The Okhotsk culture is an archaeological coastal fishing and hunter-gatherer culture of the lands surrounding the Sea of Okhotsk (600–1000 CE in Hokkaido, until 1500 or 1600 CE in the Kurils): the Amur River basin, Sakhalin, northern Hokkaido, the Kuril Islands, and Kamchatka. It appears to have spread outwards from the Amur River region, only to be partially absorbed or pushed back by the Satsumon culture spreading north from Japan, but nevertheless surviving, for example, in the Nivkh of Sakhalin and the Amur and in Itelmen of Kamchatka. The historical Ainu people appear to have retained a strong element of the Okhotsk, but the Satsumon culture, and perhaps language, appears to have dominated the mix of people who contemporaneously became known as the Ainu. Fundamental Okhotsk elements remained, however, such as the bear cult.
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