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The bear-worshippers of Yezo and the island of Karafuto (Saghalin).
The adventures of the Jewett family and their friend Oto Nambo
The present volume, the last of the series, is devoted to the manners and customs of the bear-worshippers of Yezo, and of the five tribes inhabiting Karafuto (Saghalin). When I first visited the latter island, in 1853, it was a portion of the Empire of Japan; but in 1875 it was ceded to Russia, in exchange- for the Chishima (Kurile) Islands. I spent nearly a year cruising in the northern waters, and during that time became well acquainted with the people of Karafuto and Yezo ; on one occasion travelling with a boat’s crew from Soya to Hakodate, and being the guest of the fierce-visaged but gentle savages.
Since then Russia has made a penal settlement of Karafuto, and two-thirds of the natives have nominally become Christians.
When I was in Japan, last summer, I made the acquaintance of His Excellency Kunemichi Kitagaki, the governor of Saikio (Kioto), who was for some years an official in the Kaitakushi (Department of Development) of the Hokkaido (North Sea Circuit). From him I learned many interesting particulars relating to the progress made by the Ainos in agriculture, etc. ; and I have his authority for stating that the natives who left Karafuto when the island was ceded to Russia, and who have settled in Sapporo, were not compelled to quit their native land, but elected to do so rather than change their nationality.
This book was written to give some information concerning “a quaint people that are almost unknown to my countrymen, and who, like our Indians, are rapidly disappearing from the face of the earth.