May 2006

from EdoNyland Website

recovered through WayBackMachine Website




The language of the Ainu bear-worshippers of Northern Japan has generally been considered a language-isolate, supposedly being unlike any other language on earth.


A few researchers noticed a relationship with languages in south-east Asia, others saw similarity with the Ostiak and Uralic languages of northern Siberia. The Ainu look like Caucasian people, they have white skin, their hair is wavy and thick, their heads are mesocephalic (round) and a few have grey or blue eyes.


However, their blood types are more like the Mongolian people, possibly through many millennia of intermixing.


The Ainu are a semi-nomadic hunting and fishing tribe but also practice simple planting methods, which knowledge may have been acquired from the newcomers. The invading people, under their Yamato government, called them the Ezo, the unwanted, and forced the Ainu in fierce fighting to retreat north to the island of Hokkaido.


The name Ezo likely is an abbreviation of the Basque word ezonartu (to disapprove of)




Archaeologists have determined that the Ainu have been living on many of Japan's islands, from Okinawa to Sakhalin, for 7,000 years and likely longer.


Their Jomon pottery is found everywhere; it is characteristic although somewhat clumsy and can be dated from 5,000 B.C. until just before the Christian era. It is very attractive and is distinguished by the fantasy of its shapes with elegant and imaginative cord decorations.


Some of the most striking finds were the clearly anthropomorphic clay and stone figurines resembling pregnant females with mask-like faces and protuberant eyes; very similar to those found in many other parts of the world, especially in Europe.

A number of stone circles have also been found, similar to those in Cornwall (England) and Senegal (North-West Africa). A few still have the slender upright stone in the center, also found in the British Isles and elsewhere in Atlantic Europe and N.W. Africa.


Around 300 B.C., Mongolian type people moved in from Korea and aggressively forced the Ainu north onto the large island of Hokkaido where an estimated 17,000 of them are still living.


Some 10 dialects have been recognized, such as those of Sakhalin, Hokkaido and the Kurils, but several are at the point of being lost for ever.


In Hokkaido young Ainu are now making an effort to restore their ancient language and traditions.




There are many intriguing resemblances between the religious customs of the Ainu and the Shinto Japanese.


The Ainu called their God Kami while the Japanese called him Kamisama. The Aleut and Eskimo word kammi means "ancient thing" or "at the beginning," one of a great many correlations between Ainu and Inuktitut. (The Eskimo people call themselves the Inuit; note the similarity between the names Inuk and Ainu). Bear worship is still part of the Ainu religion and is described in detail by Joseph Campbell in Primitive Mythology.


This Paleolithic bear-worship may date back as far as 200,000 years, to the days of the Neanderthal people. It appears to have been practiced world-wide; wherever the bear was not found (mainly in Africa), its place was taken by similar panther-worship.

Bear worship was not tolerated in those areas later dominated by the major religions, therefore it was only possible for anthropologists to study the religion in the peripheral areas of northern Europe and Siberia. This gave rise to the idea that the Ainu must have moved eastward through Siberia, even though the nearest people of their type are found almost 5,000 miles away.


But bear-worship has also been reported from Indonesia where languages similar to the Ainu language are still spoken (to be discussed with the Indonesian language).


Could it be that the Ainu were part of the mass migration of "Caucasian" type Sea Peoples who fled the burning Sahara and, among others, became the "Caucasian" looking Polynesians and Maoris?


The following language comparison for the Ainu seems to indicate that this was the case.




In books about Japan it is often remarked that many of the names of Japan's geographical features were taken over from the Ainu.


For instance the many names beginning or ending with ama (Goddess) are all thought to be of Ainu origin. In 1994 the newly married prince and princess of Japan travelled to the cave of the Goddess Amaterasu to ask her blessings for their marriage.


The name Amaterasu is agglutinated from ama-atera-asu, ama (Goddess) atera (to come out, to appear) asturu (blessings flow): Blessings flow when the Goddess appears.


This name is made up of perfect Basque!


Other well-known names were similarly assembled such as Hokkaido:

oka-aidu: oka (big meal) aiduru (looking foreward to): Looking forward to a big meal

Fujiyama, fa-uji-ama: fa (happy) uju (cry of joy) ama (Goddess): "A happy cry of joy for the Goddess" is uttered by everyone who reaches the top of the holy mountain, just like is still being heard on many other mountains of the world (e.g . at Croag Patrick in Ireland, on the last Sunday of July).

The Basques even have a word for this yodel cry for the Goddess, they call it the irrintzi.

The name Amaterasu is made up with the vowel-interlocking Ogam formula, which was surprising to me because in the Ainu language itself there is not a hint of this agglutinating formula. I then searched for more Japanese names and words which were assembled with the vowel-interlocking Ogam formula and found many such as Kamikaze and Samurai.


