The Ainu are an indigenous people of northern Japan who also resided on the southern half of Sakhalin Island and the Kurile Islands in the former Soviet Union. Early in the twentieth century they numbered several thousand in the territories of the former Soviet Union. They were subsequently displaced and their culture was transformed by alternating periods of Russian and Japanese rule. In recent times, the Soviet government did not recognize the Ainu as a distinct ethnic group. There is therefore no reliable information about the number of Ainu still in the former Soviet Union nor about their culture.
See Ainu in Volume 5,