece. Louder melodies
and of a livelier character did not affect them so. I wish to draw
attention to this fact, that amongst all primitive peoples the native
music is sad and slow--the livelier melodies coming later; and also,
that with both wild and domestic animals the most noteworthy effects are
produced by slow and simple music. We all know how dogs will remain
quiet and calm when a soft and gentle air is played, but get furious to
the point of savageness under the "plan-plan-rataplan" of a merry noisy
tune. As for the last item connected with Ainu music, viz., dancing, it
is rarely practised, even by the Ainu women, to whom alone it pertains.
At the best it is of a very rude form. In the Piratori festival (Chapter
IV.) we have seen that their dancing is accompanied by rhythmical sounds
imitating the noises produced by implements in everyday use, as the
squeaking of a paddle by the friction on the canoe, the cry which
accompanies the pounding of millet, blowing alight the fire, and similar
sounds. Time is kept by clapping the hands and by vociferations which
tell the partners what position or action to assume, each action being
accompanied by a different sound, but all performed while the hopping is
kept up. I have not felt justified in classifying these rhythmical
sounds, which accompany the dancing, as choruses, for there is not
enough in them to constitute either a tune or a melody. They are
suggested more by the action of the arms and upper part of the body than
by the steps; in fact, if it were not for the continuous hopping it
would be more accurate to describe Ainu dancing as "posturing." The
dancers form a circle, with sometimes one or two children in the centre.
As there are no professional musicians, there are no professional
dancers; but though each man may be his own composer of music, the women
never alter their dances, which are handed down unchanged from one
generation to another. It is only at festivals that the dance is
performed, and never inside the huts, but in the open air. It is not for
the amusement of spectators, for besides one or two of the older women,
spectators there are none; but it is for the enjoyment of the dancers
themselves. The men do not seem to take the slightest interest in the
dancing, and apparently regard it as unmanly. They remain in the hut
drinking while the girls enjoy themselves in this way outside, and
should one of them by chance come out, he would stop and look on no more
than men in civilised countries would stop and watch little children at
play. On the other hand, on such occasions Ainu matrons squat in a
semicircle not far from the dancers, and keep up a lament-like or
sometimes quarrelsome conversation among themselves, and occasionally
encourage the girls in their hopping, and suggesting _encores_ of this
figure or that, which, between one quarrel and another, has taken their

[Illustration: A WOODEN PIPE.]


Heredity--Crosses--Psychological Observations.

The mental qualities of the Ainu are not many, and what they have are by
no means great; nor are they improved by education, for what they know
comes more from inheritance than personal acquirement, though naturally
every rule has its exceptions. I repeatedly noticed that talent, such as
it was, ran in certain families, the members of which were all more or
less intelligent. Certain families were more musical than others; other
families were more artistic--if, indeed, such a word could be applied to
the very low development of the artistic faculty when at its best among
the hairy people. Various members of one household were potently insane;
others were as potently idiotic. I shall not class under this heading of
heredity transmitted disease, like leprosy, consumption, &c., but I
shall limit myself to heredity in physical traits and mental qualities.
Unfortunately, with the Ainu intercourse between the sexes is so
imperfectly regulated as to often lead one to erroneous conclusions. The
reader may easily imagine the difficulty of establishing precise rules
of transmission in a race like the Ainu, where castes are not marked,
with the exception of the chieftainship in each village, the only
necessary qualifications for which are a sound, sharp intellect, a
strong physique, and personal courage. The office is hereditary if these
qualifications are also inherited; but should the sons or brothers of
the chief prove unworthy of his place, the Ainu would assemble in a
"village council" and elect another strong, clear-headed, and brave man
in place of the _roi fainéant_ thus summarily deposed. These chiefs have
no absolute authority, though the men often consult them in their
quarrels and difficulties, which they are asked to settle. Thus, because
of these qualities necessary for the office, these chiefs are a slightly
superior type to the other natives; for with savages, as with civilised
people, sharp-witted, strong, and brave men are naturally of a finer
type than those who are their inferiors in these qualities: but the
difference among the best Ainu and the worst is so small that I do not
feel justified in classing chiefs as of a different caste. Besides,
exceptional beauty, strength, or larger stature is not necessarily
transmitted in the families of chiefs, nor do the Ainu themselves
consider them better-looking than others.

As Ainu laws of marriage have no relation to the physical and moral
improvement of the race, the only way of classifying the natives for
purposes of heredity is by tribes, each village being considered as a
tribe. Ainu villages are generally very small, and the inhabitants of
each village intermarry among themselves, therefore each member of the
community is in some way related to every other member; hence heredity
in certain physical traits, mental qualities, and diseases shows itself
in one community and not in another. The difficulty of tracing the exact
connection of each individual with his or her relations beyond the
acknowledged father and mother also baffles research in more minute
details. Abnormal formations are sometimes transmitted to many members
of one tribe, as, for instance, the hare-lip and webbed fingers, of
which deformities two or three specimens could be found in a small
village numbering fifteen or twenty houses. Malformation of the
umbilicus is common--sometimes in almost every member of one small
community--while it is very rare in others. Children are mostly affected
by this, as in some villages the cord is not treated at all at birth;
and this leads to an abnormality till the child grows older, when the
few who survive seem to get all right. In other villages the cord is
fastened in a very primitive, not to say imperfect, manner, with a
common string of _Ulmus campestris_ fibre.

Albinism is very uncommon among the Ainu. I do not know of any case when
it has been transmitted, as albinos are greatly disregarded by the Ainu,
and, I was told, seldom marry.

Red hair, or hair with red shades in it, is common among the Ainu of
the north-east coast of Yezo, and also among the Kurilsky Ainu of
Shikotan, where nearly all the children have light hair. It darkens
considerably as they grow older, as many of the men said they had light
hair when young, which turned dark with age. Members of certain
communities have inherited the love of bear-hunting; others the love of
fishing; some tribes have a musical aptitude, and a certain artistic
talent for rough ornamentations on wood; others have developed their
inherited power of sustaining hunger and thirst. The only characteristic
which all the different tribes have inherited, without exception, is
love for intoxicating drinks; and this love is not only inherited by
thoroughbred Ainu, but also by half-castes.

Mixed marriages between Japanese and Ainu are frequent, but the progeny
are unfortunate beings, of whom a large percentage die when very young:
those who live are generally malformed, ill-natured, and often idiotic.
Their sight and hearing are not so acute as with the pure Ainu, and
crosses are said to be sterile, with very few exceptions. If children of
second crosses are born they seldom live to be more than five years old.

Half-breeds are invariably from a Japanese man with an Ainu woman, but
occasionally an Ainu man marries or cohabits with a half-caste woman. I
have never seen a pure-blood Ainu man marry a pure-blood Japanese woman.
The majority of half-breeds are males: I should think two-thirds males
and one-third females. The half-caste women are physically finer than
the men, but they are said to be very generally, if not uniformly,

The products of the first cross greatly resemble in general look the
Ainu parent, without being quite as hairy, though still very hairy; but
a strange peculiarity is, that they get bald while quite young. One can
easily detect them by their eyes, which are frequently like those of the
Japanese, by the wide flat forehead, and by the pose of the head, which
inclines forward. They generally walk with their toes turned in, instead
of keeping their feet perfectly straight, like the pure Ainu. The moral
and intellectual position of these half-breeds is a pitiful one. They
are rejected by both the Ainu and Japanese, and are held inferior to
both alike.

A high moral standard, whether got from philosophic breadth or Christian
virtues, does not suit a despised barbarian race like the Ainu. Nothing
could or does kill them quicker than civilisation. Experiments have been
tried to civilise certain Ainu: they were made to wash, bathe, and live
in comfortable, clean quarters: they were instructed and got good food;
but after a few months they had to be sent back to their native place
and ways, for civilisation only killed them.

The half-castes have none of the good qualities of either race. They are
neither as brave as the Ainu nor courteous and light-hearted like the
Japanese. The following remarks, which I take direct from my diary, were
written by me between Shimokebo and Tomakomai, on the south-west coast
of Yezo, where many half-breeds are found along the sea-shore, and I
shall pass them on untouched to my readers.

"The Ainu along this coast were decidedly ugly. Many half-breeds are
also found along this coast. These half-breeds invariably grow bald in
early life, whereas the Ainu do not. The hair on their back, arms, and
legs is not so long or so thick as with the pure Ainu. Their teeth are
neither so strong nor so sound. As is usually the case when a mixture of
two or more races takes place, the lower and upper jaws not being of the
right proportion, it follows as a matter of course that unusual pressure
and friction injure and wear out the enamel of the teeth, thus causing
premature decay. The Americans and Australians are good examples of this
premature decay caused by the disproportion of the upper and lower jaws.
Also, teeth which do not fit well together sometimes grow so long as to
be a nuisance to the person who owns them. I found that these
half-breeds have all the bad qualities of both the Ainu and the
Japanese, and have not retained any of the good ones. They are
ill-tempered, lazy, and vindictive. It is well to mention that, on the
Japanese side, they have come mostly from the criminals exported by the
Japanese Government, which fact partly explains why they are so
evil-minded and untrustworthy. Instead of falling into the more
civilised ways of the Japanese, these half-breeds prefer the wild life
of their Ainu ancestors; and if anything they are wilder than the Ainu
themselves. Insanity is very common among half-breeds. The head is in
most instances of an abnormal size; the frontal bone is generally more
sloping than with the thoroughbred Ainu; and though the skull be wide
from one temple to the other, it is not spacious enough from the frontal
bone to the back of the head. They have heads so shaped that the
animal propensities are in excess of the moral and mental
faculties. In thoroughbred Ainu I found the bumps of amativeness,
philoprogenitiveness, and tune very well developed. In the half-breeds
these bumps hardly show at all, and in some cases the back of the
head--where the two first bumps are found--is almost flat.

"Ainu half-breeds never live to be very old. They are often affected
with rheumatism--_kaki_, a disease peculiar to the Far East--leprosy,
and consumption, and they suffer from these diseases much more than do
the pure Ainu. I found leprosy quite common among half-breeds--while I
have seen but few Ainu affected with it. In most instances, though,
leprosy had only attained its first stages--contraction of fingers and
subsequent dropping off of the three phalanges, ears, and nose; but this
may be explained by the fact that the sufferers in general succumb
before the disease attains its more serious character, when the whole
body is visibly affected by it."

Precise laws as to the degree of quickness of perception, power of
reasoning, and learning of the Ainu race cannot be given, for, as I have
mentioned before, almost each individual would require a special rule
for himself. My readers may have noticed that, while some Ainu were but
little above monkeys, others were sharp, and gave answers very much to
the point. This may apparently be regarded as a contradiction on my part
by people who have neither lived with savages, nor studied the
temperament of beasts. But it is not a contradiction. There are in this
world clever monkeys and stupid monkeys: some can never be made to learn
any tricks; others will learn them in no time. Intelligence is
instinctive, and not acquired, though of course it can be greatly
developed with education; thus, the Ainu are instinctively intelligent,
but I wish my readers clearly to understand that their intelligence does
not go much further than that of an intelligent monkey, though of course
the Ainu have the advantage over beasts of being able to talk, and
therefore, to a limited extent, discuss and combine. The Ainu memory is
a perfect blank in certain respects, as with arithmetic, science,
mechanics, reading, writing, drawing, and delineating maps; while in
other directions it seems to be fairly keen, as in hunting, fishing,
tracking, and acquiring languages up to a certain point. This last
faculty is noticeable in nearly all the lowest races, as the Australian
aborigines, the Tasmanian natives (now extinct), the Tierra del
Fuegians, &c. The Ainu ideas of time are vague, and if you add to that
the extreme difficulty which they experience in counting even up to ten,
and their inability to count beyond that number, it is easy to
understand why we can never learn the exact age of Ainu individuals.

Like the monkeys, the Ainu cannot concentrate their attention, and they
are easily wearied. Beads and shiny objects have a fascination for them;
but other objects, even perfectly new to them, arouse but little
curiosity, which soon passes, and they show no intelligence and less
imagination as to the probable use of these strange objects. They show
no inquisitiveness, and no wish to be taught the use of anything new and

It will be remembered that at Yamakubiro, on the Tokachi River, beyond
the natural astonishment caused by the first appearance of my ponies,
the strange baggage, and myself, the Ainu did not pay much attention to
this novel sight, and did not show any wish to have it explained, while
more civilised people, like the Japanese, would not have been satisfied
until I had shown and explained every article in my possession, and
allowed each person to try its use, &c., after which they would talk for
hours of what they had seen. The Ainu are not "built" so, and therefore
they have never made any progress. In the more civilised parts of Yezo
we have a proof of it. Their backwardness in acquiring the habits and
customs of their conquerors the Japanese, arises from incapacity more
than from conservatism. Yet for all that the Ainu are so incapable of
improving themselves, they are very persevering in what they do attempt,
as in their rough wooden carvings, the hollowing of their "dug-outs,"
the construction of their wooden tools and weapons, the weaving of their
rough garments, and the ornamentation thereof; but in all these they
appear to act more automatically than with keen and constructive

The Ainu are not to be taken _au pied de la lettre_, for the illusions
produced by ignorance and untutored imagination prevent anything like
literal accuracy; but they are not what we may call conscious and
immoral liars. A good example of this is my adventure at Horobets, when,
although they knew that they would be severely punished by the Japanese
policeman, the Ainu confessed their attack on me, and did not attempt
either denial or evasion. They are often plucky, and even distinctly
courageous; as, when out bear-hunting, a man armed only with a large and
not over sharp knife unhesitatingly attacks this formidable beast, who
sits up on his hind quarters, sure to crush the life out of his
assailant should he miss his stroke. The Ainu, protecting his head with
his left arm, and having taken the precaution to cover his back with
skins, goes merrily for the embrace; and while Bruin squeezes, the hairy
man splits its body open with the large knife.

The Ainu are cool-blooded. They are not subject to strong emotions, and
therefore they are not much affected by dreams and nightmares. They are
not affectionate except for a momentary impulse; but, like most animals,
they are faithful when they love. Mothers are fond of their children
till they have reached puberty; but after that the affection seems to
fade away. Paternal love is much less strong.

The pure Ainu are comparatively honest people, which may be due to the
incapacity for being dishonest. In a country where there is no exact
definition of property, where anybody can get what he requires without
resorting to theft, there is no reason why everybody should not be
honest. Then, according to Ainu ideas, stealing is not always stealing.
For instance, if an Ainu, without asking, takes away some of the salmon
caught by one of his hairy brethren, he will be blamed for it, he will
get into a row, and probably be beaten; but if the theft is perpetrated
on a Japanese or a stranger he will be praised, though the Ainu well
knows that he is not acting right. Their desire is stronger than their
conscience, such as it is; and having no laws of their own to rule them
worth speaking of, they often do according to their desire, without
deserving the accusation of conscious dishonesty. It is exactly the
same case as when a dog jumps on the dining-table when everybody is
absent and carries off the leg of mutton which he knows he ought not to
touch; but the temptation was too strong, and he could not resist it.
The Ainu are fond of independence, though in many instances I found them
gentle, and apparently submissive to a stronger will than their own. The
field of their brain-power is of course very narrow, and the same rough,
rude, primitive thoughts and ideas are constantly repeated in their
conversation as well as in their designs.



Physiological Observations--Pulse-beat and Respiration--Exposure--Odour
of the Ainu--The Five Senses.

The following physiological remarks are mostly from observations made on
Ainu of the Upper Tokachi district, the natives of which have had no
communication with Europeans and little with Japanese previous to my own
visit to them. Observations made on the semi-civilised Ainu of Volcano
Bay and Piratori, on those of the north-east and west coasts, and the
Ishikari River, as well as on half-castes of different districts, have
been taken into consideration.

Owing to the lack of a clinical thermometer and other instruments, I,
unfortunately, was not able to ascertain the normal temperature of the
body; nor could I get any very accurate observations as to the frequency
of the pulse-beat, owing to the miserable condition of my watch and the
difficult task of getting natives to sit perfectly still while their
pulse was felt. A superstitious fear, too, that some evil would befall
them accelerated the pulsations, and they invariably moved away rubbing
the spot I had touched on their wrist. Though I could not count the
exact number of pulsations to a minute, the movement of the pulse was as
a rule slow and rather weak. Respirations were fourteen to seventeen to
a minute in men, and about sixteen to twenty in women, and the
respiratory movements were similar in both sexes, viz., costal breathing
was predominant. In half-castes I have sometimes noticed abdominal

The Ainu not only bear cold well, but prefer it to heat, though, indeed,
their country is never very hot. The sun's rays have no fascination for
them, as with so many other races; and I have seldom seen Ainu basking
in the sun for purely physical pleasure, although they go about with
uncovered heads, and do not seem to suffer any ill effects from the
practice. The Ainu of Piratori wear Japanese hats of wicker-work; and
others, especially women, tie round their head a Japanese towel--a
fashion, as we have seen, also adopted from the Japanese. With this
head-dress the crown of the head is left uncovered.

The Ainu are not massively formed, but they are sturdy, and, as we have
seen, can bear almost any amount of privation as regards food and drink.
Sleep is necessary to them, and they require a great deal to be in
anything like good condition. The sleeping hours are generally from an
hour or so after sunset to sunrise; but during the day they are often
drowsy, and turn in to have a siesta after food and exercise. In men the
voice is soft and deep; shriller but still gentle in women. The Ainu
seldom perspire, partly because the pores of their skin are blocked with
dirt; partly because their long hair absorbs a great quantity of
natural moisture; and mostly because they do not drink much except when
they can get hold of intoxicants.

The skin is greasy--the natural result of many years of an unwashed
existence; and this gives to the hairy people a peculiar and strong
odour, much resembling that of monkeys. Many are familiar with the
peculiar odour of an uncleaned monkey's cage, and the same, intensified
a thousand times, characterises an Ainu village. Hundreds of yards off
you can distinctly smell out a village, or if the wind is blowing
towards you, that peculiar odour is perceptible for a full half-mile.
Although the sense of smell is acute in the Ainu--for they sometimes
employ it in tracking animals--they are not aware of their own strong
odour; but they are quick in distinguishing that of other races. I have
several times heard Ainu of the coast remark that I possessed a
different odour from that of the Japanese; but they could neither define
it nor assimilate it to that of any animal they knew, though several of
them one day held a lengthy pow-wow about it; and in the interest of
anthropology I submitted to the unpleasant process of being smelt all
over by them. The Chinese unanimously assert that Europeans smell like
sheep, and they say this is the reason we constantly wash and bathe,
being aware of our infirmity, and doing our best to diminish it by soap
and water. We ourselves attribute to Jews one distinct odour, and yet
another to the Russians; not to speak of those belonging to the negroes,
the Chinese, and, in fact, all other nations. Thus, the odour has some
importance in the classification of peoples, as it largely depends on
the kind of food as well as the personal habits of a race. Meat-eaters
smell differently from fish-eaters, and these again from vegetarians. As
regards the Ainu, their filthy habits of course increase their
offensiveness, while bodily exercise renders them intolerable. The
Japanese recognise the Ainu odour as a distinguishing mark of the race,
and Japanese fishermen have often said to me, "_Aino shto taihen
kusai_"; "_Saru_," or else "_Kumma onaji koto_"--"Ainu men smell bad,
just like a monkey or a bear."

As an Ainu grows older this peculiarity increases. The weaker sex is
generally more "strongly scented" than are the men, owing to the fact
that women wear skins and rough cloth rags nearly all the year round,
while in summer the men go about either entirely naked, or very lightly

On the north-east coast of Yezo and in Shikotan (Kurile Islands) I saw
some Ainu who, contrary to the rule, had red hair, and their animal
odour was terribly offensive. The Ainu do not use any unguents like
palm-oil, cocoanut-oil, or the like, by which the unpleasantness of
certain African tribes and Eastern peoples is to be accounted for. What
they have is natural and national, and due to their food, habits, and
race alone.

The Ainu have no partiality or dislike for any particular scents, and
their sense of smell shows itself mainly in their power of tracking game
or animals, as was said before. The same might be said of the sense of
"touch," which they seldom apply practically, notwithstanding their
sensitiveness in certain parts of the body, especially under the
arm-pits and on each side of the spinal column and the back of the
head--just those parts which in most animals are the most sensitive; but
they have no developed sense of touch in their finger-tips, as with
civilised nations.

Most Ainu find it difficult to declare which is the heavier of two not
very unequal weights. Differences in the temperature of two bodies, and
in the smoothness or texture of two surfaces, are also extremely
difficult for them to define, while it is easy for them to judge of
weights and texture by eyesight. The palms of the hands, which are so
sensitive with us, owing to the papillæ being more thickly studded there
than in other parts of the body, are less intelligently sensitive with
the Ainu. When they touch cold or hot objects they feel pain, but not
difference of temperature, as when with us a wound is touched it makes
little difference whether it is by something hot or cold, it is simply
pain, and not discrimination. Their lips, as well as the tip of the
tongue, are slightly more sensitive; the lower lip more so than the
upper. I was never able to determine the relative sensibility of the
sensitive parts of the Ainu body, as my experiments either caused anger
and impatience, or hilarity and mockery. If the first, the observations
had to be stopped before they were well begun; if the second, beyond the
general results which I have quoted, the answers were mere guesswork on
their part, and therefore not worth recording. Most of my observations
are based on experiments made while the men were unaware that they were
observed at all. Often, when asleep, I have touched them on the soles of
the feet and the palms of the hands without causing them to awake, while
when touched on the lower lip or in the lumbar region they invariably
woke up startled. One day I tried this experiment on an Ainu who was
sleeping on his back, with his mouth wide open. I touched his tongue
with a well-sharpened lead-pencil, and the effect was subitaneous; more
so than on either the lips or the lumbar region. The skin directly over
the spine was dull, but the ears showed a certain amount of sensibility.
The sense of "taste," which is a mere modification of the sense of
touch, is also dull, although naturally, when stimulated by very acid or
bitter substances, it produced distinct impressions. Even with
ourselves, though more perfected than the sense of smell--which,
however, often comes to its assistance--few can boast of having the
sense of taste very acute. In our lower classes an extraordinary amount
of salt, mustard, pepper, or sugar is needed before they can call their
food "tasty," whereas a person of more refined education will detect the
lack or excess of even the smallest portion. Over-stimulation of the
lingual nerves and extremes of heat or cold deaden the sensibility of
the tongue, palate, and fauces, and destroy the power of distinguishing
flavours; bad digestion also frequently affects the organs of taste.
From this we may argue, then, that the sense of taste, though born in
one, has to be cultivated before it is brought to any degree of
refinement. The Ainu not only do not possess this acquired refinement,
but, through monotony of food, learn only one kind of flavour, and
cannot distinguish differences. Thus, as many labourers in our country
would not find any difference between a beef-steak slightly underdone
and one over-cooked, so an Ainu finds no difference whatever between a
piece of salmon properly dried and one perfectly rotten. In this respect
the Ainu are far below beasts.

In tribes of natives like the Ainu, who have lived an adventurous life,
mostly in the open air, it is but natural that the two senses of "sight"
and "hearing" should be more developed than those of "touch," "smell"
and "taste;" as life itself depends mostly on their accuracy and
acuteness. The Ainu possess good sight. Inflammation of the eyes is very
common among their children, owing to their filthy condition; but it
seldom affects their permanent sight; very few Ainu suffer either from
myopy or cataract, or other eye affections such as are frequent among
civilised and more studious nations. In very warm climates, where the
sun is powerful and the light strong, the eyes are generally shielded by
specially long and thick eyelashes and eyebrows, which last prevent the
sweat from running down the forehead into the orbit; but, strange to
say, the Ainu, who are a northern race, and have always lived in cold
climates, have eyelashes even longer and thicker than any race of people
in tropical climates. The iris is of a somewhat greyish tint, sometimes
traversed with brown shades. The white of the eye is less pearly than
with Caucasian races, and the eyes, shaded as they are by long eyelashes
and heavy eyelids, seem to possess all the qualities necessary for
abnormally long vision. And this we find to be the case, for the Ainu
can distinguish objects a long way off, but they are dense as to
minutiæ. In other words, the eye of an Ainu is ready to receive an
impression, but very slow in transmitting to the brain the impression

As we have seen, they cannot reproduce the "human form divine," or any
faithful representation of anything animate or inanimate which they have
seen. They see _en gros_; thus, should an Ainu's attention be drawn to
some very distant object rapidly moving on the shore, he will at once
say that it is a horse, because he knows that the chances are it is a
horse, but he will be unable to describe its colour, and whether
cantering or galloping, saddled or unsaddled, by a single glance at the
horse, unless his attention is called to each particular detail, when he
will answer each question correctly enough. The Ainu vision is then
strong, but the brain is not quick in response. Testing their sight by
"test dots," as used in the British Army, was not a success, greatly
owing to their inability to count and the inaccuracy of their answers.

The most fully-developed sense in the hairy people is, in my opinion,
that of hearing. Distant sounds are clearly recognised and specified,
and they are also aware that by placing one ear near the ground, far-off
sounds of horse's hoofs and the like can be clearly distinguished. The
ticking of a Waterbury watch could be heard by Ainu at a distance of
twenty and twenty-two feet, while I could only hear it nineteen feet
away. I was often struck by the quickness with which they detected the
tick-tack even when the watch was in my pocket, and they were six or
eight feet away. The unusual sound fixed their attention and made them
curious as to the cause, and they showed a childish kind of surprise and
delight when the watch was produced and passed round among them, each
one being allowed to enjoy his share of the ticking.

Resuming these few remarks on the characteristic points of Ainu senses,
my readers will probably have noticed certain facts which strongly
support Darwin's theory of evolution, and the hairy arboreal ancestor
with pointed ears from which the races of men are descended.

[Illustration: TROPHY OF BEARS' SKULLS.]


The Ainu Superstitions--Morals--Laws and Punishments.

I cannot begin this chapter better than by saying that Ainu religious
ideas are essentially chaotic. They recognise no supreme God, and no
intelligent Creator; and they cannot be called polytheists, for indeed
they are not _worshippers_ of any power--taking the word in its full
meaning. The Ainu worship nothing.

If they have any belief at all it is an imperfect kind of Totemism, and
the central point of that belief is their own descent from the "bear."
This does not include the smallest reverence for their ancestor. They
capture their "Totem" and keep it in captivity; they speak to it and
feed it; but no prayers are offered to it. When the bear is fat, it is
taken out of the cage to be ill-treated and baited by all the men
present. It is tied to a stake and a pole is thrust into its mouth; and
when the poor beast has been sufficiently tortured, pricked with pointed
sticks, shot at with blunted arrows, bruised with stones, maddened with
rage and ill-usage, it is killed outright, and, "ancestor" as it may be,
it makes the chief dish and _raison d'être_ of a festival, where all the
members of the tribe partake of its flesh. The owner of the hut in which
the feast takes place then sticks the skull on to a forked pole, and
sets it outside with the others at the east end of his hut. The skin is
made into garments, or is spread on the ground to sleep on.