The surprise which came from this comparison was that those words which showed vowel-interlocking were usually associated with fighting and male domination. This appeared to be true all over the Pacific, including Peru and Mexico.


Could this mean that there were two major migrations, the first one many millennia ago from Mesopotamia which brought the peaceful people of the Goddess to the Pacific and a much later one, missionary based, bringing aggressive male domination and the language-distorting vowel-consonant-vowel (VCV) formula to these same areas?

None of the Ainu words were exactly the same as in Basque, but many were extremely close such as ikoro and koro (money), kokor and gogor (to scold), tasum and eritasun (illness), iska and xiska (to steal).


A surprise was the Ainu word nok (testicle) which is much like the Basque word noka (familiarity with women). In English slang the same word is used in "to knock up" meaning "to cause a woman to become pregnant." In Indonesian nok means "unmarried young woman," while dénok means "slender, elegant woman."


In Dutch slang the word is slightly altered to neuk (sexual intercourse).


There is little doubt that the word goes way back to the Neolithic or even Paleolithic. From the following comparisons it seems clear to me that Ainu and Basque are genetically related. In comparing Ainu with Dravidian, I did not find such a relationship, although Dravidian itself is obviously also related to Basque. Two separate branches of the same tree?

The following words were taken from: An Ainu Dialect Dictionary edited by Shiro Hattori and (thank goodness) printed mostly in Latin characters. This work provided a wealth of excellent material for my comparison.


Don't forget that the Basque "s" is pronounced as a soft "sh" and that our sharp "sh" is written as "x" in Basque.


(The page column shows the word number/page number)


