Ainu are the indigenous peoples that live on the northern island of Japan, Hokkaido. They are ethnically and culturally different from the main Japanese population. In fact the Ainu people are very much like the indigenous people in British Columbia, Canada. As well, they have their own language. It has been said the the Ainu in Japan have suffered culturally and now there is a movement to make them known to the greater Japanese population to help preserve their culture and language. I believe the Ainu is something that all people studying about Japan should know about. Here is a great link.
The Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture