A rare and exciting opportunity to experience Ainu culture in the US started earlier this week at the East-West Center in Hawaii.
“Ainu Treasures: A Living Tradition in Northern Japan” runs from January 20 to May 5 (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, and Noon-4:00 p.m. on Sundays) and includes several events featuring a myriad of Ainu artists and lecturers in addition to the ongoing exhibition at the East-West Center Gallery (1601 East-West Road Honolulu, Hawaii). I have listed some of the events below, but check out the East-West Center website for full details and updates. Be sure to also download the excellent handout they have put together introducing the different aspects of Ainu culture and the voices of the people involved in carrying on these traditions.
Sunday, January 20, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Exhibition Gala Opening including reception, invocation ceremony and art demonstration
Sunday, February 3, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk “Ainu 101: Japan’s Indigenous People”
Vincent Mitsuharu Okada, UH doctoral candidate in social welfare
Sunday, February 17, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Illustrated hands-on presentation
“Ainu: Teaching Young Learners the Importance of Preserving Culture and Language”
Terrina Wong and Naomi Hirano-Omizo
Sunday, March 3, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Performance Demonstration by Oki and Marewrew quartet, renowned Ainu musicians.
Ainu artists will performat the Hawai‘i Convention Center and in Waikiki, as part of Honolulu Festival. http://www.honolulufestival.com/
Sunday, March 10, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk “From ku=kor ikor (my treasures) to an=kor ikor (our treasures):
New Perspectives and Challenges in Ainu Art”
Nanako Iwasa, M.Ed. and doctoral student
Hokkaido University Graduate School of Education
Sunday, April 14, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk “An Illegal Dam Still Stands: The Nibutani Dam and Nibutani Village”
UH Law Professor Mark Levin discusses environmental action by Ainu villagers
Sunday, May 5, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Illustrated talk “Handprints of Our Ancestors: Curating an Exhibition about Ainu Traditions and Continuity”
Guest curator Koji Yamasaki, Associate Professor Hokkaido University Center for Ainu & Indigenous Studies, discusses his work with the Ainu community.