Page*	AINU	               ENGLISH	               BASQUE	              ENGLISH

02/05	tontone		to be bald	                tontordun	               crested, plumed
02/06	kepsapa		bald head	                kepireska	               heads or tails
06/38	aspa		to be deaf	                aspaldiko	               old, ancient
06/41	papus		lips		papar		breast
06/69	taspare		to sigh		asparen		to sigh
11/82	aske		hand		esku		hand
12/94	poro monpeh	thumb		erpuru		thumb
15/130	nok		testicle	                noka		familiarity with women
15/131	pok		vulva		puki		vulva (slang)
16/133	uka'un		sexual intercourse      eukan		to possess, to have
16/134	meno kupuri	to menstruate	kopor-kopuri	goblet, quantity
17/136	kema		leg, foot	                kemen		vigor, strength
17/137	hera		to limp		herren		cripple
18/149	kiski		hair		kizkur		curly, wavy hair
18/152	kamihi 		surface of 	                kamisoi		nightgown, the skin
19/161	tur		dirt		lur		dirt
23/188	hatcir		to fall	(down)	atzeratu	                to fall (back)
24/194	hotkuku		to stoop	                kukutu		to stoop
24/201	mokor		sleep		makar		sleep
28/01	siko		to be born	                zikoina		stork
28/04	hetuku		to grow up	                gehitu		to grow up
28/04	sikup		to grow up	                siku		miserly
29/14	sinki		to get tired	                sinkulin	                crying, whining
29/15	yasumi		to rest		jaso		to get better
29/16	tasum		illness		eritasun	                illness
29/16	araka		illness		arakatu		to be examined
30/22	ukikosmare	to sprain	                ukitu		to touch, to affect
31/34	pirika		to recover	                pirri		shaky, jittery
31/36	kusuri		drug		kutsu		infection
31/38	shuruku		poison		shurrut		gulp, drink
34/02	okkai		man		oka egin	                to eat too much
34/03	meneko		woman		eme		female
35/07	sukukur		young man	sukor		having a temper
					kuraia		strength
35/10	poro aynu	                adult		porrokatu	                tired
35/11	onne kur	                old person	                onegi		benign
					kurrinka	                moaning
36/12	ekasi		old man		ekarri		to contribute, provide
36/13	hutci		old woman	                hutsikusle	                fault-finding
36/13	ruhne mah	                old woman	                urrumakatu	to sing a lullaby
36/16	pon		to be very young	ponte		baptismal font
39/12	ona		father		onartzaile	                authority
40/16	po		child		poz		happiness
42/31	uriwahnecin	sibling		aurride		sibling
42/31	irutar		siblings	                irutara		three different ways
42/35	umatakikor	to be sisters	umatu		to reproduce
44/52	kok		son-in-law	                kok		bellyful
45/56	aukorespa	                to be engaged	aukeratu	                to choose, select
45/58	usante		to marry	                usantza		tradition
45/59	umurek		married couple	umotu		to have children
47/68	ekkur		guest		ekuru		peaceful, peace of mind
47/73	ipakasnokur	teacher		ikaserazi	                to teach
48/75	kusunkur	                enemy		kuskusean	spying
50/01	kotan		village		kote		multiplicity, many
50/02	porokotan	                city		porrokatu	                to destroy
50/03	sinotusi	                open space	sinotsu		strange, unfamiliar
50/08	oiakunkur	                out of doors	oian		forest
51/10	ankahpaaki	foreigner	                ankapetu	                to trample under foot
51/13	uraiki		to make war	jarraiki	                to attack
51/17	kotankoro	                tribal chief	                koroa		crowned, glorified
52/18	tono		official	                tontor		plumed, feathered
52/21	u'ekari		meeting		ekarle		bringer (of news)
52/21	u'ekarpa	                meeting		ekarpen		contribution
52/23	kotan orake	to go to ruin	oraka		financial ruin
52/23	kiru		to die out	                kirru		blond
52/23	sikupu		to perish	                siku		shriveled up
53/32	isocise		jail		isolamendu	isolation
56/01	itah		language	                itano		speaking in second person
57/12	kayo		to cry out	                kaio		seagull	
58/15	ese		to answer	                esetsi		to argue
58/15	itasa		answer		itaun		question
58/18	u'uste		to pass along	uste		opinion
58/19	sonko		information	                esonde		advice
58/21	senpir		backbiting	                senper		suffering
58/22	sinititak	                to joke		sinoti		crazy
58/23	sunke		falsehood	                suntsun		foolish, idiotic
59/26	esina		to conceal	                esinguratu	                to surround, to block
59/27	etekke		confidential	etekin		profit, wages
59/28	eramankorka	to pretend	                eramankor	                tolerant, enduring
59/28	ennuka		to pretend	                enulkeria	                weakness, debility
60/40	itokpa		to mark		itoka		quickly
64/01	ariki		to come		ariketa		assignment, activity
64/02	koman		to go		komandante	commander
64/05	eson asin	                to go away	                esonde		advice	
					asi		to start, to begin
65/11	rutu		to move aside	urrundu		to move away
65/12	somaketa	                to approach	somaketa	                attention, perception
65/14	etaras		to stop		etapa		stage, stretch
66/15	kus		to pass through	kuskusean	to peek, to snoop
68/33	kaya		sail		kaiar		very large seagull
70/02	ko'ekari	                to encounter	elkarikusi	                to see each other
70/03	aske'uk		to invite	                aske		free, independent
70/05	ekari arki	                to go out, to meet      ekarri		to bring, to provide
70/07	umusa		to bow		kilimusi	                to bow
72/20	omonnure	                to praise	                omendatu	                to praise
73/24	kokor unpeki	to scold	                gogor egin	                to scold
73/25	ikohka		punishment	iko		hammer
75/35	ukonkep		strength, contest       ukondoka	                elbowing, forcing a way
75/35	puni		strength, contest        puntzet		sword
75/39	inospa		to pursue	                inozotu		to be intimidated
76/40	oskoni		to overtake	                oskol		amour
76/41	akkari		to outrun	                akarraldi	                to anger
76/46	ikasuy		to help, assist	ikastun		student
77/50	kukocan		to refuse	                uko egin	                to refuse
77/51	ese		to undertake	esetsi		to attack, to debate
80/01	konte		to give		kontentatu    	to please
80/08	uk		to receive	                ukan		to have
81/12	ipuni		to distribute	ipuina		to tell a story
81/13	esikari		to rob		esi		fence, enclosure
81/14	iska		to steal	                xiskatu		to steal
83/29	ikoro		money		koro		money
87/15	pita		to untie, loosen	pita		fishing line
87/17	tekkas		glove		teka		pod, covering
88/25	atusa		naked		atutxa		better world
88/26	hantasine	                barefoot	                hankagorri	                barefoot
96/38	seku		to suck		sikui		dry
97/46	cikaripe	                to prepare	                sikatu		to dry
97/52	hu		raw, unripe	                huruppa		to swallow
158/21      eraman	                to get used to            eramanpen	patience, tolerance
187/59      peko                         ox                            menpeko                   controlled by   

It is easy to find hundreds more like the ones above, all it takes is time, but I can see little reason for doing that.


To me this comparison is quite convincing: the Ainu language is genetically related to the universal language, Saharan/Basque; the similarities are just too many to be accidental.


Considering that the Ainu have probably been separated from the west for some 7,000 years, if not 8,000, it is not surprising that the language has drifted away from the Neolithic language as it had developed in the Sahara. The fact that so many Ainu words are still clearly recognizable when compared to modern Basque words, this is nothing short of amazing and tells us that the ancient oral traditions had been faithfully maintained since they left the Sahara or Mesopotamia.


