Japan Recognizes Indigenous Group

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Ainu community leader Aku Sawai. i

Ainu community leader Aku Sawai uses a ritual bowl and stick in prayers to the god of the hearth. He played a key role in lobbying Japan's parliament to pass a resolution recognizing the Ainu as indigenous people. Anthony Kuhn/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Anthony Kuhn/NPR
Ainu community leader Aku Sawai.

Ainu community leader Aku Sawai uses a ritual bowl and stick in prayers to the god of the hearth. He played a key role in lobbying Japan's parliament to pass a resolution recognizing the Ainu as indigenous people.

Anthony Kuhn/NPR

The Ainu are an indigenous people who have recently been recognized by the Japanese government. The group has come a long way since the Japanese government tried to assimilate it by force. The Ainu are now seen as a model of man living in harmony with nature.

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Correction Aug. 15, 2008

The story said, "Japan’s parliament finally passed a resolution last month officially recognizing the Ainu as an indigenous people" The resolution was passed in June.

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