National Geographic : 1967 Feb
"Ainu child training has always been based on preparing for a useful adulthood," Sasaki said. "Now, as in former times, quick movement, alertness, and promptitude are the most im portant attributes for an Ainu boy. If he possesses these, he will be a good hunter and fisherman. Games Give Training for Grown-up Tasks "In general, play life for the Ainu child helps teach adult skills. I used small bows and arrows and spears when I was only three years old and soon handled full-size ones effectively. Fathers hunting or fishing kept their boys close to them so they could learn by watching and imitating. "A child must be disciplined but he needs affection, too," Sasaki continued. "But a boy or girl should never be kissed by a bad person, for badness like sickness can be contagious." As with boys, the training of young Ainu girls emphasizes both craftsmanship and character. The Ainu mother and grandmother take very seriously their duty of teaching girls weaving, sewing, embroidery, and cooking. Early training is reflected in the superb needlework of older Ainu women. We saw ample evidence of this in the handsome 294 apparel they stitch for themselves and their men (page 288). Gulf between generations widens as more Ainu marry Jap anese. A full-blooded Ainu grand mother watches over the two year-old daughter of an Ainu and his Japanese wife. The old wom an likes her tattoo-the only one in her valley-but is glad girls no longer need endure painful tattooing operations. Running free, thoroughbreds ruffle new snow at the Sasaki Horse Pastures in Higashi Shizunai. Frisky collie guards them. Prosperous Ainu rancher Taro Sasaki raises sleek race horses for Japanese tracks. Frame buildings, common in rural Hok kaido, suggest a Dakota spread. Deep snow and sudden wind storms make winter life precar ious but beautiful.