Here are some plates of Sakhalin natives taken by Japanese anthropologist Y. Koya, from the photographic appendix of a 1937 book concerned mostly with the Ainu — an oasis of visual relief in a trackless wild of anthropometric tables (from Jugomandibularindex all the way to Häufigkeit des Vorkommens der Tuberculum Carabelli). There is something irresistibly captivating about these portraits — and all kindred photographs from that age of unsardonic, un-scare-quoted Rassenkunde. It resides in the pathos of bewilderment, or defiance, or minutely furrowed skins of tranquil resignation, and all the evocations of physiognomy: the recollection, like upward-writhing names on the tongue, of other faces, other islands — or, at the extremes of projection and concavity, sharpness and softness, the visage of a polar star.
The Orotschonen (Orochi or Orochs, not to be confused with the Oroks of Sakhalin or the Oroqen of Manchuria and Inner Mongolia) are historically Tungusic-speaking people originally from southern Khabarovsk Krai; shown here would seem to be some of the descendants of a 19th-century wave of migration to Sakhalin.
The Gyljaken (Gilyaks or Nivkhs), by contrast, are (or were) speakers of a “Paleosiberian” tongue (a jumbled grab-bag of North Asian languages rather than any sort of rigorously characterized family) who were much longer resident on Sakhalin but, like the Orochis, also inhabited the Amur River region of the adjacent mainland.