August 31, 2011

September 4 - October 29, 2011: "Woven Identities of Japan: Ainu and Okinawan Textiles" Exhibit at CCJAC in Hanford, California

A special opportunity for all of you living in the US - The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford, California will be hosting an exhibition titled "Woven Identities of Japan: Ainu and Okinawan Textiles" from September 5th through October 29th.


"Woven Identities of Japan: Ainu and Okinawan Textiles"
September 4 - October 29, 2011

from CCJAC website

Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture
15770 Tenth Avenue
Hanford, CA 93230 USA
Tel: (559) 582-4915
Fax: (559) 582-9546

Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday 12:30 – 5 pm.
Closed on national holidays and during the month of August.
Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for students and active military service with valid ID.
Children 12 and under free.

Weekly docent tours are held Saturdays at 1 pm and guided group tours can be arranged by calling the Center in advance at (559) 582-4915.


September 3 - December 4, 2011: TOKYO Ainu Film Showings in Nakano

Mini-showings of the documentary film "TOKYO Ainu" are ongoing in Nakano, Tokyo. These showings are scheduled to be in Japanese only (no English subtitles).



Mini-showings of TOKYO Ainu in Nakano

September 3 (Sat)  18:00
September 4 (Sun)  14:00
October 10 (Mon) 15:00
November 3 (Thu) 15:00
December 3 (Sat) 18:00
December 4 (Sun) 14:00

Tickets: 1500 yen (no presale)
*you may use supporter tickets sent to you by the production committee

Reservations: Reservations required, as seating is limited.
Please make reservations through the online form.

2-17-9 Arai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo
*13-minute walk from JR/Tozai Line Nakano Station
*10-minute walk from Seibu Shinjuku Line Numabukuro Station

Organized by "TOKYO Ainu" Screening Committee
(Contact via Mail Form)


September 3 & 4, 2011: Ainu Traditional Dance @ Human Rights Forum in 2011, Tokyo

The Human Rights Forum is held annually in Tokyo that includes various events, displays, and performances. This year, the Human Rights Forum in 2011 starts from September 2nd and runs through September 4th, with speeches, a movie showing, and performances by various organizations. On September 3rd and 4th, the Rera Association will be performing Ainu traditional dance as a part of these events. 

The information provided here only highlights the Ainu traditional dance performance. For more information on the other events of the Human Rights Forum in 2011, please visit the listing here at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government website, contact the organizers (information below) or contact AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS for assistance.


Human Rights Forum in 2011
Let's build a century of human rights together
-Think of Other's Feelings, Develop a Spirit of Empathy-

September 2 (Fri) - 4 (Sun), 2011

Exhibit of Human Rights Messages from Celebrities and High School Students
Venue: Shinjuku West Exit Plaza Event Corner

Exhibition from September 2-4
9:00 - 20:00 (until 15:00 on the final day)

Ainu Traditional Dance Performance by the Rera Association:
September 3 (Sat) 13:30-14:30
September 4 (Sun) 10:30-11:30

Organizers: Tokyo Human Rights Promotion Activity Network (Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo Legal Affairs Bureau, Tokyo Human Rights Protection Committee, Association for the Protection of Human Rights)

Supporters: Human Rights Education Promotion Center, Tokyo Human Rights Promotion Center

Contact: Tokyo Bureau of General Affairs, Human Rights Department
TEL 03-5388-2588


September 3, 2011: Ainu Culture Festival 2011 Osaka

The Ainu Culture Festival 2011 Osaka hosted organized by the Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture (FRPAC) will be held this Saturday, September 3rd. It will feature a keynote speech from the head of the Ainu Association of Hokkaido as well as various performances and displays of craftwork. The performers include Team Nikaop, a group of young Ainu from various regions sharing their different traditions, and Marewrew, the female vocal unit with great expertise in traditional Ainu upopo (songs).