In addition to this rudimentary kind of Totemism--if I may call it
so--the Ainu show a certain amount of fear and respect for anything
which supports their life or can destroy it. This, however, is under the
form of an "instinct" rather than a "religious feeling." Dumb animals of
any kind are similarly affected by powers which they cannot explain; but
as we would not think for a moment that when a dog is barking at the
moon the dog is worshipping the orb of night, or when it basks in the
sun that it is offering prayers and reverence to the orb of day, no more
should we think that the Ainu, who are not much above dumb animals,
worship all they respect and fear.

If other writers, most of whom have never visited the Ainu country, had
not written on this subject, I would have limited myself to saying that
the Ainu, properly speaking, have no religion, but as certain untenable
theories and false ideas have been published, I feel bound to state what
I know on the subject, that, so far as I can, I may correct these
erroneous impressions. I regard myself as qualified to speak with some
authority, as I am the _only_ foreigner who has seen and studied _all_
the different tribes of Ainu in Yezo and the Kuriles; while other
writers, the few who have actually been there, have based their
statements on a few half-castes or Ainu in the more civilised part of
southern Yezo, collecting from them ideas left behind by previous
travellers, and offering them to the public as purely Ainu. That these
hasty travellers and cursory writers have been deceived, or have
deceived themselves, is not astonishing; for it must be borne in mind
that the Ainu language is as poor in words as the Ainu brain is
deficient in thoughts. Thus it is no easy matter to explain to an Ainu
what is meant by "religion," by "divinities," and by "worship." The
nearest approach can be made only by comparisons and analogies, which
often lead far from the point aimed at. Like all savages and barbarians,
the Ainu are more apt to answer as they think will please the questioner
than to give a definition of their own beliefs. The manner in which a
question is put gives the keynote to the reply, which is in no sense an
independent statement of their own thoughts.

For instance, if you were to say to an Ainu, "You are old, are you not?"
he would answer "Yes"; but if you asked the same man, "You are not old,
are you?" he would equally answer "Yes." Knowingly speaking the truth is
not one of their characteristics; indeed, they do not know the
difference between falsehood and truth. This is a common failing with
all savages as well as with all Orientals; but with the Ainu it is even
more accentuated; and when, in addition to this, the difficulty of
making them understand exactly what one means is taken into
consideration, it is not astonishing that a traveller arrives at a wrong
conclusion if the utmost pains be not taken in pursuing one's

Of course the Ainu who have come in contact with Japanese know of a God,
and some of them, at the instigation of Japanese _bonzes_, have become
nominal Buddhists. Benry, at Piratori, showed me a small Buddhist
shrine, of Japanese manufacture, which had been put up on a neighbouring
hill. All the time I stayed at Piratori I never observed any Ainu
worship at it. One day I saw two boys throwing stones at it, but that
could hardly be called an act of reverence, even among my hairy friends.

On my inquiring as to the origin and use of the shrine, I was told by
some that it was erected to the God of the Japanese. Benry, who was
always "well informed," both in things that he knew and those that he
did not know, said that it was built in honour of Yoshitsune, the
Japanese personage who, as we have seen, is the hero in semi-Ainu
legends, and whose image or spirit, according to travellers' tales, is
worshipped by the Ainu.

It always appeared strange to me that the Piratori Ainu had this
Japanese hero in their legends, but still more strange that they should
make him their deity. Yet what was most singular of all was, that with
the exception of Benry and a few others at Piratori, no other Ainu I
met in any other part of Yezo seemed to know about Yoshitsune--or
Okikurumi, as he is sometimes called by them; and, moreover, they knew
nothing of his doings, or of the reason of his being worshipped. The
Ainu of the Tokachi knew nothing whatever of this personage.

The Ainu idea of soul is always associated with "breath" or "life;" and
as for the resurrection of the body and the future life of the soul,
they have never even dreamt of it. Metempsychosis is equally unknown to

As my readers have seen, in the description of a burial the implements
and weapons which belonged to a deceased person are buried with him. The
articles, however, previous to being thrown into the grave, are smashed
to pieces; for the idea is, not that the dead body should profit by
these things in the other world, but that no other person should make
use of what had been his property in this. The reasoning power of the
Ainu does not carry him beyond what is purely material; his mind has
never been trained to go beyond that limit, and he finds that he can
live well within it. Like all animals, he is guided by his instinct,
which tells him what is good and what is bad for him; but as to any
attempt to find out _why_ such things are good or bad for him, he is
utterly at a loss, and has to give up the quest. Though not devoid of a
rudimentary kind of shrewdness, the Ainu is dense and ignorant to the
last degree, and just as he is reluctant to adopt new modes of living,
so he is unable to accept new ideas or larger thoughts. The mere
conception of a Superior Being, who is the Maker of all things and above
all things, is far beyond the comprehension of any Ainu. Eating and
drinking are what he principally lives for. He does not thirst for
knowledge, nor strive after the Divine; and he has no creed of any kind
and no formula of sacrifice or worship, which two conditions are
essential to even the most elementary religion.

What the Ainu do really possess in the way of supernaturalism is the
ordinary savage's credulous superstition, which manifests itself in
certain charms or fear of certain omens. However, after that degree they
take the world as it comes. They have no idea of who made it, and they
are not anxious to learn. The sun, the moon, bears, salmon, water, fire,
mountains, trees, are all things for which an Ainu has a dumb kind of
regard, not amounting to reverence, as he knows that he could not live
without them. This has led some persons to define these objects as the
principal divinities of the Ainu, and to call the people themselves
polytheists. The word _Kamoi_, or _Kamui_, has been rendered as "god,"
gods "divinity." Now, what does the word _Kamoi_, or _Kamui_, really
mean? Translated literally it means "old" or "ancient"; but amongst a
hundred other meanings it also denotes "large," "beautiful," "strange,"
"it," "the man," "he who," &c. In fact, it is used to qualify anything,
whether good or bad; and in some ways corresponds to our adjectives
"wonderful," "awful," "grand "; but assuredly the Ainu do not by this
word mean to designate the objects thus described as so many gods.
Anything for which they entertain respect or fear is described as
_Kamoi_, or _Kamui_, which thus is applied to the sun, the moon, the
stars, mountains, rivers, old trees, bears, salmon, large stones, &c.,
not with the intention of making them divinities, but simply to specify
their power, greatness, or antiquity. The word is applied to every kind
of thing, animate or inanimate, good or bad, respected or derided,
dreaded or revered, admired or abhorred. It is sometimes a prefix,
sometimes an affix, and is the most universal attribute the Ainu world
or language contains. We are, therefore, forced to the conclusion, that
either the Ainu are polytheists or pantheists to such an extent as
occasionally to make everything and everybody a god; or else, that
translators have given their own, and a greatly exaggerated, meaning to
the word _Kamui_, and that these so-called gods are not gods at all. To
me there is no alternative opinion on the matter. The Ainu have no gods
in our sense.

Basing conclusions on wrong premises, writers on the Ainu religion have
been naturally led astray altogether. For instance, the composite word
_Kotan-kara-kamui_,[39] which a learned missionary has translated
"Creator," only means "the man who made the village"--a description
which hardly corresponds to the grandeur attributed to the words by its
imaginative translator.

    [39] _Kotan_, village, place, site; _kara_, to make, build; _kamui_,
    the man, ancient, strength.

Then again, _Kamui kotan_, which according to some means "the home of
God," in its real signification is "an ancient village; a beautiful
place." When _Kamui_ is applied to persons, it is generally a suffix;
when to things, it is a prefix.

But let us come to the _inao_, which by some have been called the "Ainu
gods," by others "Divine symbols." These _inao_ are willow-wands, with
shavings depending from the upper end, sometimes from the middle, and
occasionally from near the lower end as well.

The larger wands are about four feet in length, and have either one or
two bunches of shavings at the upper end only. They go by the name of
_inao netuba_, or "big _inao_." Other smaller _inao_, like the
_Chisei-kara-inao_,[40] are kept in the house, and stuck in the eastern
corner of the hearth, and in the wall directly opposite the entrance
door. Some of the _inao_ are shaved upwards from the bottom, others
downwards from the top; and one, a big _inao_, is often thrust through
the small window facing the east. Sometimes they are placed about
singly, especially inside the huts; but outside, close to the eastern
wall, I have often seen eight or ten standing together in a row. When so
taken collectively they are called _nuza_. On Volcano Bay, up the Saru
River, and on the Lake Kutcharo, where it is the custom of the Ainu to
make trophies of the skulls of bears and deer which have been killed in
the hunt, one or two _inao_ are placed at the foot of the trophy.
Sometimes, but very rarely, a whole _nuza_ is to be seen in front of a
trophy; but in most cases the _nuza_ I saw were near huts that had no
trophy at all, and, as I say, only very seldom were they in front of the
trophy itself, unless a bear feast was going on. I am therefore under
the impression that these _nuza_ are only put up when some festival
takes place, and that they are not kept there permanently. I remember
that at Piratori there were no _inao_ and no _nuza_ outside Benry's
house, but on the day that the festival took place one was put up, and
several _inao_ were placed inside the hut, in the hearth and on the
north wall. Likewise, a _nuza_ was put up on the same day at the east
end of the hut in which the feast was given, and the inside was also
adorned with _inao_ of various sizes and descriptions. Each _inao_ is
pointed at the lower end, so as to be easily stuck in the ground. The
_inao_ of all sizes and shapes impressed me as being mostly for
ornament. Then some are held as charms against misfortune and disease;
but they never impressed me as being offerings to the gods. _Inao_ are
placed near springs, so that the good water may not turn into
pestilential, and occasionally _inao_ of a peculiar shape are hung in
the doorway of newly-built huts. They are made of a number of small
willow sticks tied together, from which hang five or six bunches of
shavings; they are hung horizontally, and not in a vertical position,
like the other _inao_. They are very uncommon, and only used on certain
specified occasions. For example, when a child is born an _inao_, in the
shape of a doll, is made of a bunch of reeds folded double and tied with
a string about an inch from the bend, which thus forms the head; it is
then tied lower down to indicate the waist. By dividing the reeds into
two equal portions they produce a pair of legs, and a stick is then
passed through the reeds between the head and the waist to form the
arms. When this doll is made it is placed near the infant, so that
should any disease or misfortune, in the shape of a kind of evil spirit,
be tempted to enter the child's body, it may be averted, and enter the
doll instead. Should a person fall ill new _inao_ are stuck in the
hearth, as the Ainu share our own idea that evil spirits dwell mostly in
fire; others are placed near the sick person. They are not meant as
offerings to the gods for his or her quick recovery, but merely to bring
good luck to the individual whose body they think has been taken
possession of by "animals inside," or, in other words, evil spirits.

    [40] _Chisei_, house, dwelling, hut; _kara_, make; also, have.

Even at the present day in England and on the Continent horseshoes for
luck are hung over entrance doors, and if a horseshoe be fastened on to
a stable-door, the beasts within are supposed to be held free from
accidents and illness.

In Spain and Italy little red rags tied to a small wand, not dissimilar
in shape to a small Ainu _inao_, are stuck in flower-pots near windows,
over beds, doors, and up chimneys, to keep witches at bay, red being a
powerful exorcist in the way of colours, and as good as the "running
stream which witches dare not cross." Some hysterical women have
declared that they have seen witches hiding in the smoke of the boiling
_Pentola_ (the earthenware pot in which the soup is boiled)--but that on
seeing the red rags they vanished, and never visited the house again.
Italian and Spanish women and children almost invariably carry charms
round their necks, that are to keep them safe from harm; and,
furthermore, when a child falls ill, one or more red rags are fastened
to its bed before a doctor is sent for. Then, again, people suffering
from epileptic fits have often been supposed to be "possessed," and
beaten to death or burnt alive, so that the evil spirit which was in
them should thus be destroyed. It must be borne in mind that not many
centuries ago similar beliefs were prevalent even in free and
enlightened England.

If we compare these beliefs with those of the Ainu, we find that they
differ very little either in form or substance. In place of the witches
which our own ancestors, modern Italians, and Spaniards, and some
benighted peasantry still to be found in the West of England, believed,
and do still believe in, the Ainu have imaginary animals or evil
spirits. The wands and red rags of our Latin neighbours are represented
by their _inao_; and our lucky horseshoe is with them the horizontal
_inao_. Charms are worn by the Ainu men, women, and children; and when
going to war or to hunt the men carry a block of wood to which their
knife or sword is attached, and on the right-hand side of which hangs a
small _inao_.

These blocks of wood are flattened, and are elliptical at both ends.
Their length varies from four to fifteen inches, and sometimes
ornaments--generally circles--are carved on them. A string is fastened
on one side so as to sling them to the shoulder; but they are usually
carried under the arm. They are supposed to protect the carrier from
accidents, and also to bring him good fortune.

We see, then, that similar ideas are entertained by utterly different
peoples thousands of miles distant from one another; and that certain
superstitious beliefs left on this side of the globe find their parallel
among the hairy people on the other. Of course with them it is natural
that their beliefs should count for more than with Europeans, as
civilisation has not in any way enlarged or improved their minds; but it
seems to me unfair that the same identical beliefs should go under the
name of _superstitions_ when applied to Europeans, and called the "Ainu
religion" when practised by the hairy inhabitants of Northern Japan.
Though to this I know it may be replied that, as all things spring from
germs, so these ignorant superstitions of the Ainu may be in a manner
called their religion, as the germ of a more developed system--the
cotyledonous state of what might grow into a more advanced spirituality.
Like the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Ainu wave their
moustache-lifters, during their libations, towards the sun, the fire,
and the person who has paid for the wine, before they address themselves
to the large wooden bowls wherein lies their happiness; but this also is
not a religious ceremony, and no religious feeling whatever is connected
with it. It is a mere _toast_--part of their etiquette--which exactly
corresponds to the German "_Prosit_," or to our English "Your good
health." The Ainu of course have no special high-days, no Sundays, no
religious services, no prayers, no priests, no sacrificial priests, no
churches, and no bells; but they can "swear"; and as the Neapolitans
invoke their saints, so they occasionally call the sun, the moon, the
fire, and everything else, all sorts of bad names if things do not go as
they ought. This "swearing" has been defined as _Ainu praying_ by one
authority on the Ainu religion; moreover, the same authority calls the
Ainu a "distinctly religious people," and an "exceedingly religious
race!" To anyone who visits a country and regards all that he finds from
one point of view only, it is not difficult to interpret words and
things in accordance with the preconceived idea; but however high the
principles sought to be established, I do not consider a man justified
in attributing to definite facts an importance and significance to which
they have no claim. I have no doubt that a native who had associated
with or been in the employment of a Christian would make statements in
accordance with his master's belief as it had been taught him; but it is
incorrect to offer these "borrowed statements" as the religious beliefs
of a whole nation.

