- vol.20, no.3, pp.204-208, 1956
The agriculture of the Ainus was very primitive and extentive, but the cultivation was undertaken not so carelessly as nothing was done about cropmanagement. The Ainus made fences around their fields to protect them from the depredations of deer. These fences were called "toikochashikaru" or "toitachashi" in Aino. Until about seventy or eighty years ago, there were many deer throughout Hokkaido. In those early days, herds of deer rather than destructive insects were the cause of great damage to crops. The produce of a year was often ruined by deer in one night or almost even in one hour. Under such circumstances, it was necessary, in order to protect crops, to make fences so as to prevent destruction by deer. The Ainus not only made fences around their fields, but also stuck into the fences two or three stakes so as to cause the deer to stab themselves. These stakes were called "isoushini" in Aino. The stakes were not stuck into the fence at the time of erection, but after the deer had once jumped over the fence. The Ainus believed that deer had a habit of passing over the same course and of jumping in at the same place repeatedly. The stakes were therefore inserted after selecting a suitable position and angle to stab the breast of the deer which had previously jumped into the enclosure. Thus, the Ainus were very eager to prevent the incursions by the deer. Nevertheless, they had no understanding of manuring to promote the growth of crops, so they did not manure their fields at all. Moreover, they objected to the practice. It should be noted, however, that they did resort to magic to promote the growth of crops. This magic was called "pipetunika" in Aino. Before seeds were planted, they mixed them with bird's eggs or chopped leaves of parasites. They did so not for fertilizing but for magical purposes. In addition to this, there were various forms of magic for to ensure rich harvests and for the prevention of damage by animals. The Ainus believed that their fields would have rich harvests if they possessed bird's nests or snake's exuviae as charms. And, they forecast by the songs of cuckoos or reedwarblers whether the harvest of the year would be abundant or not. There were other forms of magic to prevent damage by animals. The Ainus prevented hares from spoiling crops in the fields by using the corpse of a hawk or an eagle as a scarecrow. They also prevented wood・mice from spoiling the roots of crops by offering them "sake" and "inau". Lastly, we must mention something about weeding. The Ainus were not indifferent to weeding, but were apt to neglect it. Their agriculture was so extensive that it was not necessary for them to weed regularly. From the above, we may see the outlines of cropmanagement the Ainus practised. Accordingly, we can understand that the Ainus although very careless so far as manuring and weeding were concerned, had nevertheless, some techniques to prevent damage by deer and magic to promote the growth of crops. Rational techniques and irrational magic were united together in the agriculture of the Ainus. Herein lies the greatest characteristic of the crop-management of the Ainus.