The Ainu, also known as Aynu, are an indigenous people of Japan and Eastern Russia. According to recent research, the Ainu people originated from a merger of two other cultures: the Okhotsk and Satsumon, one of the ancient cultures believed to have originated during the Jōmon period on the Japanese Archipelago.
In the 13th Century, the Ainu of Ezochi (modern-day Hokkaido) began active contact with the ethnic Japanese of the mainland, called the Wajin. The Ainu group consisted mainly of hunter-gatherers and made a living by hunting, farming, and fishing. This society was underpinned by a religion based on natural phenomena.
The full-blooded Ainu usually had more body hair and fairer skin than Japan’s Yamato people. There were early claims suggesting that the Ainu had Caucasian ancestry, but recent DNA studies have not shown any similarity with Europeans.