I shall not discuss this question at greater length; but for the sake of
readers who are interested in the subject it may be well to make two or
three more statements before closing this chapter. The Ainu do not know
of a heaven and hell; but in one of the latest publications on the
aborigines of Japan we are told that they do; and, moreover, that they
are fully aware of the resurrection of the body in the other world!

Even assuming, for the moment, that the Ainu are theists, or
polytheists, after what we have heard of their gods, this is a somewhat
surprising statement. It will be remembered that anything good or bad,
dreaded or repulsive, respected or not respected, is qualified by the
Ainu as _Kamui_, and we shall attribute for a while the imaginary
meaning of "God" to the word. Now, if everything and everybody, good or
bad, is equally a god, I myself fail to see the necessity of a hell, as
the chances are that all the gods would inhabit heaven. This alone
serves to show how absurd the theory is; but I wish to give the exact
translation of the words _Kando_ and _Teine-pokna-moshiri_, which are
said to be the two Ainu expressions for "heaven" and "hell."

_Kando_ means "sky," not "heaven." _Teine-pokna-moshiri_[41] stands for
the "wet earth under(ground)." As the Ainu are in the habit of burying
their dead, I find it more rational to apply to the words in question
the meaning of a "burial-place," a "cold place of rest" rather than that
of Hades or Gehenna.

    [41] _Teine_, wet; _pokna_, under; _moshiri_, earth, place, island.

"They" (the Ainu), says a learned missionary, "seem to conceive of men
and women as living in large communities in the other world in the same
way and under the same conditions as they do in this, excepting that
they can know no death." In other words, resurrection of the body and
eternal life.

Strange to say, the writer of the same lines asserted in the
"Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan,"[42] that "The Ainu _know
nothing_ of a resurrection of the body."

    [42] Vol. X., Part II., §6.

It must not be argued that because they have no religion the Ainu are
bad people. They are far from it. They are decidedly not moral, for
nothing is immoral among them. The Ainu must be considered more as
animals than as human beings. When we speak of a dog, we do not ask
whether it is a moral dog, but only if it is a good dog. The same can be
said of the Ainu. We cannot compare them to ourselves, nor judge them by
our own standard of morality. Taken by themselves they are gentle, kind,
brave, and above everything they are simple. Their language, manners,
customs, arts, habits, as we have seen, are the very simplest and rudest
possible. Thus, it is absurd to suppose that such simple brains could
entertain high religious ideas. If they had brains enough to compass
high religious beliefs they would long ago have used those brains in
bettering their miserable condition and filthy mode of living. They
would have striven to make the beginnings of a history and a literature,
or at least to have devised or adopted some mode of writing with which
they could preserve these high ideas, and pass them on from generation
to generation. Even their language is so poor in words as to hardly
express their everyday wants. The Ainu are low in the scale of humanity.
They have always been low; they have not sunk, for they have never
risen. They have never done any harm in this world, and they will never
do any good.

The Ainu are without laws, which, paradoxical as it sounds, to a great
extent makes them good. People are never so good as when no harm can be
done. There are indeed few crimes among them; no voluntary infanticides;
very very rarely murders; no suicides; little theft, and as little
treachery among people of the same tribe. Though usually retiring and
reserved, they are hospitable on special occasions, and generous with
what little they possess. The young show an instinctive reverence for
the aged, without considering it a virtue or a duty. Cowardice is
despised by the Ainu, but courage, endurance of pain, and hardship,
drunkenness, and similar qualities, are looked on as the chief virtues
in men. Punishments are seldom inflicted by Ainu on any of their
tribesmen, and the crime must indeed be great to raise the whole
community against the criminal. If by rare chance some great evil has
been done, the chief of the village and all the men assemble, and decide
on the punishment to be inflicted. Flogging is the general punishment
for the lesser crimes, which, according to Ainu ideas, are theft and
assault. The murder of a tribesman is sometimes punished by cutting the
tendons of the hands and feet of the murderer, thus disabling him from
hunting or fishing. If, however, the man murdered was of another tribe,
or a Japanese, this Draconian kind of justice is not administered.
Quarrels among tribesmen are settled by private retribution, and no one
interferes either one way or the other. These quarrels, however, very
seldom occur, as the Ainu are naturally a peaceful people. Imprisonment
does not exist, for the simple reason that the Ainu have no prisons.
They do not know what a prison is; neither is capital punishment
practised by them. According to their own ideas they are not cruel to
children, for we seldom see them wilfully ill-treating them; but
according to civilised notions Ainu women make shockingly bad mothers.
They love, but they do not look after, nor practically take care of,
their little ones after these are about a year and a half old; and as to
washing them, combing their hair, educating them, or trying to cure them
of the thousand and one wretched skin diseases, which come chiefly by
their own neglect, an Ainu mother puts her hand to these things no more
than the men put theirs to the building of a temple or the creation of a
literature. This neglect is not with them, as it would be with us, an
intolerable crime, but is the natural result of their animal instinct as
contradistinguished from rational development. For if a baby is not old
enough at one and a half years of age to take care of himself, he is of
no good as an Ainu. It is needless to add that, in these circumstances,
most of them are of no good, and that the percentage of infantile deaths
is appalling to a civilised mind.

[Illustration: 1, 7, INAO-NETUBA. 2, 3, 4, 5, CHISEI-KARA-INAO. 6, A


Marital Relations, and Causes that Limit Population.

The laws of marriage in the Ainu country are not very stringent; in
fact, there are no laws. If a young man takes a fancy to a pretty hairy
maid, and the maid reciprocates his affections, all they have to do is
to go and live together, and there is no Mrs. Grundy to be scandalised
at the want of closer forms and ceremonies. There is no function to
celebrate the occasion; there are no wedding presents, no bridesmaids,
no officiating clergyman, and no old slipper flung after the happy pair
as soon as the knot is tied. The bridegroom either goes to live in his
bride's hut, or, if he does not care for his mother-in-law, he will
bring his lady-love to his own father's hut. Usually, however, the two,
especially if their respective families are large, prefer to build a hut
of their own. The honeymoon is spent in house-building, and while the
bride carries the loads of timber and long reeds, the bridegroom
accomplishes the more difficult task of putting them together as well as
he can for future shelter. All goes well with the happy couple until the
roof has to be lifted up bodily and perched on the forked poles, during
which process "family rows" generally begin. But they do not last long,
and when the house is finished, though not decorated, home peace reigns
within, and the bridegroom, as we have already seen, proceeds to
ornament his chief treasure--his wife--with tattoos on her arms. This
idyllic state of things is not specially permanent, for soon after this
first marriage the Ainu feels that he would like another wife, and,
without thinking twice about it, he marries again. Though savage and
barbarian, the Ainu is shrewd enough not to take his second wife to live
with his first, for he knows what the result would be, human nature
being the same in Yezo as it is in London, and jealousy as strong among
the tattooed women of the hairy people as among the fair-skinned
daughters of the West. All women are bad enough when out of temper, but
the Ainu women are pre-eminent in this respect. Our shock-haired
bigamist calls his first wife _poro-machi_--"great wife," and he calls
the other _pon-machi_--"small wife;" and as long as the two females do
not live under the same roof they are all happy with the arrangement.
If, indeed, he chooses to have more than these two wives he thinks small
blame to himself. There is no bar of any kind in his code to his having
a third "half;" but this seldom happens now, for the women are not in
such over abundance in the Ainu country as to allow each man to indulge
in a "triple alliance." The Ainu are therefore polygamists when they can
find the third woman, and almost always bigamists when this is possible.
The wife does not take her husband's name, for no Ainu has a family
surname; and each man or woman is called after some peculiarity which he
or she possesses, or after some event or accident which has befallen
them. For instance, _Una-charo_, a man's name, means "Sprinkled-ashes,"
and _Yei-Ainu_, "Dangerous Ainu," &c.; and _Korunke_, a woman's name,
means "Ice-eater;" _Reoback_, "Who burst three times," and so on, each
person having a different name, which is nothing more than a nick-name.
When the girl gets married she does not drop this nick-name, neither, as
has been said, does she take her husband's name, though sometimes she is
called So-and-So's wife. Supposing that Miss Burst-three-times were to
marry Mr. Sprinkled-ashes, she would be Mr. Sprinkled-ashes' wife, and
would still be called by her maiden name, Burst-three-times.

It is impossible to quote exact statistics of the Ainu population, and
whether the women outnumber the men, but from my own observation I
should think that females are in excess of the males in some districts,
and about even in others.

The man, naturally, is the lord and master of the household, and the
wife is like a kind of inferior being or a slave, whose duty it is to
obey her male companion. She has to yield in everything, whether she is
right or wrong; she is occasionally beaten; she never takes active part
in any of her husband's Bacchanalian revels; but though she leads a sad
kind of life, a life of hard work and no pleasure, she does not seem to
be any the worse for it. There are wives, of course, who, as in other
countries, give a "pretty rough time" to their husbands; but in the Ainu
country these are certainly the exception. As there is no ceremony of
marriage, there is naturally no "divorce;" but if an Ainu gets sick of
his wife, all he has to do is to leave her and go elsewhere, or else to
banish her from his hut. This, however, very seldom happens, for that
rare creature the henpecked Ainu husband is willing to put up with a
lot; and though brave enough to encounter single-handed a bear, the
hairy man is by no means valiant enough to face his wife's temper;
while, for all that she is practically a slave, and personally an
inferior, is sometimes in Ainuland, as everywhere else, the strongest
factor in the domestic sum.

As long as the wife does her duty well as a "beast of burden," little
more is required from her. Her morals, as far as I could make out, are
not well looked after. Adultery is not considered a crime. I do not mean
by this that adultery is practised on principle, for it is not so: there
is no reason whatever why it should be, for each man has his own wife or
wives; but if adultery were practised by any members of a community,
what we consider a dreadful crime would be regarded as a mere "joke"
among the hairy people. The husband, like any other animal, dumb or not,
would naturally resent the intrusion, but the community would in no way
interfere, or punish the offender. A girl is considered fit to be
married when she is about sixteen years of age; a man about twenty, or
as soon as the body is fully developed.

People as a rule marry in the same village. It is but seldom that a girl
marries a man or a man a girl of a different village. Villages, as we
have seen, are generally composed of only a few houses, and the result
of this strict endogamy is, that marriages take place among very near
relations. In very small villages of only one or two houses, the father
has been known to marry his own daughter, the uncle his own niece, &c.
But enough of this. The result of this dreadful state of affairs is,
that the race is rapidly dying out, destroyed by consumption, lunacy,
and poverty of blood. All the members of one village are necessarily
related to one another; and, as I have demonstrated in a previous
chapter, this is the main cause why certain diseases are common to one
community and utterly unknown to others, and certain hereditary talents
or tendencies are frequent in one village and imperceptible in the next.

The Ainu seem to have no Platonic love; their love is purely sexual. It
is not to be wondered at, in a country where marital relations are so
peculiar, that very little love is felt for children beyond a certain
age. The mother suckles her own child usually for seven or eight months.
She can bear children till she is about thirty-five, though some who
seem to be much older are still fruitful. It was difficult to ascertain
this fact for no Ainu knows his own age. As far as I could learn
fertility is neither hindered nor checked in any way--either by adopting
a peculiar diet or by other practices. On the other hand, many a woman
is sterile, and many are also affected with the most horrible of all
diseases. I am inclined to think, however, that this special malady was
imported to Yezo with Japanese civilisation, for it is in the more
civilised parts of the Ainu country that it is most frequent.

There is probably no country in the world where there is so much loss of
infant life due to want, accidents, and diseases, as with the Ainu.
Abortion is common, owing to the severe exertion of the mother during
pregnancy; and many a child dies not many days after birth for the same
reason, and consequent disappearance of milk in the mother's breasts.
The greater mortality of children, however, is between the age of six
and ten. Only a small percentage of these poor creatures live to take
part in the game of life; while many succumb to ill-treatment and the
most horrible skin eruptions. Thus we have a good explanation of the
frightful rapidity with which the Ainu race is fast disappearing.
Naturally, those few who survive grow strong and healthy; but their
great fondness for alcoholic drinks, which they can now so easily
procure from the Japanese, destroys even them.

One is generally struck in Ainuland by the number of old men and
children, and by the almost entire lack of young fellows between the age
of fifteen and thirty. This is due mainly to the great increase of
mortality in children during the last two generations. The sadness which
seems to oppress the Ainu, and which we see depicted on the face of each
individual, is nothing but the outcome of this degeneration of the race.
As a race the Ainu will soon be extinct. I dare say that in fifty years
from now--probably not so long--not one of the hairy savages, who were
once the masters of Sakhalin, Yezo, the Kuriles, Kamschatka, and the
whole of the southern Japanese Empire, will be left. Not one of these
strange people--soft, good, and gentle, but savage, brave, and
disreputable--will live to see their country civilised; and in the life
which they have led of filth and vice they will die in front of that
greater scourge, civilisation, leaving behind no traces of themselves,
of their past, of their history, nor of their present--nothing but a
faint recollection, a tradition, that in Yezo and the Kuriles died the
last remains of those curious people, the Hairy Ainu.



