This Ainu robe was collected by Hiram M. Hiller (1867-1921) a physician and amateur ethnologist during a trip to Hokkaido, the northern most island of Japan. The trip itself lasted only a month but covered an area stretching from the southern coastal villages of Hokkaido, near Shiraoi (where this piece comes from), to a circuit around [...]
Philadelphia is expecting many of inches of snow, and the weather should start any minute now. It’s safe to say that the city has descended into a full-throated freak-out. So, let’s put it in perspective with some snow photos from the archives! So remember, if you’re going to go out, bring your parka made from [...]
Given this rhetoric, and the colonial relationship between the Japanese government and the Ainu peoples, it is not surprising that their culture was not well studied for many years. In 1900, however, a traveler from Philadelphia, Hiram Hiller, took a detour from his pan-Asian journeys to visit Hokkaido. He met Jenichiro Oyabe, a Japanese man who was educated as a missionary, but who became a self-trained ethnographer of the Ainu people.