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The Samurai And The Ainu

Findings by American anthropologist C. Loring Brace, University of Michigan, will surely be controversial in race conscious Japan. The eye of the predicted storm will be the Ainu, a "racially different" group of some 18,000 people now living on the northern island of Hokkaido. Pure-blooded Ainu are easy to spot: they have lighter skin, more body hair, and higher-bridged noses than most Japanese. Most Japanese tend to look down on the Ainu.

Brace has studied the skeletons of about 1,100 Japanese, Ainu, and other Asian ethnic groups and has concluded that the revered samurai of Japan are actually descendants of the Ainu, not of the Yayoi from whom most modern Japanese are descended. In fact, Brace threw more fuel on the fire with:

"Dr. Brace said this interpretation also explains why the facial features of the Japanese ruling class are so often unlike those of typical modern Japanese. The Ainu-related samurai achieved such power and prestige in medieval Japan that they intermarried with royality and nobility, passing on Jomon-Ainu blood in the upper classes, while other Japanese were primarily descended from the Yoyoi."

The reactions of Japanese scientists have been muted so. One Japanese anthropologist did say to Brace," I hope you are wrong."

The Ainu and their origin have always been rather mysterious, with some people claiming that the Ainu are really Caucasian or proto-Caucasian - in other words, "white." At present, Brace's study denies this interpretation.

(Wilford, John Noble; "Exalted Warriors, Humble Roots," New York Times, June 6, 1989. Cr. J. Covey.)

Comment. Fringe anthropology notes many "white" races in strange places; viz., the white Indians of Panama and the Mandans of the American West.

From Science Frontiers #65, SEP-OCT 1989. 1989-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987