The following measurements were taken on five men and five women of the
pure Ainu of Frishikobets (Upper Tokachi River). They were carefully
chosen among the best types.

The names of the men were:--

1. Unacharo: _Una_, ashes; _charo_, sprinkled = "Sprinkled-ashes."

2. Aba pukuro: _Aba_, a relation; _pu_, storehouse; _kuro_, a man =
"Related to the man of the storehouse."

3. Pe chantwe; _Pe_, undrinkable water; _chan_, to run away; _we_, to
tell = "Who ran to tell of the undrinkable water."

4. Kosankeyan: _Ko san_, to go down; _ke_, eating; _yan_, cold.

5. Yei Ainu: _Yei_, dangerous; _Ainu_, Ainu.

The following were the names of the women:--

1. Usattean: _Usat_, cinders; _tean_, long.

2. Korunke: _Korun_, ice; _ke_, to eat = "Ice-eater."

3. Sho kem: _Sho_, so; _kem_, blood = "Covered with blood."

4. Uina mon: _Uina or Una_, ashes; _mon_, tranquil.

5. Reoback: _Re_, three; _oback_, to burst = "Who burst three times."

          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 61  }                  1. 58¾ }
  2. 65  }                  2. 59⅞ }
  3. 60½ } Med. 62-19/40    3. 59½ } Med. 58⅜
  4. 64⅞ }                  4. 54⅝ }
  5. 61  }                  5. 59⅛ }

          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 64⅝ }                  1. 59⅛ }
  2. 65  }                  2. 62½ }
  3. 63½ } Med. 65⅜.        3. 62½ } Med. 61-13/40.
  4. 69½ }                  4. 60  }
  5. 64¼ }                  5. 62½ }

It is interesting to notice the great difference between the height and
this latter measurement, showing the great length of the arms in the
Ainu race.

                  THE HUMERUS.
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 9  }                    1. 8½  }
  2. 9⅝ }                    2. 8¾  }
  3. 8½ } Med. 9-9/40.       3. 10⅜ } Med. 9-19/40.
  4. 9  }                    4. 9¾  }
  5. 10 }                    5. 10  }

                    THE ARM.

                    THE ULNA.
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 9¼  }                  1. 9¼ }
  2. 10¾ }                  2. 9⅛ }
  3. 9⅛  } Med. 9-37/40.    3. 8⅞ } Med. 9¼.
  4. 11  }                  4. 9⅜ }
  5. 9½  }                  5. 9⅝ }

                    THE HAND.
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 7⅜ }                   1. 6⅞ }
  2. 7½ }                   2. 7  }
  3. 7¼ } Med. 7⅖.          3. 6⅞ } Med. 6-9/10.
  4. 7⅞ }                   4. 6¾ }
  5. 7  }                   5. 7  }

  THE SPINE (dorsal and lumbar vertebræ to the sacrum).
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 25½ }                  1. 27  }
  2. 28⅝ }                  2. 26¾ }
  3. 27½ } Med. 27⅘.        3. 28¼ } Med. 27⅝.
  4. 29⅝ }                  4. 27  }
  5. 27¾ }                  5. 29⅛ }

         THE LEG (Femur, Tibia and Foot.)
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 34⅜ }                  1. 32⅞ }
  2. 36¼ }                  2. 35½ }
  3. 32½ } Med. 35-1/20.    3. 34  } Med. 33-13/20.
  4. 37⅞ }                  4. 30½ }
  5. 34¼ }                  5. 35⅜ }

          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 17½ }                  1. 18⅜ }
  2. 18⅜ }                  2. 19⅞ }
  3. 17⅛ } Med. 18⅝.        3. 18½ } Med. 17-33/40.
  4. 20  }                  4. 14  }
  5. 20⅛ }                  5. 18⅜ }

          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 14  }                  1. 14¼ }
  2. 14⅞ }                  2. 13  }
  3. 12⅝ } Med. 13½.        3. 13½ } Med. 13⅘.
  4. 14⅞ }                  4. 14  }
  5. 11⅛ }                  5. 14¼ }
  (The Tibia is very flattened with the Ainu.)

          TARSUS (from ground to Ankle).
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 2¾ }                   1. 2  }
  2. 3  }                   2. 2⅝ }
  3. 3  } Med. 3.           3. 2  } Med. 2⅜.
  4. 3¼ }                   4. 2½ }
  5. 3  }                   5. 2¾ }

         CHEST (from Arm-pit to Arm-pit).
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 13½ }                  1. 12⅝ }
  2. 13⅝ }                  2. 14¼ }
  3. 13½ } Med. 13-19/40.   3. 14¼ } Med.  13-7/20.
  4. 13  }                  4. 12¼ }
  5. 13¾ }                  5. 13⅜ }

                  AROUND CHEST.
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 36½ }                   1. 33⅜ }
  2. 35⅜ }                   2. 34½ }
  3. 37½ } Med. 37-3/40.     3. 35½ } Med. 34⅕.
  4. 37⅝ }                   4. 32⅞ }
  5. 38⅛ }                   5. 34¾ }

                  AROUND WAIST.
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 33  }                   1. 28⅜ }
  2. 37  }                   2. 31½ }
  3. 34  } Med. 34-7/10.     3. 34⅞ } Med. 31-7/20.
  4. 36  }                   4. 31  }
  5. 33½ }                   5. (37⅝ but was conceived.)

          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 19¼ }                   1. 15½ }
  2. 16  }                   2. 13⅝ }
  3. 18  } Med. 17½.         3. 13⅞ } Med. 14⅖.
  4. 18  }                   4. 13⅞ }
  5. 16¼ }                   5. 15⅛ }

                    THE FOOT.
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1.  9¼ }                   1. 8⅝ }
  2.  9⅝ }                   2. 9⅛ }
  3.  9½ } Med. 9-23/40.     3. 9⅛ } Med. 8⅘.
  4. 10¼ }                   4. 8¼ }
  5.  9¼ }                   5. 8⅞ }

                    THE HEAD
      (around the Head, just above the Ears).
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 23½ }                   1. 23⅜ }
  2. 23½ }                   2. 22⅝ }
  3. 24⅜ } Med. 23¾.         3. 23⅝ } Med. 22-29/40.
  4. 22⅜ }                   4. 22  }
  5. 23⅛ }                   5. 23  }

                 LENGTH OF FACE.
              (From Hair to Chin.)
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 7½ }                    1. 7¼ }
  2. 9  }                    2. 6¾ }
  3. 7½ } Med. 7-31/40.      3. 6¾ } Med. 6⅞.
  4. 6⅞ }                    4. 7  }
  5. 8  }                    5. 6⅝ }

         (over Forehead and Cheek Bones).
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 11⅞ }                   1. 11⅛ }
  2. 12½ }                   2. 11  }
  3. 12  } Med. 11-19/20.    3. 11¾ } Med. 11-21/40.
  4. 12  }                   4. 11⅞ }
  5. 12⅛ }                   5. 11⅛ }

              HEIGHT OF FOREHEAD.
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 2¼ }                    1. 2¼ }
  2. 2⅞ }                    2. 1¾ }
  3. 2⅜ } Med. 2-2/5.        3. 2⅛ } Med. 2.
  4. 2  }                    4. 2  }
  5. 2¾ }                    5. 1⅞ }

                WIDTH OF FOREHEAD.
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 5  }                    1. 6  }
  2. 5¼ }                    2. 5½ }
  3. 5½ } Med. 5⅕.           3. 5  } Med. 5⅜.
  4. 5¾ }                    4. 4⅞ }
  5. 6  }                    5. 5½ }

                 LENGTH OF EARS.
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 3  }                    1. 2⅜ }
  2. 3¼ }                    2. 2⅜ }
  3. 2¾ } Med. 2-23/40.      3. 2¾ } Med. 2-23/40.
  4. 2½ }                    4. 2⅞ }
  5. 2⅝ }                    5. 2½ }

               LENGTH OF FINGERS.
          MEN.                    WOMEN.
         inches.                 inches.
  1. 3⅛ }                    1. 3  }
  2. 3⅜ }                    2. 3  }
  3. 3  } Med. 3-9/40.       3. 3  } Med. 2-39/40.
  4. 3⅝ }                    4. 2⅞ }
  5. 3  }                    5. 3  }

     (_a_) Colour of skin (in parts not exposed to air)--light reddish
     slightly tending towards brown, but almost as light as with

     (_b_) Colour of hair--black, dark-brown, reddish-black, red.

     (_c_) Colour of eyes--light-brown tending towards dark-grey.

     (_d_) Character of hair--wavy.

     (_e_) Amount of hair--abundant on face and all over the body in
     males more so than in females.


The skin and eyes are the same colour as with the Yezo Ainu. The hair is
black, dark-red, or dark-brown. Black is the prevalent colour. Children
often have fair hair, which grows darker as they grow older. The hair is
abundant over body and face, and it is wavy.

The face possesses the identical characteristics of the Yezo Ainu.

  Medium height: 61 inches to 62¾ inches.
  Round waist: 32⅞ inches.
  Chest: Empty, 35⅞ inches; inflated, 37½ inches.
  Humerus: 11⅞ inches.
  Ulna: 8-11/16 inches.
  Hand: 6¾ inches.
  Foot: 9½ inches.
  Spinal vertebræ: 24 inches.
  Scapula (from shoulder to shoulder): 17 inches.
  Between shoulder-blades: 5⅞ inches.
  Femur: short.
  Tibia: very long.
  (Natives objected to have their legs measured.)
  The Tibia is much rounder than with the Yezo Ainu.
  Length of face: 7½ inches.
  Width of face from ear to ear: 11⅛ inches.
  Round head above ears: 21⅝ inches.
  Ears: small.
  Forehead: 2⅜ inches high; 5¼ inches wide.

With arms outstretched and from tip to tip of fingers the Shikotan Ainu
measure generally the length of one hand (about 6¾ inches) more than
their own height. Consumption, _kaki_, and syphilis are common
complaints among them.


    [43] The vowels to be pronounced as in Italian.


  A = (a suffix).
  Apa = an open space, a doorway.
  Aikap = impossible, impassable.
  Ambe = that is.
  An = to be.
  Aota = near.
  Apta = rain.
  Apun = gently.
  At = a tree.
  Atsu = barren, naked.


  Bets, or pets, pet = river.
  Be, or pe = pestilential water.
  But, or put = mouth of a river.


  Cha = old.
  Cha cha = very old.
  Chip = fish.
  Chippe = a canoe, a boat.
  Chup = the sun.


  Erimu = a rat.
  Etoko = formerly, in front of.
  Etu = a cape.


  Fu = bare.
  Fun = green.
  Fure = red (also pronounced Hure).
  Frishiko = old.


  Haru = grass.
  Hattara = a deep pool in a watercourse.
  Hure = a bad smell.
  Hure = red.


  I = a suffix for "a place."
  Ibe = to feed.
  Ichan = a canal made by salmon in river-beds to lay their, spawn.
  Ikam = against.
  Iwa = stone, a rock.
  Itapk = word, story.
  Iwashi (Japanese) = sardine.
  Iwao = sulphur.


  Kama = cliffs, rocks, to go over.
  Kamui = great, wonderful, ancient.
  Kap = bark of a tree.
  Kara = to take, to make.
  Kashi = towards.
  Kerimba = a berry.
  Kene = an alder tree.
  Kem = blood.
  Kenashi = a meadow.
  Keshup = head.
  Kesh = towards the west.
  Ki = rushes.
  Kim = mountain.
  Kinna = mat.
  Kinna = reeds.
  Kinna = grass.
  Kiri = to know.
  Kitai = mountain.
  Koi = the waves of the sea.
  Kochi = level.
  Kombo = sea-weed.
  Koro = to possess, to have.
  Kotan = a village, a place.
  Kotcha = in front of.
  Ku = a bow.
  Kuano = straight.
  Kume = black, very dark.
  Kuru, or guru = a person.


  Ma = to swim, deep.
  Mak = behind.
  Makta = away.
  Mata = winter.
  Meak = female.
  Mean = cold.
  Mo = tranquil.
  Mon = small, tranquil.
  Mom = to flow like a river.
  Moire = slow.
  Moi = a bay, a sheltered bend in a river where the water is quiet.
  Moshiri, or mushir = island, country, place, land.
  Moshiri Kes = the east.
  Moshitte-chu-pok = north.
  Moshiri pok = west.
  Moshitte-chu-pka = south.
  Mun = grass.


  Na = again.
  Na = bigger, or smaller (also sign of comparative).
  Nai, or Nae = a rivulet, a small stream.
  Nai yau = a tributary stream.
  Nak = where.
  Nam = cold, as water, as ice.
  Naoak = yet more shallow.
  Ne = together, where, and, also, which, &c.
  Neatka = also, again.
  Nen = who.
  Neto = where.
  Ni = wood, or tree.
  Nikam = leaves of a tree.
  Nibeshi = name of a tree (probably _Tilia_).
  Nikap = bark of a tree.
  Nipek = a fire, a flame.
  Nisei = valley.
  Nisusu = scenery, panorama, view.
  Nitat = swampy ground, a swamp, a lagoon.
  Nitai = a forest.
  Nitt = a thorn.
  Nitek = branches of trees.
  Nituman = trunk of a tree.
  Nobori = mountain.
  No = (meaningless ending of words).
  Noshike = middle.
  Noshihike = half.
  Nupka = a forest.
  Nup = a treeless plain.
  Nup = a deep silent pool in a river.
  Nuburi = mountain.
  Nupuru = turbid (as water).
  Nupuri = a mountain (volcano).
  Nutap = the projecting part of a river bend.


