December 19, 2011

REPORT: Forest Gallery & Concert @ Haponetay

Haponetay (Mother Forest) is a forest in Shimizu, Hokkaido (near Obihiro) that is run by two Ainu women – the mother-daughter pair of Rumiko & Utae Ehara. Haponetay is the venue for the yearly “Forest Gallery” which display works by Ainu and other artists in a forest setting. Other events such as workshops and concerts are also held at the forest during the period of the exhibit.  

This year, the artists on display were Shogo Yoshino and sayo, two young Ainu artists that are former members of the AINU REBELS and are currently AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS featured artists, as well as Koji Yuki of Ainu Art Project. The works of Ague, a silversmith who incorporates the Ainu designs of his wife Emi Toko, and Atsushi Hirata, a “Jomon”-inspired artist were also included in the exhibit.

A piece by Shogo Yoshino

A series by sayo
The concert held this year featured traditional dancing and singing by the Hunpe Sisters, a trio of Ainu women who in their own words look like hunpe (whales), and the rock-infused Ainu music of Ainu Art Project. Other local performers and a group of schoolchildren learning Ainu traditional dance also joined the concert as well.

Hunpe Sisters in action

(More photos are available on our Facebook page)

Next year’s event is already being planned, please contact us if you would like to learn more about Haponetay or the featured artists – or visit Haponetay’s website (in Japanese only) or follow them on twitter.

December 12, 2011

Jan 8, Feb 12, & Mar 4, 2012: TOKYO Ainu Film Showing in Nakano

New dates have been added to the ongoing mini-showings of the documentary film "TOKYO Ainu" in Nakano, Tokyo. The English version (edited and supervised by AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS) will be shown at 14:00 on February 12. All other scheduled showings will be in Japanese only.


Mini-showings of TOKYO Ainu in Nakano

January 8 (Sun)  14:00
February 12 (Sun)  14:00 (w/ English subtitles), 17:00 (w/o English subtitles)
March 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


Update on “Haruzo: A Life Among The Spirits” – Flyer, Trailer, and Screening!

As previously mentioned, one of the new projects that AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS is involved in is the documentary film “Haruzo: A Life Among the Spirits” (website, facebook, twitter).

The film is set for release in spring 2012, and they have released flyers for the film which have arrived for AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS to distribute (contact us if you want one!):

The back of the flyer is designed by the Ainu artist sayo, who is one of the featured artists of AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS. The icons and illustration on the movie’s website are also her designs.

A preview trailer for the film has also been released, and AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS is preparing now to work with the film’s producers in creating English subtitles for the movie (and perhaps an English preview clip as well?). Enjoy the Japanese version for now:

With the release of the trailer, the producers are organizing a special screening (no English subtitles) on December 25, 2011 at Kamuymintar, the “gathering place of people from around the world” run by the star and subject of the film, Haruzo Urakawa.

Details are as follows:


Special Screening of "Haruzo: A Life Among The Spirits"

Date: December 25, 2011 (Sunday)
Time: OPEN 11:00 / START 13:00 (116 min)

Amission: 1000 yen
*Includes deer stew (ohaw), red beans with mochi, rice ball
(served from 11:00)

Venue: Kamuymintar
3-1 Kiwadahata, Kimitsu-shi, Chiba
*By train, go from Tokyo Station to Kisarazu Station and
take the Kururi Line and get off at Kazusa Kameyama Station.
From there, take the community bus (Kameyama Line "Seseragi-Go" or "Kazekko-Go")
and get off at Nakanodai bus stop.
For additional access info (in Japanese) - 

TEL/FAX 03-6413-9590


December 10, 2011

December 20, 2011: Citizens' Coalition for the Decade of Indigenous Peoples 2011 Seminar

The Japan Citizens' Coalition for the UN International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples will be hosting a seminar to discuss the government’s policies on the Ainu people and how Japanese civil society should face this issue.


Citizens' Coalition for the Decade of Indigenous Peoples 2011 Seminar
Ainu Policy and Civil Society –Building a New Relationship–
Currently, the “Ainu Policy Promotion Panel” (Chair: Chief Cabinet Secretary) is considering the future of Ainu policy. The panel was formed in December 2009 upon the issuance of the “Final Report of the Advisory Council for Future Ainu Policy (July 2009).” Under the panel, the “Working Group on the Creation of Space Symbolizing Ethnic Co-Existence” and “Working Group on Survey of Ainu Outside of Hokkaido” were formed, and released their reports in June 2011. Then, on August 31, in order further study the reports from both working groups and work towards their realization, the “Working Group on Policy Promotion” was formed. Thus the second term of the Ainu Policy Promotion Panel has begun. Using the “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” as a guide, we hope to share ideas for what we must do for the realization of an indigenous peoples policy in Japan. We hope you will join us.

*Hiroyuki Nomoto (Co-Director, Ainu Education Joint Research Group; “Ainu Peoples” Political Group Preparation Committee Secretariat; Tokyo Metropolitan University)
*Hideaki Uemura (Director, Citizens' Diplomatic Center; Keisen University)

Date/Time: December 20 (Tue), 18:30 – 20:30

3F Urban Square Yaesu
2-4-13 Yaesu, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
*4-minute walk from Tokyo Station Yaesu South Exit

Admission: 500 yen (cost of materials)

Citizens' Coalition for the Decade of Indigenous Peoples Secretariat
Tel/Fax: 03-5932-9515


December 9, 2011

December 17 & 18, 2011: ToyToy Workshop & Mini-Concert in Sapporo

“Pure Ainu Artist” ToyToy will be holding a Ainu design paper-cutting workshop (December 17) and performing with his tonkori at a mini-concert (December 18) in Sapporo as a part of the “Come, See, Feel” event put on by Sapporo Style from December 13 through 18. The Sapporo Style event includes various other products displays and workshops as well.

*Please note that the previously publicized paper-cutting workshop for December 17 as part of the regular series at Promise Sapporo Customer Service Plaza will not be held.


Ainu Design Paper-Cutting Workshop

Date: December 17 (Saturday)
Time: 15:00 – 17:00
Admission: 2100 yen (including cost of materials)
Capacity: 8 people

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

ToyToy Mini-Concert

Date: December 18 (Sunday)
Time: 14:30
Admission: Free

Venue (for both Workshop & Concert):
Sapporo Style Passege 2011
Daimaru Fujii Central 7F Skyhall
2, Nichi 3-chome, Minami 1-jo, Chuo-ku, Sapporo

Sapporo Style Exhibit 2011 Executive Committee
Masayuki Motomura, Tel: 011-789-8880



December 8, 2011

December 17, 2011: Marerew's Year-End Party

Ainu song quartet Marewrew will be having a year-end concert in Tokyo featuring a wide array of special guests, including tonkori master OKI!


Marerew's Year-End Party

Date: December 17, 2011
Time: OPEN 17:00 / START 18:00


With special guests:
OKI (tonkori)
Shigeri Kitsu (song/shamisen/taiko) & Kasumi Watanabe (koto)
Yoshie (belly dance)
Salam Unagami (DJ)
Alaya Vijana
<Daikichi Yoshida (sitar), