February 24, 2013

Report: 16th Annual Ainu Speech Contest & AINU ART at Hokkaido MOMA

The day started with a trip to the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, which was filled with many familiar faces and bigwigs in the Ainu community. Unfortunately photos were not allowed in the exhibit itself, so I have none to share personally... however, there are a few photos that others have taken that are shared on AINU PRIDE PRODUCTION's facebook page

It was an excellent exhibit starting with traditional crafts, particularly a thorough collection of exquisitely carved ikupasuy libation sticks and a look into the history of how woodcarvings of bears was introduced into Ainu culture. The exhibit also included the delicate embroidery of Mieko Cikap, abstract wooden shapes of Nuburi Toko, lifelike woodcarvings of Takeki Fujito, bold cloth designs of Noriko Kawamura, and more works from many modern artists.

The exhibit will be at the Hokkaido MOMA until March 24th, so definitely make your way there before it ends!

The Ainu Speech Contest began in the afternoon and ran for nearly 6 hours, featuring over 40 participants ranging from the very young in the children's division to grandparents in the adult divisions (which included both traditional oral performances and current speech presentations). It was reassuring seeing so many people putting such time and dedication to keeping the Ainu language alive. 

In addition to the two Ainu-related events, there were quite a lot of Ainu-related things we saw here and there - the most prominent being the display in the main underground walkway of Sapporo. 

Also the Super Kamui Limited Express train to Asahikawa... (kamuy means god/spirit in Ainu, not sure if it is appropriate to use for a train and/or in combination with "super")

Please come see our photo album on our Facebook page to see more photos from our Hokkaido trip!


February 23, 2013

Ainu Events in Yokohama, Ebetsu, Matsusaka - February 23 & 24, 2013

More Ainu events taking place this weekend, February 23 & 24, 2013!


Gathering for Ainu Cultural Exchange
Welcoming the Obihiro Kamuyto Upopo Preservation Society

See a performance of traditional Ainu singing and dancing from the renowned Obihiro Kamuyto Upopo Preservation Society

Date: February 23, 2013 (Sat)
Time:  17:30 - 20:00
Admission: Free

Venue: Yokohama City Education Hall
53 Momijigaoka, Nishiku, Yokohama

Organized by: Gathering for Ainu Cultural Exchange Executive Committee
Promoted by: Kanagawa Human Rights Center
Tel: 045-271-1455
Email: jinken@ro.bekkoame.ne.jp 


25th Annual Ainu Culture Festival
International Decade of the World's Indigenous People

Celebrate the Second "International Decade of the World's Indigenous People" as declared by the United Nations by learning about the indigenous Ainu people.

Date: February 24, 2013 (Sun)
Time: 13:00 - 15:10
Admission: Free

Venue: Ebetsu City Community Center
11-1, 5-chome 3-jo, Ebetsu, Hokkaido


12:30  Doors Open
13:00  Opening Ceremony
13:20  Ainu Traditional Dance (1)
(cultural preservation organizations from Mukawa and Samani)
13:40  Workshops
13:55  Special Performance by Ainu Performance Group MOSHIRI
14:35  Intermission
14:45  Ainu Traditional Dance (2)

(cultural preservation organizations from Sapporo and Chitose)
15:05  Presentation on Traditional Clothing & Finale

Registration: Hokkaido Ainu Association
TEL: 011-221-0462


18th Annual Takeshiro Festival

Come to the birthplace of the Takeshiro Matsuura, the man who came up with the name "Hokkaido," to learn about the Ainu people with whom he had established a special bond.

Date: February 24, 2013 (Sun)
Time: 10:00 - 15:30
Admission: Free

Venue: Takeshiro Matsuura Memorial Museum
383 Onoecho, Matsusaka, Mie Prefecture
(special shuttle buses will be arranged from Ise Nakagawa Station)


10:00  Opening Ceremony
10:25  Brass band performance by local middle school students
10:55  Learning from Takeshiro Matsuura: presentations from local 6th graders
11:15  Ainu Traditional Dance (1): Ankoraci Menoko Utar
12:15  Dance performance by local middle school students
12:25  Games and prizes with mascot character "Takechan"
13:00  Shakuhachi and koto performance by local cultural group
13:25  Mie Prefecture tourism campaign
13:45  Ainu Traditional Dance (2): Ankoraci Menoko Utar
14:40  Shongai Odori (Matsusaka traditional dance)
15:10  Finale

Web (in Japanese only):


February 14, 2013

Ainu Events for February 15, 17, & 18, 2013

Ainu events this upcoming week/weekend for February 15, 17, and 18, 2013!