  O = a meaningless prefix, sometimes used as an adjective.
  Oara = one.
  Oboso = to pass through (as water).
  Oak = shallow--not deep.
  Oha = empty.
  Ohoho = deep.
  Okai = at a place.
  Okai = a male.
  Okari = around.
  Oakau = to hide.
  Oakan = a male.
  Omanne = to go.
  Oma = to be inside.
  Onne = large, old, great.
  Opattek = a volcanic eruption.
  Opeka = straight.
  Oro = to be in.
  Oropak = as far as.
  Oshima = to go in.
  Oshimak = behind.
  Ota = sand.
  Otaru = sandy.
  Opke = a spear.
  Ot = in, inside, into.
  Oya = another.
  Oushike = a place.
  Oyapk = away, abroad.
  Oyapk moshiri = away, country (foreign country).


  Pa = smoke.
  Pa = east-end of villages.
  Pai = bushes.
  Pakne = as far as.
  Panke = lower.
  Paru = the mouth.
  Pase = heavy.
  Patek = only.
  Pe = pestilential water, bad water, not good to drink.
  Pei = something.
  Pene = inland.
  Pet, pets, bets = river.
  Pet bena = source of a river.
  Pet samo = bank of a river.
  Petsamata = by the side of a river.
  Pet put = the mouth of a river.
  Pet-urara = a stream.
  Pet yao = an affluent.
  Pet-ka-shu = to wade a river.
  Penke = upper.
  Pinni = ash-tree.
  Pinne = male.
  Piuta = sand (coarse).
  Pipa = a spring of fresh water.
  Pira = a bank, a cliff.
  Piri = a wound.
  Pirika = pretty, good, well, all-right.
  Pishita = sea-beach.
  Pita = to untie, to undo.
  Pitara = a dry place in a river-bed.
  Po = a small thing.
  Pon = small.
  Poi-shuma = pebbles, stones.
  Poka = only.
  Popke = hot, steaming (also Topke).
  Poro = large.
  Pui = a hole.
  Puri = natural, very, usual.
  Put, Putu (corrupted into Buto by the Japanese) = the mouth of a river.


  Rai = death.
  Rakka = seal.
  Rahuru = a fog.
  Ram = low.
  Ran = to descend (a mountain).
  Rangu = a kind of tree.
  Rarumani = a kind of tree (_Taxus cuspidata_).
  Re = three.
  Repun = to go, in the sea, surrounded by water.
  Repun moshiri = an island.
  Rera = wind.
  Retara = white.
  Ri = high.
  Rikkin = to ascend.
  Riri = a wave.
  Riri-shiye-tuye = ebb tide.
  Riri-ya = flow tide.
  Roru = at the head.
  Ru = a road, a track, a pathway
  Rui = to burn.
  Rukoppe = where roads cross.
  Rui = great, big.
  Rubeshipe = a ravine.
  Rupne = large.


  Sapk = summer.
  Sak = without.
  Sama = by the side of.
  San = to descend.
  Sara, Saru = a grassy plain.
  Sat = dry.
  Sattek = shallow water.
  Sesek = hot.
  Seta = dog.
  Shep = broad.
  Shi = high.
  Shibe = autumn salmon.
  Shiki = a kind of tall grass.
  Shiko = a view, a sight.
  Shimon = on the right-hand side.
  Shimoye = to shake, to move.
  Shenai = a large river.
  Shirari = a cliff, mass of loose texture.
  Shirau = a horse-fly.
  Shiretu = a cape.
  Shiri = land.
  Shiruturu = a small island in a river.
  Sho = so.
  Shoi = a hole.
  Shum = foam.
  Shuma = a stone.
  So = a waterfall.
  Shupun = a kind of fish.
  Shusu = a willow tree.


  Ta = to, towards, to take, to cut.
  Taanni = on this side.
  Taksep = a rock.
  Tapne = short.
  Tanne = long.
  Tap kop = an isolated hill.
  Tat = Birch-tree (_Betula_).
  To, or ko = a lake, a swamp.
  Toambe = that.
  Toi = earth.
  Tokap = day, light.
  Tomari = a harbour, a sheltered place.
  Top = scrub bamboo.
  Tope = _Acer_--a kind of tree.
  Tukara, also Tokari = sea-otter.
  Tunni = _Quercus dentata_.
  Tureshi = to ascend.
  Turep = a plant, the roots of which are eaten by the Ainu.


  U = a suffix to indicate a place.
  Uhui, also Ouye = a fire.
  Uhui nobori = a volcano.
  Un = a particle denoting that something is to be found at a place.
  Upas = snow.
  Ush = a bay.
  Ush = a gulf.
  Ush = a locative particle.
  Uta = a master.
  Utka = the rapids of a river.


  Wa = from.
  Wakka = water.
  Wen = bad.


  Ya = land.
  Yai = danger.
  Yaikap = awkward.
  Yam = cold, a chestnut.
  Yuk = a deer.
  Yutta = greatest.



  Abashiri, 81, 92, 137-139, 161, 184.

  Abashiri Lagoon, 138, 139.

  Abnormalities, 267.

  Abortion, 296.

  Abstinence from food and drink, 238, 239.

  Abus, 48.

  Adultery, 295.

  Adzes (stone), 78, 79.

  Affection, 272.

  Affirmation, 234.

  Age of the Ainu, 271.

  Agriculture, 62.

  Ahunkanitte, 210.

  Aikap, Cape, 177.

  Ainu bits, 110.
    capacity for drink, 23.
    conclusion, an, 27.
    diet, 24.
    dirt, 27.
    gentleness, 17.
    good-nature, 27.
    implements, 86.
    legends, 28, 29.
    names on Nippon, 94.
    names, 298.
    Paganini, 258.
    pronunciation, 112.
    village, 74.
    way of approaching huts, 171.

  Airup, Cape, 176.

  Akangawa, 75.

  Akkeshi, 80, 102-104, 106, 139.

  Akkeshi bay, 104, 105.
    lagoon, 103.

  Albinism, 268.

  Aleutian Islands, 94.

  Aleuts, 91.

  Alexandrovitch, 127.

  Amida, 204.

  Ancestral attachment, 216.

  Anchors, 39.

  Anchorages, 112, 129, 142, 167, 168, 174, 194, 203.

  Angotsuro, 7.

  Apa-otki (door-mat), 211.

  Aputa, 5, 10.

  Archæology, 77.

  Architecture, 207.

  Arms, 243.

  Arrows, 216.

  Arrow-heads (flint), 78, 79.

  Art, 218-220, 227, 228.

  Artist, 69.

  Arundinaria, 5, 23.

  Asiatic Society of Japan, 89, 290.

  Assap River, 203.

  Attacked by the Ainu, 13-15.

  Attitudes, 241.

  At-pets, River, 35.

  Atzis-robe, 213, 246, 247, 252.

  Atzosa Volcano, 130.

  Atzta, 176, 177.

  Australia, 102.

  Australian blacks, 159, 228.

  Authority of chiefs, 267.

  Awomori, 93.


  Backbone of Yezo, 63, 122.

  Bakkai, 168.

  Baldness, 104, 232, 269.

  Bamboo arrow-points, 79.

  Barabuta, 202, 203.

  Baratte, 188.

  Barter, 216, 249.

  Basha, 3, 12, 195, 198, 202.

  Batchelor, Rev. I., 59, 83, 87, 88.

  Bathing, 76.

  Battles, 81, 86, 93.

  Beaches, 73.

  Bears, 44, 51, 56, 61, 65, 66, 85, 101, 131, 142, 147, 159, 214.

  Bear (descent from the), 281.
    hunting, 272.
    (ill-usage of), 282.
    skins, 245.
    skull trophy, 286.

  Beliefs compared, 288.

  Bending of watercourses, 165.

  Benke, Cape, 194, 195.

  Benry, 23, 26, 27, 30-34, 260, 283, 286.

  Benten Island, 204.

  Bentenjima (Nemuro), 80, 115.

  Bento, 3, 4.

  Beppo, 65.

  Betoya, 129.

  Bettobu, 82, 130.
    Bay, 129, 130.

  Birvase, 112.

  Bitskai, 133.

  Bone arrow-point, 81, 82.
    carvings, 222.
    setting, 176.

  Bonzes, 197, 198, 283.

  Bowls, 209, 225.

  Bows and arrows, 223, 225.

  Buddhists, 283.

  Buddhist shrine, 283.

  Burial, 225, 227, 284.


  Cancer, 174.

  Cannibalism, 59.

  Canoes, 37-39, 90, 177.

  Carrying children, 238.
    weights and burdens, 238.

  Castes, 266.

  Castle, 204.

  Caucasian races, 236, 238.

  Chanting, 113, 258.

  Charcoal in pits, 81.

  Charms, 288.

  Chevrons, 221.

  Child-bearing, 296.

  Children of Kurile Islands, 129.

  Chimney, 23.

  Chiefs at a festival, 30, 31.

  Chief's crown, 250.
    tomb, 226.

  Chieftainship, 266.

  Chietomamai, 163.

  China, 26.

  Chinese, 276.
    idea, 77.
    sea, 163.

  Chisei-kara-inao, 286.

  Cholera, 184.

  Choruses, 256, 264.

  Christians, 12, 127, 128, 156, 289.

  Christian minister, 198.
    virtues, 269.

  Chukbets, 173.

  Chuppets, River, 183.

  Chuskin Island, 162.

  Cisango, 203.

  Civilisation, 58, 59, 65, 216, 217, 288, 297.

  Clothes, 2, 3, 60, 190, 245, 250.
    and boots, 2, 3, 95, 96, 202, 246, 247.

  Coal, 75, 174, 205.
    field, 75.
    mines, 183, 185.
    trains, 186.
    trucks, 76.

  Coins, 151.

  Colonial militia, 188, 189.

  Colonisation scheme, 185.

  Colonists, 74, 115, 116.

  Comparisons, 229.

  Compass, 53.

  Concert, 263, 264.

  Conservatism, 216.

  Consul, 206.

  Consumption, 128, 174, 179, 296, 304.

  Convicts (Japanese), 102, 184-186.

  Copper, 122.

  Coptic Church, 127, 128.

  Corea, 26, 174.

  Creator, 281, 285.

  Criminals, 269.

  Crosses, 268, 269.

  Crows, 35, 46.
    attacking a pony, 146.
    (familiarity of), 149.
    (multitude of), 5.

  Cruelty to children, 292.

  Currents, 48, 139, 143, 161, 163, 165, 169.

  Cutaneous diseases, 42.


  Daikuku Island, 11.

  Daikuku and Kodaikuku Islands, 105.

  Daimio, 204.

  Dancing, 264, 265.

  Darwin's theory of evolution, 280.

  Deer-skin coat, 245.

  Degeneration of the race, 297.

  Deluge, the, 29.

  Descriptive characters of Yezo Ainu (Appendix), 298, 303.
    of Shikotan Ainu (Appendix), 303, 304.

  Designs, 221, 227.

  Dew, 53.

  Dirt, 88, 128.

  Divinities, 282.

  Divorce, 295.

  Dogs (wild), 154, 159.

  Drainage area of Ishikari River, 181, 182.

  Dress of Kurilsky Ainu, 126, 127.

  Drift-ice, 161.
    logs, 48, 169.
    sand, 139, 142, 170.

  Drinking vessels, 215, 223.

  Drunkenness, 17, 32, 291.

  Dug-outs, 5, 63, 64, 92, 170, 183.

  Dwarfs, 251.

  Dying out of the race, 296.


  Eagles, 142, 152, 153, 214.

  Ear-rings, 6, 249.

  Ears, 230, 303, 304.

  Eclipses, 234.

  Education, 266.

  Egyptian cross, 227.

  Election of chief, 10, 266.

  Elephantiasis, 143.

  Embroideries, 180, 246, 247.

  Emperor's palace, 183.

  Enamelling, 222.

  Endogamy, 295.

  Entogroul, 164.

  Eramachi, 204.

  Erimo Cape, 19, 42-44, 73, 80.

  Esan Volcano, 4, 198, 200, 201.

  Esashi, 162, 202, 203.

  Esquimaux, 84, 85, 91.

  Ethnologists, 263.

  Etiquette, 31, 211, 212.

  Etorofu, 80, 82, 88, 91, 123, 129, 131, 132.

  European comforts, 158.
    dinner, 69, 119.

  Eyelashes, 231, 279.


  Face, 229, 230, 232, 302, 304.
    (width of), 302, 304.

  Factories, 187, 192.

  Falsetto voice, 257.

  Family rows, 293.

  Farming region, 187.

  Fasting, 53.

  Ferry, 178, 181.

  Ferry-boat, 103.

  Finger-rings, 249.

  Fingers, 303.

  Fish diet, 42.
    manure, 41.

  Fishermen, 39, 103, 142, 163, 174, 192, 193, 199.

  Fishermen's huts, 20.

  Fishing, 53, 64, 130, 224.
    nets, 60.
    villages, 203.

  Fire, 193, 209.

  Fleas, etc., 26, 212.

  Flies--black flies and horseflies, 45, 66, 212.

  Flint implements, 78, 79.
    knives, 78, 79.

  Flirting (curious way of), 141.

  Folk-lores, 259.

  Footprints, 159, 160, 161.
    of Ainu, 160, 161.
    of Japanese, 160, 161.
    of bears, 47.

  Forest, 101, 135, 161.

  Forts, 77, 81, 82, 141.

