Monday, December 5, 2011

Purpose of this Blog

I should have mentioned this before I even began posting stuff about the Ainu peoples, but this blog was set up to accompany my term paper as part of a project.  My goal for the paper was to write about why endangered languages should be revitalized, why scholars and the general public should be aware of such things going on around them.

I specifically chose to write about the Ainu peoples because in high school I went through a phase where I was just fascinated by the Japanese culture, specifically the pop culture.  This was also in part because as a Chinese, I grew up with family and relatives constantly putting down the Japanese. My grandparents were driven out of China when the Japanese invaded the Guangdong area, so it's understandable why they have so much hatred towards the Japanese.  But it's not fair to generalize that especially nowadays when the Japanese are so peaceful.

So, the first time I heard that Japan had aboriginal peoples just like Canada, I was pretty shocked.  My interest in Japan faded since high school and my focus has been on Canada instead, but I really wanted to learn more about these Asian aboriginees.  I wanted to talk about why their language, of the many other endangered languages out there, should be saved and documented.  My paper talks about how language gives a certain identity to people, not just for the use of communication.  Culture can only be transmitted, created, and learnt through the use of language, and without culture there can be no people.  Everyone holds at least one culture, like me for example.  I'm probably more Westernized and have a greater Canadian culture than I do my Chinese culture, and on top of Cantonese being my first language, this gives me a sense of identity and who I am in this multicultural mosaic nation.  Once you lose a culture, you lose part of your heritage with it.  Because I would never want to lose my Chinese culture, I don't want to see the same thing happen to the Ainu people, especially the younger generation.

My paper will also discuss, but won't be mentioned in the blog, the ways in which the Ainu communities can revitalize and document their languages in ways that the community themselves would see best.  Since I am neither a Japanese nor an Ainu, I can only use my common sense and knowledge when I suggest certain types of methods that could be put in use (if they are not already, I don't know since all the sources I have found are extremely outdated).

Another thing is, I am completely aware that the content of this blog is very outdated.  But the library only had these resources available and so I had to make do!

I hope you have fun reading through this blog and perhaps learn a little bit about the Ainu and spread the word to your friends and family, and maybe even do some research of your own if you're interested :)

Ta ta for now!

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