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Ame people and culture
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This public article was written by 藤咲瑠奈, and last updated on 8 Oct 2021, 13:24.

[comments] Menu 1. Physiology 2. Genetics 3. Lifestyle 4. Marriage 5. Customs 6. Religion 7. Language
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The Ame people are an ethnic group of humans of the Nokema islands of the Nousa Kingdom, they make up about 5% of the population of the Nousa Kingdom in modern times.

[top]Physiology

Members of the Ame people look like East Asians in appearance and have a relatively pale skin, and genetically they are seen as one of the East Asian peoples, that's because in the past they had an intensive intermarriage with groups of Chinese(mostly Min, Hakka and Yue Chinese and the Tanka people), Japanese, and more recently,  Town Speech speakers.

Ame people have an unique physiology, most Ame females don't grow older in appearance after 15-20 years old, which has created an illusion that Ame females are forever young and are thus immortal; however, they still die of natural causes and often don't have a significant longer lifespan on average. As a result, death usually comes in a more sudden manner for Ame females. Another evidence that Ame people don’t grow older after 15-20 years old is that the death rate of Ame people defies the Gompertz–Makeham law of mortality, the death rate for Ame people older than 20 years old is constant and before the modern era, the death rate for Ame people older than 20 years old was around 1/32,000 per day, which means the “half-life”(As they don’t get older there is no “maximal life span” but “half life”) of average Ame people was around 60.7 year before the modern era; however, the rate for Ame people older than 20 years old has been lowered after the latter half of the 20th century and the rate is now around 1/42,000 per day, which corresponds to a half life of 79.8 years.

While Ame people don’t get old after 15-20, their daily death rate is actually much higher the the daily death rate of members of all other human groups under 65, Under similar medical conditions, Ame people older than 20 years old have a daily death rate around 1/42,000, and by comparison, females of 15-24 years old in the UK(which on average would mostly have a similar physiological condition to average Ame people otherwise) have an annual death rate of 1/4132, which corresponds to a daily death rate of around 6.6/10,000,000, that is, th death rate of Ame people is 36 times higher than people in the UK with similar physiological and medical conditions. So one can say that Ame people on average have a physiological condition mostly similar a 20-year-old UK female but a daily death rate of a 65-year-old UK female, and it is thought that the higher death rate among mature Ame people compared to the 15-24 years old females of other human groups is due to certain hereditary conditions related to the cardiovascular system.

Ame females are renowned for their natural beauty, or physical attractiveness, besides the face, almost all of them also have flawless skin, these traits are also seen on females with at least some Ame ancestry, like modern Town Speech speakers and Nanarulamuts. Despite that, but most Ame females don't notice how attractive their looks are to foreigners until they have interactions with foreigners; and because of this, the look of a person is rarely talked about among Ame people.

Besides, Ame females usually give birth to only females, it is very commmon for an Ame female to have only daughters, and it is uncommon for an Ame female to give birth to males children. This and the fact that most males living in Ame communities leave when they become adults, create an impression that the Ame society is an all female society.

The picture below shows the look of typical Ame females:
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[top]Genetics

Genetically Ame people are clustered with East Asian peoples like Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Ryukyuan peoples; however, the mitochondrial lines of the modern Ame people are distinct from that of East Asians. Analyses of mitochondrial ancient DNA of remains from the Nokema islands and the Nousa main island have shown that there's a genetic continuity between the first peoples and the modern population in the Nokema islands and the Nousa main island, and virtually all Ame people are the descendants of the first peoples in the area.

On the other hand, research on the autosomal DNA of Ame people and ancient peoples in the Nokema islands and the Nousa main island shows that the genetics of the population in the area have changed significantly over time, besides, studies have also suggested the existence of gene flows from East Asian peoples, and there are at least four waves of genetic flows in the history.

[top]Lifestyle

Traditionally, the Ame people have large extended families, and several generations living together in the same house. Everyone lives in communal quarters. Child-rearing is often shared by all families in the community.

Females usually live in the community with their mothers, grandmothers, etc. throughout their lives; while males leave the community and join their fathers' communities once they grow up.

In the past Ame people were farmers and fishers. Communities in inland areas made a living by farming, they grew crops, including grains like rice, wheats and buckwheats, and potatoes. The people were largely self-sufficient in diet, raising enough for their daily needs; communities of Ame people in coastal areas made a living by fishing and pearl collecting.

In the past, economies among Ame communities tend to be barter-based, people exchanged goods or services for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money, though cowry shells were used as money in some areas in pre-modern times.

