September 1, 2011

September 4, 2011: 38th Annual Chomato Memorial Ceremony in Obihiro, Hokkaido

A memorial ceremony will be held at Chomato, a pond sacred to the Ainu located in Obihiro. According to the Japanese wikipedia page for Chomato, the story behind the pond is that around 1800, the Kitami (or Hidaka) Ainu attacked the Tokachi Ainu for their treasures and women. The Tokachi Ainu were facing defeat but were able to push back against their attackers after praying to the kamuy. The Kitami Ainu retreated to the pond, and faced with nowhere else to run, they dove into the water to escape, turning the pond red with blood. 

Chomato Pond. Photo from Wikipedia

In 2004 the pond was filled in for the purpose of constructing the city road, making the pond also a symbolic place for historical sites sacred to the Ainu that have been sacrificed for the sake of development.

Before and after of filling the lake in. From Wikipedia.


38th Annual Chomato Memorial Ceremony

The Chomato Memorial Ceremony will be held at Chomato Park in Obihiro.

Date: September 4 (Sun)
11:00 - Silent Prayer, Greetings from Organizer
11:30 - Kamynomi Prayer Ceremony
12:30 - Break
13:00 - Lecture (Instructor: Jiro Sasamura)
13:30 – Traditional Ainu Dancing by the Obihiro Kamuyto Upopo Preservation Society

Location: Chomato Park
Kita 1-chome, Nishi 16-jo, Obihiro, Hokkaido

Organized by: Hokkaido Ainu Association, Obihiro Branch

1 comment:

  1. Forgot to mention, but "Chomato" is said to come from the Ainu "Ci /homa /to" meaning "we/ fear, receive harm/ pond, swamp" or "swamp which we fear (from which we receive harm)"