Ainu Culture Public Seminar "Kiroroan"
"Ainu Culture and I –Working with Wood, Every Day-“

Mr. Kaizawa has created numerous works through the traditional Ainu art of woodcraft. His works embody the spirit of the artist, with a high level of aesthetics and technique, strength and gentleness. Join us to hear Mr. Kaizawa discuss his experience working with wood every day, and his recent efforts in creative expression.

Date: February 15, 2013 (Fri) 
Time: 19:00-20:30
Venue: Tokyo Ainu Culture Center
(3F Urban Square Yaesu, 2-4-13 Yaesu, Chuo-ku, Tokyo)

Instructor: Toru Kaizawa (Ainu crafts artist, currently residing in Biratori, Hokkaido)
Admission: Free (No reservations necessary)
Capacity: 40 people


Forum “Prehistoric Culture of the Far North –Hokkaido, Kuriles, Kamchatka”

Date: February 17, 2013 (Sun)
Time: 13:30 – 16:00
Venue: Asahikawa City Museum
1F Folk Study Room (3-7 Kagura)

“Fishing Culture of Kamchatka”
Shigenobu Sugiura (Furano City Museum)

“Archeology of the Kurile Islands”
Hiroshi Ushiro (Historical Museum of Hokkaido)

“Dwarf Legends and Establishment of the Kurile Ainu”
Takuro Segawa (Asahikawa City Museum)

Admission: Free
Capacity: 50 people
Please call the Asahikawa City Museum at 0166-69-2004 for reservations

Organized by Asahikawa City Museum and Furano City Museum

Download the flyer (PDF in Japanese):


19th Symposium on People of the Freezing Sea
(Subcommittee of 28th International Symposium on Northern Regions)

Theme: Learn together, play together

Lecture 1: “On the Bear Ceremony Held in Mombetsu 60 Years Ago”
Jirota Kitahara, Hokkaido University Center for Ainu and Indigenous Studies

Lecture 2: “Dance and Sing, Have Fun with the Ainu Language”

Date: February 18, 2013 (Mon)
Time: 13:00-16:00

Venue: Mombetsu City Culture Center
3 Saiwai-cho, Mombetsu

Admission: Free

Organized by:
Executive Committee for Symposium on Nothern Culture

Download the flyer (PDF in Japanese):


February 1, 2013

OKI & Marewrew Concerts: February 3-5, 2013

Also this weekend – catch some Ainu music with OKI in Sapporo and Marewrew in Tokyo & Yokohama!


Wind and Rock LIVE Fukushima CARAVAN

OKI will be the opening act for an event featuring a myriad of different artists from the Japanese music scene.

Date: February 3 (Sun), 2013
Time: OPEN 14:30 / START 15:00
(a pre-concert talk show will be held, OPEN 11:00 / START 11:30)

Venue: Sapporo Education Culture Center (Main Hall)

Tickets (all seats non-reserved):
Film & Talk Show 1800 yen
Concert only 5000 yen
Combined Film & Convert 6500 yen

Available through
Lawson tickets (Tel: 0570-084-001, L-Code 123407)
Ticket Pia (Tel: 0570-02-9999, P-Code 188-320)


microAction & Garden Grove presents
ideal vol.2



Date: February 3 (Sun), 2013
Time: OPEN 18:30 / START 19:00

Venue: Jack Cafe Basement, Yokohama

Tickets: Presale 2300 yen (+1 order) / Door 2800 yen (+1 order)

Organized by: microAction & Garden Grove


Lunar New Year Kariyushi 2013
Festival Party


Ikue Asazaki
Miyuki Hatakeyama & Ryuhei Koike

Date: February 4 (Mon), 2013
Time: OPEN 18:30 / START 19:30

Venue: Aoyama Tsuki Miru Kimi Omohu

Tickets: Presale 3800 yen / Door 4300 yen
(drink charge separate)


Lunar New Year Kariyushi 2013
-the 4 of us are idols-



Date: February 5 (Tue), 2013
Time: OPEN 18:30 / START 19:30

Venue: Aoyama Tsuki Miru Kimi Omohu

Tickets: Presale 3800 yen / Door 4300 yen
(drink charge separate)