  Foxes, 102, 126, 131, 142, 214.

  Frishikobets village, 58, 61, 65, 252.

  Fujiama, 161, 167.

  Fukushima, 205.

  Funa, 3.

  Funerals, 227.

  Furembets river, 171.

  Furimbé, 199.

  Furniture, 208.

  Furubets, 130.

  Future legend, 155, 156.

  Fylfot, 227.


  Geology, 21.

  Geometrical patterns, 221.

  Geyser, 100.

  Girdles, 250.

  Girls (Ainu), 157.
    (Japanese) shown in cages, 117.

  Glossary of Ainu words, 304-311.

  God, 281, 282.

  Gokibira, 177.

  Graphic signs, 218.

  Grass, 21, 52, 62.

  Graves, 221, 223, 225-227.

  Graveyard, 128, 180, 225, 227.

  Guechas, or singers, 116, 117.

  Gun-practice, 199.


  Habits and customs of pit-dwellers, 91.

  Hakodate, 11, 78, 90, 93, 104, 112, 199, 201.

  Hakodate Bay, 1, 2, 205.
    Bund, 1.
    Head, 1.
    Isthmus, 2.
    Peak, 1, 2, 201.

  Hair, 231, 250, 251.

  Hairiness, 85, 88, 142, 145.

  Half-breeds, 34, 39, 47, 268, 270.
    castes, 7, 93, 109, 111, 196, 229, 269, 275, 282.
    (photographs of Japanese half-castes), 263.
    frontal bone, 270.
    skull, 270.
    animal propensities, 270.
    bumps, 270.
    age, 270.
    rheumatism, leprosy and kaki, 270.

  Hamboro, 173.

  Hammanaka, 112, 113.

  Hanasaki, 114.

  Hand-clapping, 264.

  Hando, 193.

  Haraguchi, 203.

  Harbours (want of), 74.
    and anchorages, 75, 104, 115, 116, 124, 125, 165, 202, 204.

  Harpoons, 224.

  Harutori Lagoon, 75-77, 82.

  Hattaushi, 113.

  Head, 229, 302, 304.
    (muscular power), 241.

  Heaven and hell, 290.

  Henson (Mr.), 2, 202.

  Hera, or netting-mesh, 223.

  Herrings, 104, 115, 134, 166, 173, 203.

  High-days, 289.

  High-land, 73, 104, 111.

  History, 218.

  Hokkaido, 11, 122, 123.

  Hokkaido-cho, 187.

  Hondemura, 102.

  Horanaho or Rausu Volcano, 131.

  Horse-breeding, 115.

  Horse-farm, 35.

  Horsemen (Ainu), 108.

  Horse-racing, 237.

  Horobets, 12, 234, 272.
    Ainu, 17.

  Horohuts, 20.

  Horoizumi, 41, 43, 44, 52.

  Hoshi or leggings, 247.

  Hospitality, 291.

  Hostilities, 147.

  Hunger, 45, 52, 199.

  Hungry dogs, 7.

  Hunting, 126.

  Hurupira, Mount, 193.

  Hut building, 207.
    burning, 123, 212, 213.

  Huts, 5, 8, 24, 35, 56, 58, 76, 81, 84, 85, 86, 89, 90, 96, 99, 104,
    111, 125, 128, 157, 158, 170, 171, 180, 207, 210-212.

  Hypnotism, 191.


  Ice, 85.

  Ichibishinai (Etorofu), 122.

  Idyll, 139, 140.

  Idzumizawa, 205.

  Igiani, 135.

  Ikahasonets Cape, 130.

  Ikuru, 173.

  Ikusum River, 185.

  Imi (garments), 25.

  Imotsuto, 129.

  Imprisonment, 292.

  Improvisators, 259.

  Inao, 31, 214, 224, 286-288.
    in shape of a doll, 287.
    making, 240.
    netuba, 286.

  Infanticides, 291.

  Inflammation of the eyes, 279.

  Inomata Yoshitaro, 68-72.

  Insanity and idiocy, 266.
    in half-castes, 270.

  Instincts, 158, 159, 216, 282.

  Intermarriage, 60, 196, 267.
    with Japanese, 5.

  Iris, 231, 279.

  Iron, 122.

  Irrigation, 63.

  Ishikari, 84, 176.
    river, 169, 178, 179, 181-183, 191, 275.
      (course of), 182.
      Ainu, 179, 183, 184, 219,     226, 250.
    village, 180.

  Ishikishiri penitentiary, 185.

  Ishisaki, 203.

  Isoya, 193, 198.
    (Motto Isoya, Shimakotan, Isoya), 193.

  Italy, 287.

  Iwanai, 193.

  Iwaonobori, 193, 200.

  Iwa Rocks, 47, 49.

  Iyomanrei, 30.


  Jacko (chief of Shikotan Ainu), 127.

  Japan, 26.
    Daily Mail, 189.

  Japanese customs, 5.

  Japanese adoption of Ainu language and ways, 112, 113.
    clothes, 245, 246.
    Empire, 122, 123.
    government, 96, 103, 114, 123, 179, 187, 188.
    hero, 283, 284.
    parliament, 190.
    politeness, 36, 69.
    settlers, 2.
    songs, 257.
    villages, 50.
    woman's toilette, 117, 118.

  Jealousy, 234, 235, 294.

  Jew's harp, 258.

  Jockeys, 33.

  Jungle, 51-53, 66.


  Kaki, 174, 202, 241, 304.

  Kakumi, 198, 199.

  Kamida Maru (wreck of), 179.

  Kamikawa, 183, 184.
    (population of), 184.

  Kamiiro, 205.

  Kaminokumi, 203.

  Kammakappe, 209.

  Kamschatka, 91, 122, 123, 153, 297.

  Kamui or Kamoi, 285, 286, 290.

  Kamuieto Cape, 174.

  Kamuikotan, 286.
    rapids, 183.

  Kamui Mount, 193.

  _Kando_ and _Teine-pokna-moshiri_, 290.

  Karibayama, 193.

  Kawamura, 192, 193.

  Kawata Tera, 253.

  Kenashpa, 65.

  Kikonai, 205.

  Kimonos, 2.

  Kinna (mats), 209, 225.

  Kinney, 61.

  Kiritap, 106, 112.

  Kitchen-middens, 92.

  Knife-blades, 216.

  Knives, 13, 219, 220, 223-225, 272.

  Kofikan, 187.

  Komagatake Volcano, 3, 4, 197, 200.

  Komuki lagoon, 142.

  Ko-numa, 3.

  Koshima, 204.

  Kotan-kara-kamui, 285.

  Kudo, 203.

  Kumaishi, 203.

  Kunashiri, 80, 88, 91, 123, 131, 132.

  Kunnui, 197.

  Kurile Islands, 78, 80, 87-89, 92, 121, 122, 131, 132, 190, 201,
    231, 282, 297.

  Kurile Islands (trade of), 115.

  Kurilsky Ainu, 87-90, 94, 123-128, 180, 213, 251, 268.

  Kuromatsunai, 195.

  Kuro-shiwo, or Japan current, 48, 165, 169.

  Kushiro, 74-77, 81, 82, 91, 95-97, 104, 190.

  Kutambets, 178.

  Kutcharo lake, 84, 85, 98-101, 137, 207, 286.
    river, 74, 75, 80, 82, 95, 96, 101, 207.


  Lagoons, 139, 142, 163, 170.

  Language, 59, 283, 291.

  La Perouse Strait, 131, 161, 164, 169.

  Laws, 273, 291.

  Laws of marriage, 293.

  Legends, 28, 29, 260.

    : Abe-ten-rui, 261.
    : Inu-sapk, 261.
    : Kimta-na, 261.
    : Tushi-une-pan, 260.

  Leprosy, 42, 54.

  Letters, 201, 202.

  Libations, 289.

  Life-boat, 168.

  Lighting, 135.

  Lines, 227.

  Lopatka Cape, 123.

  Lunatics, 61, 146-149.


  Machinery, 187, 216.

  Madwoman, 54, 55.

  Makkarinupuri (Volcano), 200.

  Malaise, 46.

  Malarial fever, 174.

  Manners, 242.

  Map-drawing, 218.

  Marks (owner's), 218.

  Masatomari, 195.

  Mashe (fish), 173.

  Mashike, 174.
    Mount, 174-176.

  Maternal love, 155.

  Mat-making, 211.

  Matrons, 265.

  Matsumai, 203-205.

  Meals, 170, 171.

  Measurements of Yezo Ainu body (Appendix), 298-302.

  Measurements of Shikotan Ainu (Appendix), 303, 304.

  Measurements of Ainu with arms outstretched, 299, 304.

  Memuro-puto, 61.

  Menoko (girls), 32.

  Metallurgy, 216.

  Metempsychosis, 284.

  Mice and rats, 213.

  Migratory people, 91.
    population, 173, 174.

  Milne (Prof.), 89.

  Missionaries, 28, 29, 59, 155, 156, 285, 290.

  Mitsuashi River, 39.

  Mocassins, 60, 127.
    and boots, 247.

  Model farm, 187, 188.

  Mohechi, 205.

  Moi, 176.

  Mombets, 5, 11.

  Momonai, 192.

  Mongolian, 129, 230.
    type, 179.

  Monuments, 226.

  Morality, 269, 290, 295.

  Mori, 4, 196, 197, 200.

  Moroi, 178.

  Mororran, 5, 19, 196.
    (Shin-, and Kiu-), 11.

  Mortality, 123, 128, 296, 297.

  Mourning, 227.

  Moustache lifter, 23, 208, 220, 221, 289.

  Moustache tattooed, 252, 254.

  Movements and attitudes, 239.

  Moyoro or Biru, 47.

  Moyorotake or Bear Bay, 129.

  Mukawa, 20, 21.

  Musemes, 1.

  Music, 255.
    of Ainu, 255.
    of Westerns, 255.
    as a cure of illness, 261.
    Chromatic intervals, 258, 259.
    diabolical, 262.
    Diatonic minor scale, 258.
    education in, 257.
    to facilitate manual labour, 262.
    feeling in, 255.
    fondness for, 257.
    imitation of noises in, 257.
    key note, 259.
    loud, 263.
    melody, 259.
    metre, 261.
    modulations, 255.
    modulations in tunes, 258, 259.
    passion in, 255.
    personality in, 260.
    rhythmical effects in, 255, 258.
    rhythmical method, 259.
    sad, 264.
    suggestions of animal sounds in, 261.
    teaching of, 260.

    temperamental characteristics in, 263.
    transformation of a theme, 260.
    vocal, 256.

  Musical instruments, 257, 258.
    memory, 257.
    notation, 255.
    strings, 257.

  Myopy, 279.


  Nagayama, Governor of the Hokkaido, 192.

  Naibo, 130.

  Naye, 185.

  Nayosami Hill, 183.

  Necklaces and earrings, 60, 249.

  Nemuro, 114-116, 118, 119, 121, 133, 161.

  Neptka, 204.

  Nigori River, 197.

  Nii-pak-pets, River, 35.

  Nippon, 92, 93, 104.

  Nishibets, 133.

  Nitumap, 61.

  Nobori-bets village, 18.
    Volcano, 18, 19.

  Noshafo Cape, 73, 114, 115, 161.

  Nossyap Cape, 167, 168.
    Peninsula, 167, 168.

  Notoro Cape, 130.
    Lake, 139.

  Notski Peninsula, 133.

  Nusa, 214, 286.


  Oak, 21.

  Oakan and Moyokan, 98, 135.

  Oakan River, 99.

  Obishiro, 58.

  Obune, 198, 199.

  Odour, 276.

  Odour of Europeans, 276.
    of women, 276, 277.

  Oitoi, 130.

  Okashi-nae Mountain, 177.

  Okos, 43.

  Okushiri Island, 203.

  Omangus, 146-150.

  Onekotan, 123.

  Onembets, 129.

  Onishika, 173, 174.

  Onnetto Lagoon, 116.
    River, 116, 133.

  Ono-numa, 3.

  Opoto Lake, 137.

  Oputateishike Mountain-mass, 63.

  Oputs, 48.

  Orang-outang, 146.

  Ornamentations, 218-220.

  Osaru River, 11.

  Oshamambe, 193, 196, 197.

  Oshima Island, 203, 204.
    province, 4.

  Oshoro, 192.

  Osman Pasha, 164.

  Ota Cape, 203.

  Otaru, 20, 191.

  Otaussi-nai Village, 185.

  Otatsube, 199.

  Otchishi, 113, 114.

  Otkoshk sea, 123, 131, 133, 135, 143.

  Otopke Mount, 63, 64.

  Otoshibe River, 197.

  Otoyebukets, 183.

  Otsu, 48, 50, 51, 68, 73.

  Otsugawa River, 50.

  Ottoinnai, 61.

  Owls, 102.

  Oyama Iwao (Count), Minister of State for War, 189.

  Oysters, 104, 113, 139.


  Pack-saddles, 17, 18, 237.

  Paddle (Hera), 208.

  Para-puta, 195.

  Paro-mushir, 123, 126.

  Pasture-land, 107.

  Pehambe-ushi River, 103.

  Pekoatnit, 210.

  Pensatsunai, 58.

  Perohune, 48.

  Pestilence, 61.

  Physiognomy, 230.

  Physiological observations, 274.

  Pico Strait, 131.

  Piegawa River, 183.

  Pipes, etc., 223.

  Piratori, 22, 30, 248, 253, 260, 261, 264, 275, 283, 284.
    Valley, 33.

  Pit-dwellers (Koro-pok-kuru), 77-80, 83-87, 90, 92, 104, 114, 125,
    130, 251.

  Pit-dwellers' implements, 190.

  Pits, 77-84, 88-94, 114, 130, 141.

