- The Anthropological Society of Nippon
- 人類學雜誌 (ISSN:00035505)
- vol.69, no.3-4, pp.141-153, 1962-03-30 (Released:2008-02-26)
The Ainu, a tribe who has inhabited in the northernmost area of Japan, the area which has traditionally been called "Yeso", used toxic substances of various kinds for hunting and fishing. Aconite (surku in Ainu), Ikema (penup in Ainu), Naniwazu (ketuhas in Ainu) and Aka-ei (aikoro chiep in Ainu), Japanese sting ray, were the most popular toxic substances used for the purposes.Since we have already published a report on Aconite, we should like to take up here the rest of the substances, that is to say, Ikema, Naniwazu and Aka-ei.1) Ikema (Cynanchum caudatum Maxim.)Ikema is a climbing plant. The Ainu mix beaten roots of this plant with the flesh of the salmon. They stuff salmon with this mixture and leave the stuffed salmon in haunting places of Bering Island Raven (Corvus corax behringianus Dyb.). Those Bering Island Raven who have pecked Ikema in the flesh of the salmon become intoxicated and giddy and loose balance to be readily captured by hunters.2) Naniwazu (Daphne kamtchatica Maxim, var. yesoensis Ohwi)This plant grows into a shrub of about 1 meter in height. The Ainu make use of the plant for catching Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens Illiger) by smearing its sap on a harpoon or lance heads.3) Aka-ei (Dasyatis akajei Müller & Henle)The habitat of Aka-ei ranges from the tropics, sub-tropics to temperate zones. When grown up, the fish measures 1 meter or so in length. Its caudal sting (about 7-10 cm long) contains a venom. There are three ways of using the venom for hunting:a) To use the caudal sting as a lance to stab bears.b) To grind the caudal sting into powder and to spread it on the arrow heads together with aconite.c) To stick the caudal sting to the arrow heads. The Ainu use it repeatedly by sharpening it when its head is broken.As is evident from the above descriptions, plant poisons are used in the cases of 1) and 2) and the fish venom in the case of 3). Where did these methods of hunting and fishing using poisons and the venom originate? In order to solve this problem, it is necessary to make comparative studies between these methods of the Ainu and those of other tribes inhabiting in areas north of Yeso, such as Gilyak, Chukuchee, Koryak, Kamchadal, Yukagir, Aleut and Pacific Eskimo. To achive this end, it may also be necessary to make studies on the religious aspect of their life and on ceremonies and rites practiced by those tribes with regard to hunting and fishing.