- 国立民族学博物館研究報告 = Bulletin of the National Museum of Ethnology (ISSN:0385180X)
- vol.1, no.4, pp.778-822, 1977-01-14
Prior to the 20th century the Ainu caught large fish and seaanimals by means of toggle-headed harpoons known as kite.The 120 examples referred to in this paper represent the majorityof kite known to be extant. The author has classified these intotypes according to their distribution, shape and function.Type A-found only along the coast of Iburi. Its rear barbsare large and wing-shaped, with flat ends. Used mainly forcatching swordfish.Type B-found in most Ainu regions, this type can further beclassed into five subtypes (B1–B5). Its rear barbs are pointed.Used for catching sunfish, dolphin, and probably all kinds of seaanimals (seals, fur seal, sea lions, whales, etc.).Type C-found on the Japan Sea side of Oshima peninsulaand along the straits of Tsugaru. Similar in shape to Type B,it is rhombic in cross-section with a longitudinal ridge line.Targets of use unknown.Type D-found only on the coast of the Gulf of Uchiura.The back cavity is shallow and the top of the rear barb is Vshaped.The tip is bent slightly so that aconite poison can beplaced in the neck groove. Used for catching whales.Type E-found along the Gulf of Uchiura. It has a holeperforated at right angles to the face of the harpoon.In addition to these 120 from modern times, numerous otherAinu harpoons have been retrieved from archaeological sites.These can be given the following chronological arrangement:Types A and B2 may, be considered to be the most recentsince they have not been found in prehistoric ruins. I assumethat they came into existence around the beginning of the 19thcentury. Type C can be traced to the end of the 18th century,and Type D presumably derives from the same period.Harpoons of Type B (except B2) were found inside the bodyof a whale caught offshore from Keichi in 1725. So it can beargued that they date at the latest to the early 18th century.Furthermore, harpoons of a type similar to Type B occur inarchaeological sites in Hokkaido, where they date to around the17th century. I have tentatively classed these Hokkaidospecimens as Type F.Type F appears to have been developed as a cross betweentwo types of harpoons. One was the so-called Ketsunyu-rit&mori,a harpoon known as early as 7000 years ago in Hokkaido. Theother was a type of harpoon that came in from the north aroundthe time of the 12th century. With Type F we have the firstform of the Ainu kite.