Ainu Culture Festival 2011 Osaka

Date: September 3 (Sat)
Time: 13:00-16:00 (OPEN 12:00 / START 13:00)
Venue: Matsushita IMP Hall, 1-3-7 Shiromi, Chuo-ku, Osaka

13:00 Opening

13:20 Keynote Speech
"The Path of the Ainu People -With a Focus on the Activities of the Ainu Association"
Tadashi Kato, Chairman, Ainu Association of Hokkaido

14:20 Intermission

14:30 Dance Performance
Niikap Ethnic Culture Preservation Society

14:50 Oral Tradition/Dance Performance
Team Nikaop

15:25 Music Performance

On display in the foyer 12:00-16:00:
* Embroidery by Keiko Takano (FRPAC-recognized Artisan)
* Wood Carving by Toru Kaizawa (FRPAC and Ainu Association recognized Artisan)
* Foundation-related Materials, Ainu Culture Panels, Ainu Craftwork

Organized by:
Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture
TEL: 011-271-4171 / FAX: 011-271-4181

Supported by:
Agency for Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Hokkaido Prefecture, Hokkaido Board of Education, Osaka Prefecture, Osaka City, Osaka City Board of Education, Ainu Association of Hokkaido 


August 30, 2011

Report on Levels of Cesium found in Hokkaido Marine Life

Following the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11 and the resulting nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima, radiation released into the environment and contamination of food has been a major concern among the Japanese public.

This report on the levels of iodine (I-131), cesium-134 (Cs-134) and cesium-137 (Cs-137) in Hokkaido marine life (such as pink salmon, chum/dog salmon, saury, etc.) was released by the Prefectural Government of Hokkaido and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare back at the end of July.

The report finds that cesium radition was detected in marine life in Hokkaido from April through July, while no iodine radition has been found. The levels of cesium per kilogram, however, are well under the government's restrictions of 500 becquerels per kilogram.

Although I cannot speak with expertise in this area, the fact that raditation levels have been detected is a cause for concern as it raises questions about its impact on the Ainu community (salmon plays a major role in both traditional and modern Ainu life), and to the Japanese public in general (that the radiation has travelled all the way to Hokkaido and also because it is a major producer of food).

Article on Special Exhibit at the Historical Museum of Hokkaido

This is a translation of an online article from the Asahi Shimbun Newspaper August 5, 2011 edition regarding the exhibition at the Historical Museum of Hokkaido (see previous blog entry). The link to the original online article is dead (Asahi typically removes articles from their site after 2 weeks I believe) but the content can be seen here at the “Indigenous-related News” blog in Japanese.

The exhibit at the Historical Museum of Hokkaido runs until September 25. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see the hohciri!


Sakhalin Ainu Forehead Adornment Hohciri Confirmed Domestically
On Display for the First Time at the Historical Museum in Sapporo Starting Today

from Historical Museum of Hokkaido

The “hohciri” was a unique and ancient practice passed down by the Sakhalin Ainu to decorate the forehead of young boys, but the actual objects could not be confirmed within Japan until now. The Historical Museum of Hokkaido (Atsubetsu-cho, Atsubetsu-ku, Sapporo) which received the donation, will put it on public display for the first time at the special exhibit “Ainu Life  Kuriles, Sakhalin, Hokkaido.”

The hohciri is a forehead adornment tied to and hung from a boy’s hair in the front. It is a tufted object made from beads strung together in a triangle, and was removed at around the age of 10 when the boy would hunt and capture his first prey. This practice was shown in photographs taken by researchers from Europe that visited Sakhalin approximately 100 years ago, but no existing hohciri could be confirmed in Japan, and it was only reported that such could be confirmed to exist at a museum in Cologne, Germany.