Due to the massive industrialization process of the Nousa Kingdom in the 20th century, most Ame people are now city dwellers, the largest city, which is also the largest Ame speaking community in the Nousa Kingdom, is the City of Kemiko located on the Greater Nokema Island.

Food

Traditionally Ame people mostly eat cereal grains like rice, wheats and buckwheats, and potatoes; fish consumption among people living in coastal areas is also common.

Ame people on average eat less meat than people in many other societies, only people who live by the coast consume more meat. After the introduction of Buddhism to the Ame society, vegetarianism became the norm of the society. According to some research, in the late 19th century, the vast majority of the population in the Ame society, including nuns and laypeople, are vegetarian.

Even today, the habit of sticking to a vegetarian diet is still a norm of the Ame society, many Ame people find it outlandish, weird or even disgusting and morally deplorable when they learn that many people in foreign countries eat meat a lot.

Ame divers

In communities that make a living by fishing, females often dive in water to catch fish and collect pearls, they are called the Ame divers. Women began diving as ame as early as 12 and 13 years old, taught by elder ames. In Ame speaking areas, women were considered to be superior divers due to the distribution of their fat and their ability to hold their breath. As described above, the garment of the Ame divers have changed throughout time from the original loincloth to white sheer garb and eventually to the modern diving wetsuit. The world of the Ame divers is one marked by duty and superstition. One traditional article of clothing that has stood the test of time is their headscarves. The Ame divers are also known to create small shrines near their diving location where they will visit after diving in order to thank the gods for their safe return.

The Ame divers were expected to endure harsh conditions while diving such as freezing temperatures and great pressures from the depths of the sea. Through the practice, many Ame divers were noted to lose weight during the months of diving seasons. Ame divers practiced a breathing technique in which the divers would release air in a long whistle once they resurfaced from a dive. This whistling became a defining characteristic of the Ame divers as this technique is unique to them.

As a legacy of Ame divers, underwater diving is still a very popular activity among Ame females, most Ame females still do underwater diving on a regular basis as a recreational activity nowadays.

Architecture

Traditional Ame houses feature a structure made of renewable wooden natural materials including timber and bamboo, raised on stilts and topped with a steep gabled roof, and the buildings are often built without the use of metal including nails. The houses from each of Ame-speaking regions have distinctive styles, which reflect the people's living style, including social and cultural beliefs or religious customs and occupations.

Matrilineality
Ame families tend to trace their lineage through the female side of the family. Occasionally, in fact, they may not know who the father of a child is, which does not carry stigma as in many other societies. Children belong to and reside within their mother's household and have access to its land and resources.

Ame households, villages and towns are usually led by a female leader referred to as the matriarch.

Matriarch and Sagas
The matriarch, which is the leader of a community, is usually a female elected by community members. The matriarch takes the role of leaders, but does not enjoy an absolute power, decisions and jurisdictions are usually done by public assemblies called saga.

Throughout Ame speaking areas, sagas are the public assemblies of the people of a country, province, or a community, they function as both parliaments and courts at different levels of society, including local, regional, and supra-regional ones.

Sagas meet at regular intervals, they legislate, electe leaders, chieftains and monarches, and judge according to the law, which were memorized and recited by the "lawspeaker" (the judge). Negotiations in Sagas are presided over by the lawspeaker and the leaders of the relevant community. Decisions are usually made by voting of the members of the Saga, which is usually based on the principle of majority rule, community leaders only involve in decision making when the result of vote is deadlocked or otherwise problematic.

Hairstyle

Ame females traditionally have a long hair, with fringes covering the forehead and the brows.Some females have a chin- or neck-length bob cut with fringes covering the forehead and the brows, females with short hair are usually buddhist nuns or some ostracized members.

A shaved head is traditionally unacceptable in Ame society, as a shaved head is seen as too masculine or a sign of disease and therefore unfit to Ame communities.

Population

Unlike many other societies, Ame society traditionally discourages population growth, they value a stable number of population over population growth, having a child is a big issue of the whole village, people who want a child must discuss with everyone with the village through the village assembly(known as saga in  Ame language) and usually a person is allowed to have a child only if there's a person in the village who dies recently. Having children without the consent from all other villagers is seen as selfish and people who give birth to children without the consent of the whole village can face serious negative consequences.

As a result of their traditional view of population growth, Ame villages often have a larger surplus of food and thus they can afford more people to do something unrelated to survival.

There's a specific kind of fruit that stimulates parthenogenesis for mammals in Ame speaking areas called Hinai. It is a commonplace for Ame people to get pregnant by eating Hinai fruits.

[top]Marriage

All on-going sexual relationships in Ame culture are “based on mutual affection.” In the daytime, young men and women express their deep liking with each other by singing, dancing and other means. With the emotional foundation to some extent, women invite men to visit their rooms at night and to leave the next morning.

