The Hairy Ainu

The Ainu live on the island Hokkaido and in Northern Japan. In the early 19th century some people call them the Hairy Ainy because some men are completely covered with hair. They are known for their beautiful ceremonial dances, their bear festival and tattooed women. To the Ainu the bear is a sacred animal and during the Iomante ceremony a bear is ritually sacrifice to release its spirit. At the age of 12 young Ainu woman start tattooing strange patches around their mouth. In the following years more designs are added on the hands and arms. The tattooing stops at the age of 16 when they are ready for marriage.

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