Masato Tamura (35), a curator of the Historical Museum of Hokkaido, learned that Yoko Abe (78), a Sakhalin Ainu living in Kawasaki with whom he kept in contact over the years, had what seemed to be a hohciri in her possession. It was something that she received from her childhood fried in Sakhalin, and Ms. Abe donated it “to be stored at the museum and shown to future generations as evidence of the culture of the Sakhalin Ainu.” Mr. Tamura and others proceeded with the confirmation process.

From the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, the theory that the Ainu were of European ethnicity was popular in Europe and America (later discredited), leading many researchers to visit many Ainu villages (kotan) inside and outside Hokkaido to collect objects of daily life. It is said that there are over 13,000 Ainu items in museums around Europe and America.

In the special exhibit, there are 152 items that have returned from the Museum of Ethnology in Germany. The hohciri donated by Ms. Abe and daily items that were owned by her grandparents are also on display. Until September 25.

(article by Masakazu Honda)


September 2, 2011: OKI DUB AINU BAND @ SUNSET LIVE in Fukuoka

OKI DUB AINU BAND will be performing at the 19th SUNSET LIVE 2011 -Love & Unity- in Fukuoka. While the event will be from 12:00 to 21:00 on September 2nd and 11:00-21:00 on September 3rd & 4th, OKI DUB AINU BAND will be on stage at 19:00 on the Beach Stage on September 2nd. A wide range of other famous artists will be performing at SUNSET LIVE as well!

You can find more details and information at the event website (in Japanese only), and if you require any assistance please contact AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS.


19th SUNSET LIVE 2011 -Love & Unity-

September 2 - OPEN 12:00 / START 12:30
September 3 & 4 - OPEN 11:00 / START 11:30

Venue: Keya Beach & Campsite, Fukuoka

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra
Izumiya Shigeru
... and more! 

For more information regarding ticketing, access, timetable, etc. please visit:


August 29, 2011

August 30 & 31, 2011: Ainu Culture Seminars in Tokyo (Week 2)

Week 2 of the "Ainu Culture Seminars" series at the Tokyo Ainu Culture Center will be held tomorrow and the day after. Details are below:


“Ainu Culture Seminars Week 2”

These seminars aim to help spread further knowledge about Ainu traditions by targeting educators and members of the general public that have some basic knowledge about Ainu culture and traditions.

Week 2
Venue: Tokyo Ainu Culture Center
Urban Square Yaesu (3F), 4-13, Yaesu 2-chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

August 30th (Tuesday)

“Observing the Casi (Fortresses) of the Saru River Region“
Instructor: Yoshihiro Nagata (Biratori Town Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum)

August 31st (Wednesday)

“Two Sakhalin Ainu that Went to the South Pole 100 Years Ago“
Instructor: Masato Tamura (Curator, Historical Mueum of Hokkaido)

Please contact the Foundation for the Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture to register for participation. Details and applications are also available here (in Japanese only).


If you would like to attend but require any assistance (language or otherwise), please contact AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS.

August 27, 2011

August 27, 2011: OKI DUB AINU BAND @ WINDBLOW 2011 in Sagara, Shizuoka

OKI DUB AINU BAND will be performing at the WINDBLOW Music Festival TONIGHT in Sagara Seaside Park in Shizuoka. The festival will be on from 11:00 am today and tomorrow, but OKI DUB AINU BAND is scheduled to be on stage at 18:00 TONIGHT.

Please contact AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS if you require any assistance.


Music Festival

Date: August 27 (Sat) & August 28 (Sun)
Time: 11:00 - 20:00

Likkle Mai
Spinna B-ILL
...and more!

OKI DUB AINU BAND on stage Aug 27 at 18:00

Venue: Sagara Seaside Park

For more information including ticketing, access, etc., please visit:
(in Japanese only)


August 27, 2011: Ainu Design Paper-Cutting Workshop with ToyToy

***UPDATE (December 9, 2011):
The details regarding the workshop scheduled for December 17 have changed. Please see here for the latest information.


