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Matagi also refers to an island in Fiji.

In Japanese, a matagi (又鬼・マタギ) is a group hunter using an old method in the beech forests of the Tōhoku Region and Hokkaidō. The matagi of Aomori Prefecture and Akita Prefecture are famous. Matagi are different from hunters with modern equipment. They have been involved with much conflict with environmentalists for their hunting activities. [1] Forests have diminished, and hunting Japanese serow (氈鹿、羚羊・カモシカ) is now forbidden in Japan. Matagi continue to hunt bear.

There are various opinions on the origin of the word matagi. The leading opinion is that the word developed from matangi matangitono (マタンギ・マタンギトノ), which means "the man of winter" or hunter in the Ainu language.

There is also an opinion that a word matagi previously existed in the Japanese language, and that the Ainu language borrowed it.


  1. ^ "Matagi: Hunters as Intermediaries Between 'Wild' and 'Domestic.'" Scott Schnell, Japan Anthropology Workshop, March 14, 2010


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