Inderscience Publishers

Rethinking the Ainu identity and entrepreneurship: a statistical study

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The Ainu language was documented as a critically endangered language by UNESCO in 2009, although social understanding about the Ainu culture has disseminated. Nowadays, for the Ainu youth, Ainu is a second language, if they even speak it. In addition, the Ainu youth, who have not an interest for their culture, has steadily increased. These findings suggest that contemporary Ainu attenuates their identity and that it is difficult for today's Ainu to pass on the Ainu spirit to the coming generation. This paper reports part of an attenuation of Ainu identity using statistical data, and we point out new research topics about the relationship between the Ainu identity and entrepreneurship. Further research is also needed to examine on what and how far non–Ainu Japanese know about the Ainu people.

Keywords: Ainu language, endangered languages, entrepreneurship, cultural tradition, aboriginal protection act, UNESCO, occupation, Japan, Ainu identity, Ainu culture

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