The "Pure Ainu Artist" ToyToy (homepage in Japanese here) is holding a workshop TODAY August 27 in Sapporo on using paper to cut out Ainu designs. He is an expert in this medium, posting almost daily updates of the designs he has created and providing order-made designs. This is the 9th workshop in a regular monthly series. Apologies for not posting this information sooner, if you miss this one, don't worry there will be many more in the upcoming months!

Please contact AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS if you need assistance in getting more information or making reservations.






Ainu Design Paper-Cutting Workshop


Volume 9: August 27 (Sat)
Volume 10: September 18 (Sun)
Volume 11: October 15 (Sat)
Volume 12: November 19 (Sat)
Volume 13: December 17 (Sat)

Time: 13:00 - 15:00

Venue: Promise Sapporo Customer Service Plaza 2F
Shimizu Building, Nishi 4-10, Minami 2-jo, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
(TEL: 011-231-8771)

Participation Fee: 1500 yen (including cost for materials)

Please bring a pencil, eraser, scissors you are used to using, and any origami or paper that you would like to use.

All ages are welcome!

ToyToy will teach you the simple yet deep spirit of the Ainu forebears embodied in the designs.  Won't you try making Ainu designs? And perhaps send them as a gift to the disaster-stricken areas?

Reservations and Contact: ToyToy-Ya
Email:; TEL/FAX: 011-827-9436


August 26, 2011

August 26, 2011: Workshop with Haruzo Urakawa at Meiji University

Sorry for the late notice, but there is a workshop TODAY (this afternoon! in a few hours!), August 26 from 14:20 to 15:20 featuring Haruzo Urakawa as part of the ASLE-Japan (Association for the Study of Literature and Environment in Japan) 2011 National Conference. The conference itself is held from August 26 through 28 with various programs, and attendance is free.


What the Assimilation Policy Could Not Take Away
-The Nature of Urawaka and the Ainu Spirit Demonstrated in My Parents’ Lives-
(The Food Culture of the Mountains, River, Ocean; Craftwork; Kamuynomi, Icarpa, and Yayasama)

Date/Time: August 26 (Fri) 14:20-15:20
Venue: Meiji University Ikuta Campus, Central School Bldg. 6F Media Hall
1-1-1 Higashi-Mita, Tama-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa 214-8571
Instructor: Haruzo Urakawa
Facilitator: Yoshiko Kayano
Photos provided by: Isamu Sekido

Through the severe assimilation policies of the Meiji government, the Ainu people could no longer live their traditional lifestyle and it is thought that Ainu language and culture ceased to be passed down from parents to their to children. However, even if they were not passed down consciously as “Ainu language” or “Ainu culture,” the language, culture, and lifestyles developed over so many years was not completely lost. Fearing discrimination, parents no longer taught their children Ainu language and culture, and on the surface it appeared that the Ainu all assimilated into Japanese society. However, inside the home and in everyday life, Ainu language and customs, songs and stories, values and way of thinking were passed down as small “seeds” of memories into the hearts of the next generation.

This workshop focuses on these “seeds,” spread in the midst of the assimilation policies, and their whereabouts by listening to the story of Haruzo Urakawa, who is from Urakawa, Hokkaido and currently resides in Kimitsu, Chiba.

When Mr. Urakawa (born 1938) was a child, rather than go to school he would often babysit, help in the fields, and pass the time doing various kinds of work. From his father who worked in the mountains, he learned the ways of hunting and living in the mountains, and from going to pick wild plants and seaweed with his mother, he gained the knowledge and spirit of “food.” All of the things he learned by observing the way his parents lived their daily lives, continues to serve at the heart of the way Mr. Urakawa lives his own life. Kamuymintar (playground of the spirits), a facility he built near Lake Kameyama in Kimitsu, Chiba, was born out of the desire to provide a place where children could interact with nature and Ainu, Japanese, and people of other nations could come and relax. We hope that Mr. Urakawa would share with us at this workshop the “Yaysama” he sang at the 2009 summer festival held at Kamuymintar (“Yayasama” is Ainu for an impromptu song that reflects what the singer feels at that moment. It is said that Mr. Urakawa’s mother, who could speak the Ainu language, often sang this).


Excellent Article on Issue of Ainu Remains at Asia Rights Journal

On the same topic as our August 3rd blog entry "Thoughts Regarding Bones/Remains/Mausoleum", there is an excellent article entitled "Ainu People Call for Return of Indigenous Remains" at the blog of AISA RIGHTS Journal of Human Rights, Media and Society in Asia and the Pacific. Very informative and definitely worth a read:

Ainu Elder Ogawa Ryukichi and others outside the Hokkaido University ossuary
(from Asia Rights Journal article)

On a separate note regarding the translation of 納骨堂, interestingly enough the Asia Rights Journal article goes with "ossuary."

Documentary Film - Haruzo: A Life Among The Spirits

AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS is involved in a new project, the documentary film "Haruzo: A Life Among The Spirits" (original Japanese title: カムイと生きる) that presents the story of the Ainu elder Haruzo Urakawa. We are currently working with the producers of the documentary to assist them in working with Ainu artists in designing publicity material and we expect to work with them to produce the English subtitles for the film.

A facebook page and twitter account have been launched in anticipation of the film's release - although they are only in Japanese, please check them out!

We will also try to keep you updated on the progress of this project and provide you with further details as they become available for release.

August 25, 2011

Report: 42nd Annual Cip Sanke Ceremony in Nibutani

I totally dropped the ball on this one – I completely missed updating one of the major events of August, which is the Cip Sanke boat-lowering ceremony in Nibutani, Hokkaido. Cip is what the Ainu call their traditional wooden boats/canoes, and every August there is a ceremony to lower the boats into the Saru river.

This year, the 42nd Cip Sanke was held, drawing approximately 150 participants from all across Hokkaido and Japan. The weather and water levels were good, and about 120 of the participants took turns riding the 7 boats available for a 15-minute ride down the river for a stretch of 1.5 kilometers.

(photo & information from Tomakomai Minpo newspaper article in Japanese).

I apologize for not putting up a notification beforehand, especially those who would have wanted to participate! But don’t worry, it happens every year – I myself participated in 2002 and rode a cip down the river. They are quite difficult to steer, and take some skill to prevent from flipping over. If you are a novice, you will get wet (I definitely did)!


August 23, 2011

August 24 & 25, 2011: Ainu Culture Seminars in Sapporo, Hokkaido

A series of workshops and seminars on Ainu culture will be held tomorrow and the day after in Sapporo at the Hokkaido Citizens Activites Promotion Center ("Kaderu 2.7"). This is week two of the series, whereas week one was held July 27 through 30 (before we started posting events on this blog!).


“Ainu Culture Seminars Week 2”

These seminars aim to help spread further knowledge about Ainu traditions by targeting educators and members of the general public that have some basic knowledge about Ainu culture and traditions.

Week 2
Venue: "Kaderu 2.7" Hokkaido Citizens Activites Promotion Center
7th Floor Room 730
(Kita 2-jo Nishi 7-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo)

August 24th (Wednesday)

“Observing the Casi (Fortresses) of the Saru River Region“
Instructor: Yoshihiro Nagata (Biratori Town Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum)

August 25th (Thursday)

“Two Sakhalin Ainu that Went to the South Pole 100 Years Ago“
Instructor: Masato Tamura (Curator, Historical Mueum of Hokkaido)

Please contact the Foundation for the Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture to register for participation. Details and applications are also available here (in Japanese only).

We will be uploading details for the Week 2 seminars in Tokyo in a separate post.

If you would like to attend but require any assistance (language or otherwise), please contact AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS.

