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UPDATE: Saturday, June 12, 2010      The Japan Times Weekly    2006年5月13日号 (バックナンバー)
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Shigeru Kayano

Shigeru Kayano, the first Diet member from the indigenous Ainu people, died of acute pneumonia May 6 at a Sapporo hospital. He was 79.

Shigeru Kayano
A runnerup in the Social Democratic Party of Japan's proportional representation portion of the ballot in the 1992 Upper House election, Kayano gained a Diet seat in August 1994 with the death of Eiichi Matsumoto.

He worked for the enactment of the Ainu Culture Law and retired from politics after one term.

He published numerous books about Ainu culture. One, a collection of Ainu folktales titled Uepekere Shutaisei, won the Kikuchi Kan Prize in 1971 and the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize in 1989. He was active in preserving the Ainu language, whose speakers were decreasing due to the government's assimilation policies, and compiled an Ainu dictionary.

The Japan Times Weekly: May 13, 2006
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