Ainu woman, 1901, photo source
I have already written about the Ainu people costume and jewelry (here). And today's post is about another interesting feature that used to distinguish this ethnic group, particularly women. I am talking about tattoo. What was so unusual about the Ainu tattoo? Well, until very recently (the last fully tattooed Ainu woman died in 1998), Ainu women had black tattoos, resembling clown smiles, around their lips. And though Ainu women were also tattooed on the backs of the hands, wrists, forearms, eyebrows and forehead as well, their tattooed smiles were the most characteristic feature, and the most striking for any newcomer I would say.