August 23, 2011: OKI @ Furidashi Matsuri Festival in Nagano

OKI will be among the many artists performing at Furidashi Matsuri Festival TONIGHT (August 23) in Nagano. The festival will be held at Oshika Furidashi Juku, in the Hakkakudo (Octogon Hall). The venue is in the mountains of Nagano, and so it is recommended that you take a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to get there.


Furidashi Matsuri Festival

Date: August 23 (Tue)
Time: OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00

Mofu no Tabi

with live painting by LEN
Venue: Oshika Furidashi Juku Hakkakudo
Tickets: Day of 2000 yen, Reserved 1500 yen

Contact: ANBASSA Takeru
 090-8328-7063 /


August 21, 2011

August 21, 2011: Kapiw & Apappo -First Live- in Kushiro

If you have a chance, definitely check out Kapiw & Apappo -First Live- at the Jazz Cafe This Is in Kushiro, Hokkaido TONIGHT, August 21 (Sunday).

Kapiw and Apappo are Emi Toko and Fukiko Goukon, two sisters from the Ainu village in Akan. Emi lives in Tokyo and is a renowned singer, while Fukiko is active in Ainu traditions while running the Ainu cafe Poronno in Akan. Having been raised steeped in Ainu tradition, both are excellent singers that will come together for the first time on stage for a rare performance.


-First Live-

Date: August 21, 2011 (Sunday)
Time: 18:00 OPEN / 18:30 START

Venue: Jazz Cafe This Is 
(8-1 Sakae-machi, Kushiro)

Admission: 2,000 yen (including 1 drink)

Contact: Arts Cafe Poronno, TEL: 0154-67-2159


August 21, 2011: Marewrew @ BLUE MOON 15th Anniversary Live

Marewrew will be performing at the BLUE MOON "beach house" in Hayama, Kanagawa as a part of the ongoing live performances and events held in celebration of the 15th Anniversary of the establishment.


Marewrew @ BLUE MOON 15th Anniversary Live

Date: August 21, 2011 (Sun)
Time: 19:00 
(*BLUE MOON will be open from 9:00 to 23:00, Marewrew will be performing at 19:00)

Isshiki Seaside, Hayama-cho, Miura-gun, Kanagawa

Admission: No cover charge, donations welcome


August 21, 2011: OKI @ Payaka in Hamamatsu

OKI, together with the artist Mofu no Tabi, will be performing at the shop/cafe Payaka in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka TONIGHT, August 21.


OKI & Mofu no Tabi LIVE

Date: August 21 (Sun)
Time: 18:00

Venue: PAYAKA 
4-19-12 Kamoe, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka

Admission: 2,500 yen (including 1 drink)


August 20, 2011

August 21, 2011: Kitahiroshima Ainu Culture Festival

The city of Kitahiroshima, Hokkaido will host an Ainu Culture Festival featuring the Mukawa Ainu Cultural Preservation Association.


-Learning From Ainu Culture-
Ainu Culture Festival

Date/Time: August 21 (Sun), 14:00 OPEN / 14:30 START
Venue: Kitahiroshima Arts & Culture Hall (6-2-1 Chuo, Kitahiroshima)
Admission: Free

- "Regarding the Local Interaction Program" 
   Minatachi Soga (President, Kitahiroshima Youth Healthy Upbringing Liaison Committee)
-"The Willow-Leaf Fish (shishamo) Given to the Ainu (humans) by God"
   Mikiko Katayama (President, Mukawa Ainu Culture Preservation Association)

Ainu Culture Presentation:
- Traditional Kamuynomi Prayer Ceremony
- Ainu Traditional Dance Performance
- Ainu Music Performance (Mukkuri mouth-harp)

- Ainu Culture Introduction Panels
- Ainu Crafts 

*Organized by: Kitahiroshima Youth Healthy Upbringing Liaison Committee
*Supported by: City of Kitahiroshima, Kitahiroshima Board of Education
*A Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture Program

Contact: Kitahiroshima Board of Education Youth Department (011) 372-3311