The emotional breakdown marks the end of the relationship. Mostly, children are raised in the mother's home and assume her family name, and the fathers are usually not involved.

The marriage system in Ame society is a pure system, and it is based on the love, without any social rules. Such marriage practice has many positive outcomes.

While it is possible for a Ame woman to change partners as often as she likes, few Ame women have more than one partner at a time. Anthropologists call this system "serial monogamy." Most Ame people form long-term relationships and do not change partners frequently. Some of these pairings may even last a lifetime.

The large majority of women know their children's fathers; it is actually a source of embarrassment if a mother cannot identify a child's father. The father of a child will not see his child during the day, but rather at night time. The father doesn't play as large a role in the development of the child. "At a child's birth, the father, his mother and sisters come to celebrate, and bring gifts. On New Year's Day, a child may visits the father to pay respect to him and his household. A father also participates in the coming-of-age ceremony. Though he does not have an everyday role, the father is nevertheless an important partner."

[top]Customs


Role of Cleanliness

Cleanliness plays a major role in the daily life of Ame people. It is generally believed that a dirtless environment and a clean body is a sign of moral integrity of a person, and it is necessary to not have dirts inside the living space of a family and to take bath regularly, as a result, even the most traditional dwellings of Ame people would not have a dirt floor.

Recent research has shown that the great majority of Ame people has germaphobia(i.e. they are "neat freaks") to some extent, but it is unknown whether it is the cultural habit that causes the prevalence of germaphobia, or the pre-existing germaphobia among the population gives rise of the big role of cleanliness in the culture.

[top]Religion

Ame religion is made up of two coexisting beliefs: their own syncretic faith called Hakeroism and the influence of Buddhism.

Hakeriosm
The traditional Ame belief is called Hakeriosm. Hakeriosm is a monotheism whose whose followers believe in a distant and unknowable supreme goddess Hakero, the Mother Sky. Ame myth holds that Hakero is the creator of everything but she does not intercede in human affairs, and thus followers direct their worship toward spirits subservient to Hakero, called kere.

Every kere is responsible for a particular aspect of life, with the dynamic and changing personalities of each kere reflecting the many possibilities inherent to the aspects of life over which they preside. To navigate daily life, believers cultivate personal relationships with the kere through the presentation of offerings, the creation of personal altars and devotional objects, and participation in elaborate ceremonies of music, dance, and spirit possession.

In Hakeroism, virtually everything can be a kere, and dead people also become keres, and the veneration of natural objects like mountains, stones, trees, and the sea, and the veneration of ancestors, are very common amon Ame people; besides keres have their own personalities like usual humans, and some keres are traditionally considered malicious and sometimes even evil and demonic.

The Amitabha Buddha of Buddhism has been syncretized with Hakero in Hakeroism; besides, Jehovah of Christianity has also been syncretized with Hakero in Hakeroism, and both of the Amitabha Buddha and Jesus Christ are seen as avatars in Hakeroism.

Traditionally, to venerate keres, Ame people use pots filled with water to symbolize them, they worship the pots with food and wines, and clothings and other things. The water in the pot is believed to reflect the power of keres, and become the target for veneration, and the pots mainly serve as vehicles to carry water that reflect the power of keres, that is, what is really worshipped is not the pots themselves, but water inside them.

Buddhism
Buddhism has started to play a larger role in Ame culture since the 14th century. Today Chinese-style Buddhism is the predominant religion, but it has been somewhat adapted to Ame society. Like the Buddhist population of Chinese-speaking areas, monastic Buddhists among Ame people don't eat meat.

Nuns offer prayers of thanks and prayers for the dead, offer basic religious and secular education to young children, and counsel adults. In families with more than one female child, one will most often be sent to be a nun, and the finance and the choice of monastic leaders of a buddhist temple are usually controlled by the local saga.

While the outfits for nuns and monks in Ame Buddhism are basically the same as the outfits for nuns and monks in Chinese-style Buddhism, nuns in Ame Buddhism don't shave their head, usually nuns get a bob cut instead of shaving their head when ordained, and some nuns in Ame Buddhism, like Menishimi, never cut their hair short at all.

[top]Language

The  Ame language is the traditional language of Ame people, it is written in a logography called Da Keitosaza mi Teisa Ame.

The use of the Ame language is still robust, it is still spoken by most Ame people of all ages living on the Nokema islands, most of them are monolingual in the  Ame language.

The Ame language is usually passed to daughters by mothers, males usually don't learn the language, and in the past, Ame speakers preferred to use other languages when talking to males or outsiders.

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