- Title: Germany returns bones of Hokkaido Ainu tribe member to Japan.
- Date: 31st July 2017
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (JULY 31, 2017) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** CHAIRMAN OF THE ASSOCIATION OF HOKKAIDO, TADASHI KATO ARRIVING FOR CEREMONY MAN TAKING PHOTO CHAIRMAN OF THE BERLIN SOCIETY OF ANTHROPOLOGY, ALEXANDER PASCHOS AT PODIUM PERSON TAKING NOTES (SOUNDBITE) (German) CHAIRMAN OF THE BERLIN SOCIETY OF ANTHROPOLOGY, ALEXANDER PASCHOS, SAYING: "It (the skull) was secretly removed by the German Georg Schlesinger from an Ainu grave on the recently renamed and economically on the up Hokkaido island in 1879. The German explorers claimed to have knowledge that the local Ainu did not bury their dead in cemeteries at that time but in hidden places. This meant that they said there was hardly a legal option to look for abandoned Ainu graves. This possibly increased the readiness to cross moral boundaries and to break the law and then to illicitly take Ainu remains for themselves." PEOPLE TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS TADASHI KATO LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (German) CHAIRMAN OF THE BERLIN SOCIETY OF ANTHROPOLOGY, ALEXANDER PASCHOS, SAYING: "With this return as a goodwill gesture, the Berlin Society of Anthropology wishes to show that the organisation will, as far as possible, undertake a critical examination of the individual discovery histories of the objects in its collection. The relevant Japanese authorities have already started investigations into the difficult question of the identity and the cultural belonging of the deceased. We hand over the skull on the understanding that these investigations continue. The future of skull RV 33 now lies in Japan." MEDIA WIDE OF KATO, PASCHOS AND JAPANESE COMPREHENSIVE AINU POLICY OFFICE REPRESENTATIVE HIROHIDE HIRAI VARIOUS OF KATO, PASCHOS AND HIRAI SIGNING DOCUMENTS MEDIA KATO, PASCHOS AND HIRAI POSING FOR MEDIA WITH SIGNED DOCUMENTS MEDIA KATO, PASCHOS AND HIRAI PLACING HANDS ON ONE ANOTHER'S HANDS / PASCHOS BRINGING WRAPPED SKULL TO KATO VARIOUS OF KATO, PASCHOS AND HIRAI POSING WITH WRAPPED SKULL VARIOUS OF WRAPPED SKULL ON TABLE MEDIA KATO, PASCHOS AND HIRAI HANDING OVER DOCUMENTS MEDIA KATO TALKING TO MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) CHAIRMAN OF THE ASSOCIATION OF HOKKAIDO, TADASHI KATO, SAYING: "For 138 years, the bones -- I can't imagine how sad they must have been. So in order to regain dignity, honour, with this in mind, we hope to bring them back to Hokkaido University so that once again they can feel the earth, the air, the spiritual culture of Hokkaido." KATO LEAVING
- Embargoed: 14th August 2017 13:13
- Keywords: Hokkaido Ainu tribe bones Germany Japan stolen artefacts
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Race Relations / Ethnic Issues,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0016S1SCP3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The Berlin Society of Anthropology on Monday (July 31) handed the skull of a member of Japan's Ainu ethnic group back to Japan as a 'gesture of goodwill.'
Alexander Paschos, chairman of the society told a gathering at the Japanese embassy in the German capital that moral boundaries had been crossed when the remains were illegally taken in 1879.
The skull which was wrongfully removed from the northern island of Hokkaido by German Georg Schlesinger was returned in a ceremony to the Chairman of the Association of Hokkaido, Tadashi Kato.
Paschos said he hoped Japan would continue investigations into the origins and identity of the skull.
Mister Kato said he was relieved the 'honour and dignity' of the bones would finally be restored.
Japan recognised the Ainu as a native group with a unique culture and language in 2008.
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