  Plateau, 63.
    like peninsula, 114.

  Poisoned arrows, 223, 224.

  Polygamy, 294.

  Polytheists, 281, 285, 290.

  Pombets, 65.

  Ponies, 3, 21, 65, 66, 138.

  Pon-machi (small wife), 28, 294.

  Pontoo, 122, 131.

  Pooley, Mr., 206.

  Population, 294.

  Porobets River, 162.

  Poronai, 157, 161, 183-186.
    coal-mines, 191.

  Poro-machi (great wife), 28, 294.

  Poro-nam-bets River, 41.

  Poro-usa, 209.

  Posturing, 264.

  Pottery, 80, 86, 215.

  Poverty of the Ainu, 5.
    of blood, 296.

  Prayers, 289.

  Prehistoric man, 242.

  Progeny of mixed marriages, 268.

  Provisions, 3, 211.

  Publications on the Ainu, 229.

  Pulse-beat, 275.

  Pumice, 5, 21, 73.

  Punishments, 291.

  Purokenashpa, 65.


  Quarrels, 292.

  Quicksands, 139, 169, 170.

  Quicksand River, 157.

  Quiver, 224, 225.


  Rags, 247.

  Rahush Mount (Kunashiri), 122.

  Rain, 3, 135, 193, 197, 200.

  Raishats, 179, 226.

  Rattler (H.M.S.), 165.

  Recitative, 256.

  Reeds and rushes, 51, 57, 62, 66, 67, 90.

  Reefs, 123, 194.

  Relations, 296.

  Religion, 283.

  Religious ideas, 281.
    race, 198.

  Repun, 10.

  Repunshiri, 167, 168.

  Resurrection of the body, 284, 290.

  Reversed coil, 222.

  Rheumatism, 128, 174, 241.

  Rhyme, 261.

  Riding, 17, 237.
    bareback, 243.

  Riruran, 107, 108, 111.

  Rishiri Island, 167, 168.

    peculiarity in, 135.
    troublesome, 151.

  Roasting hook, 211.

  Robinson Crusoe, 133.

  Rocks, 41, 111, 163.

  Roofs, 207.

  Rubeshibe River, 183.

  Rubets, 83, 130, 135.

  Rumoi, 174.

  Russia, 88, 122.
    exchange with, 179.

  Russian Bible, 127.
    convicts, 142, 143, 165.
    cruiser, Crisorok, 168.
    régime, 127.


  Sacrilege, 200.

  Sadness, 232, 297.

  Saint Andrew's Cross, 227.

  Sake, 17, 23, 24, 31.

  Sakhalin or Krafto, 88, 92, 93, 122, 142, 161, 165, 297.

  Sakhalin Ainu, 179.

  Salaams, 7, 23.

  Salutation, Ainu, 6, 128, 256.

  Salmon, 130, 131, 133, 134, 173.

  Salmon, dried, 211.

  Salmon-fishing, 63, 64, 182.

  Salmon-trout, 130.

  Sandals, 248.

  Sappro, 20, 91, 186, 187-191.

  Sardine fishing, 19, 20, 41, 47, 48.

  Saru-buto, 20.

  Saru district, climate of, 84.

  Sarubuts, 163.

  Saruffo-Ko Lagoon, 111, 114.

  Saruma Lagoon, 81, 139, 142, 162.

  Saru-Mombets, 20, 21, 34, 35.

  Saru River, 22, 58, 207, 286.
    Ainu, 260.

  Saruru, 44, 46, 47, 157.

  Satsuma, 92.

  Satsumai and Ghifzan, 63.

  Satsuma Maru, 1, 206.

  Savage dance, 32.

  Savage Landor, 158.

  Savages, 159.

  Sawaki, 161.

  Scenery, 41, 46, 100, 111, 114, 129, 135, 162, 176, 192, 193.

  Scitzo, 193-195.

  Sea-birds, 48, 105, 138, 151, 152.

  Se-Cherippe Lagoon, 104.

  Seal-fishery, 104.

  Seals, 126, 131, 139, 161.

  Sea-trout, 170.

  Sea-weed, 41, 47, 104, 113, 115.

  Sensation, 14.

    of hearing, 278-280.
    of sight, 278, 279.
    of smell, 276.
    of taste, 278.
    of touch, 277.

  Sensitiveness, 277.
    of lips, tongue, hands, fingers, lumbar region, etc., 278.

  Sexual love, 296.

  Shakotan, 176.
    Cape, 191.
    Peninsula, 192, 193.

  Shama-ne, 39-41.

  Shame and disgust, 233.

  Shamesen, 258.

  Shana, 131.

  Shanoi, 162.

  Shari, 80, 92, 135-137, 240.

  Shari-Mombets, 142, 143.

  Shaubets, 70, 73, 74.

  Shell-heaps, 81, 92, 104.

  Shibe-gari-pets, 35, 37.

  Shibetcha, 96, 97, 99, 101-104.

  Shibets, 134, 135.

  Shibumotzunai Lagoon, 142.

  Shikarubets Otchirsh, 61-64.

  Shikotan, 123-129, 207, 231.
    Ainu, 87, 88.
    Island, 88, 89.

  Shimokebo, 35-37.

  Shimushir, 88-90, 123, 126.

  Shina, 60.

  Shiofuki, 203.

  Shirakami Cape, 205.

  Shiranuka, 74, 75.

  Shiraoi, 19.

  Shiretoko Cape, 122, 135.
    Peninsula, 135, 138.

  Shiribeshi Province, 4.

  Shiribets, 193.

  Shirikishinai, 201.

  Shirin Lake, 96.

  Shiriuchi, 205.

  Shoals and reefs, 104.

  Shooting rapids, 183-185.

  Shorui-washi, 64.

  Shoulders, 301, 304.

  Shoya, 44-47.

  Shrine, 199, 200.

  Siberian coast, 153.

  Siliusi lighthouse, 163.

  Skin, 276.
    colour of, 230.
    eruptions, 6, 296.

  Skull trophy, 214.

  Sleep, 275.

  Sleeping, 244.

  Slyness, 234, 235.

  Smoke, 211.
    black, 252.

  Snow, 84, 85, 115, 197.
    and glaciers, 165.
    sandals, 60.

  Singing, 256.

  Sitting, 243.

  Soldiers, 102, 103.

  Songs, 255, 256.

  Sorachi river, 183, 185.

  Soshi, 75.

  Soul, 284.

  Soya Cape, 42, 80, 81, 92, 163, 165, 167.

  Spain, 287.

  Spears, 224.

  Speculation, 90, 91.

  Spezia, Gulf of, 41.

  Spiders, 45.

  Spoons, 215.

  Spruces, 104.

  Stackhouse, 215.

  Statistics, 212.

  Stealing, 53, 57, 181, 272.

  Steeplechase, 66.

  Stone (peculiar), 168.
    images, 204.

  Storehouses, 23, 26, 137, 138, 161, 173, 180, 213, 247.

  Storeys, 208.

  Storm, 135, 136, 197.

  Strength, 238.

  Struggle, 40.

  Submerged crater, 125.

  Submission, 16, 273.

  Suicides, 291.

  Sulkiness, 234.

  Sulphur, 97, 104, 122, 130, 131, 138, 190, 200.

  Sulphur beds, 97, 98.
    mine, 97.

  Supernaturalism, 284.

  Superstition, 17, 289.

  Swamps, 65.

  Swearing, 289.

  Swift rivers, 41.

  Sword-hilts (Japanese), 250.

  Sydney Smith's position, 111.

  Symbols, 219.

  Sympathy, 52, 191.


  Taikki (fleas), 56.

  Tailor's sign-post, 191.

  Takae village, 35.

  Takigawa, 185.

  Takkobe Lake, 96.

  Tapkara (a savage dance), 32.

  Tarbouches, 164.

  Tartary, Gulf of, 153.

  Tarsus, 300.

  Tarumai Volcano, 201.

  Tattoos, 6, 137, 142, 179, 227, 232, 251-253, 293.
    (colour of), 254.
    (legend on), 251, 252.

  Tattooing (process of), 252.

  Tattooed women, 99.

  Tcharo-bets, 75.

  Tcha-tcha-nobori Volcano, 131.

  Tchiota, 56.

  Tears, 233.

  Teeth of half-castes, 269.

  Temper, 65, 233, 294.

  Tendo Achillis, 241.

  Tent, 3.

  Terra del Fuegians, 228.

  Terror, 154.

  Teshio coast, 176.
    River, 168-170, 174.

  Tetcha or Tetchkanga, 100, 101.

  Teuri, 171.

  Thatching, 208.

  Theft, 291.

  Thiaske Tarra, 238.

  Thousand Islands, or Chishima, 123.

  Thread-winding, 240.

  Tibia, 88, 300, 304.

  Tide-rips, 131.

  Tobuts, 80, 139, 141, 253.

  Tobuts Lake, 48, 137.

  Todohotke, 200.

  Toi, 201.

  Tokachi, 84.
    Ainu, 99, 248-250, 253.
    district, 274.
    region, 114.
    River, 50, 58, 59, 61-66, 73, 169, 207, 214, 271.

  Tokio, 115.

  Tokri-moi, 11.

  Tokumatz Kuroda, 192.

  Tomamai, 173, 174.

  Tomakomai, 19, 20, 269.

  Tombets River, 163.

  Tombs, 181.

  Tonden, or military settlement 102, 103, 114, 183, 188.

  Tones, 222.

  Toreador, in Carmen, 263.

  Torii (emblems), 204.

  Tori Lake, 96.

  Totemism, 281, 282.

  To'tori, 75.

  Toshibets River, 65.

  Toya Lake, 10, 11, 200.

  Toyohira River, 183.

  Toyoshira Valley, 187.

  Trackers (Ainu), 109.

  Tracking, 159-161.

  Tradition, 218.

  Transmission of diseases, 266.
    of images to the brain, 279.

  Travellers (foreign), 263.

  Tree-dwellers of India, 228.

  Trees, 129, 130, 135, 137, 161, 162, 166, 198.

  Triangles, 221.

  Tribes, 88, 267.

  Trovatore, 257.

  Tukoro, 139.

  Tunnel, 39, 41, 174.

  Tunnui-puto, 65.

  Turkish ship (wreck of), 163.

  Tsiriju Mount, 130.

  Tsugaru Strait, 93, 193.

  Types, 229.

  Typhoon, 164, 174.


  Ubahu, 37, 39.

  Uhui Cape, 174.

  Ukorra, 10.

  Ulmus Campestris, 26, 245, 246.
    Campestris bark, 210.
    Campestris fibre, 267.

  Ulna, 299, 303.

  Uparpenai, 61.

  Urahoro River, 73.

  Urakawa, 39, 40.

  Urapets River, 39.

  Uriugawa River, 183.

  Urup, 88, 123, 126, 131.

  Usa, 209.

  Ushoro, 193.

  Uso, 5.

  Uso Volcano, 11, 200.

  Utarop Rocks, 43.

  Usushiri, 198.


  Vegetation, 131.

  Villages, Ainu, 5, 22.

  Vines, 60.

  Virginity, 250.

  Virility, 253.

  Volcanic nature, 5.
    formation, 37, 122, 129, 162, 167, 168, 192, 205.
    mass, 4.
    zone, 130.

  Volcano, 130.

  Volcano Bay, 5, 58, 193, 195, 197, 286.
      Ainu, 6, 248, 274.

  Volcanoes, 131.


  Wadamanai, 168, 169.

  Wakkanai, 167, 168.

  War-clubs, 10, 223.

  Washibets, 14.

  Washing, 28.

  Watanabe Masaru, 58, 64, 65.

  Waterfalls, 11, 41, 74, 194.

  Water-soup, 4.

  Weaving, 210.

  Wembets, 135.

  Wembets River, 171.

  Westerns, 255.

  Whales' bones, 145, 161, 169.

  Wife, 294, 295.
    (great wife), 34.
    (second), 294.

  Winter, 161.
    garments, 60, 145.

  Witches, 287, 288.

  Wolves, 101.

  Women, 136, 137, 142, 232, 236, 249, 252, 253, 294.

  Women standing, 242.
    and children at a festival, 31.
    (burial of), 225.
    feeding bears, 59.
    suckling bear cubs, 214.

  Women's graves, 226.

  Wood-carving, 219.

  Wooden blade, carved, 226.
    bowls, 8.
    panels, 2.

  Wrecks, 42, 43, 162, 163, 165, 168-170, 179.

  Written language, 259.

  Worship, 281, 283, 284.


  Yagoshi Cape, 205.

  Yamakubiro, 56, 63, 271.

  Yamakushinai, 197.

  Yammakka, 56, 57, 61, 65, 66.

  Yangeshiri, 171.

  Yassuchi, 142.
    Lagoon, 142.

  Yezo, 297.

  Yoichi, 192, 193.

  Yoshioka village, 205.

  Yoshitsune or Okikurumi, 260, 261, 283, 284. (Also  see  Hero, Japanese.)

  Yubaridake, 122.

  Yubets, 142.
    River, 141.

  Yuhuts, 20.

  Yurap, 197.

  Yurapdake Mount, 4.

  Yuto Lake, 48.

  Yuzan Volcano, 97, 98, 101, 104.


  Zenzai lakes, 3.


  |                                                              |
  |                      Transcriber's Notes                     |
  |                                                              |
  | The following changes have been made to the text.            |
  |                                                              |
  | |Page |Original |Changed to |Context                 |       |
  | |53   |do       |no         |doorways have no doors. |       |
  | |305  |2/8      |¼          |5¼ inches wide          |       |
  |                                                              |
  | Some words occur in both hyphenated and unhyphenated forms   |
  | in the text.                                                 |
  |                                                              |

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