The Ainu had no writing system but memorized their history and legends as yukar, which means that the poetry and epics were performed by professional memorymen with elaborate display and ritual. Similarly, in the west, the universal language was maintained by regular meetings, probably at the central shrine on Malta, where the bertsolari (professional memorymen) of all the tribes and regions met to reinforce and standardize their language and knowledge.

The Pacific sea peoples settled on hundreds of islands, they scattered over the entire endless Pacific, and it must be assumed that the single unifying educational exchange practiced in the Mediterranean was impossible to repeat.


Similar local meeting-islands must have been designated in the,

  • Marianas

  • Polynesia

  • Melanesia

  • Indonesia

  • New Zealand etc.,

...but regular contact with the far-away Ainu could hardly have been maintained.


Consequently the formerly universal language drifted and diversified into what we know today as the many languages of the Pacific islands, including those of the Kurils and Aleutians.


Several of the Pacific languages, such as Japanese and Hawaiian, do not have the "r". It has been theorized that these languages have lost this letter over the centuries.

Another suggestion was that the original "Caucasians" coming from Africa or Mesopotamia, some 7,000 years ago, did not know this letter. However, it appears that the Ainu were the first to arrive in the Pacific and they have the "r".


The lost "r" theory may well be correct. It is interesting to note that the name Ainu possibly comes from ain'u, an abbreviation of ainbanatu (to distribute, to scatter all over). Another origin could be the Basque word aienatu (the disappeared, departed).


These astute navigators of the Pacific must also have discovered the west coast of North America at a very early date. The island-chain of the Aleutians was a ready-made pathway to Alaska, which must have been reached well before 6,000 B.C., possibly before the east coast of North America was spotted.


It may have been about the same time that the Eskimos started to spread east into Arctic Canada and Greenland, bringing along a pidgin-type, Ainu-related, Basque to Labrador and Greenland, but I will discuss this with the Eskimo language.




There are indications that the Ainu sailed regularly to Alaska to obtain reindeer hides from the Aleuts established there, which they needed for their sails, exactly the same as was done by the Basques, the Irish and Scots who went to Arctic Norway for their reindeer-leather sails (Mt. Komsa people).


The Ainu must have been great long-distance sea-farers to keep up contact with their home-base which may have been in Mesopotamia.


All over the Pacific this incredible sailing tradition waned fast when the social structure changed after the coming of European or Asiatic domination. Today the Ainu still sail the ocean but mostly on fishing trips.


The complex navigational techniques, acquired over millennia had been the property of a few special families and were never popular wisdom. They are now lost.


The astonishing amount of astronomical knowledge which the members of such navigator families had to memorize was taught them at a very young age and was built up during a lifetime on the ocean. To these highly skilled and proud people the Pacific was no hostile place, the ocean was their life and joy, and an indispensible part of their culture.


Only in the Carolines the ancient spirit, some of the secret navigational techniques and much astronomical wisdom has been maintained to this day. All this is described in a wonderful book called, We, the Navigators by David Lewis.

The people who sailed the Pacific without the aid of instruments have recently been called the "Nomads of the Wind", a most appropriate title for these courageous and resourceful people.


The Ainu appeared to have been the avant garde of the Pacific migration. The desertification of the Sahara had probably forced these tribes to flee for their lives.


It was then that the name "Africa" was coined:

af.-.ri-ika, afa-ari-ika: afa (happy) arinari eman (to escape) ikara (terror): Happy to have escaped the terror.

Some of these displaced tribes sailed around Asia and started to populate the nearest Pacific islands, all of them speaking the same universal language and bringing along the same religion.

While looking in more detail at the names in the Pacific, I found that many of the Pacific islands had names which could be translated with the Basque dictionary such as:

"Tahiti", from tahi-iti, tahiu (appearance) iti (ox): "Resembles an ox" the sharp pointed mountains indeed resemble ox horns.

Or: "Rapa Nui" (Easter Island), arra-apa ' nui, erraldoi (giant) aparta (far, far away), nui (enormous, in Hawaiian): "Enormous giants, far, far away".

Or: "Hawaii", ha'u-ahi: ha'u (this one) ahigarri (exhausting): This one is exhausting! It still is.

Or: "Papua", apapua (living in poverty); stone age people don't own much, they don't pollute and they live as part of nature.

One tantalizing hint comes from Peru where the patriarchal Incas established a complex civilization, complete with highly evolved Sumerian-type irrigation.


The Incas were living gods and the Basque word for "God" is ainkoa!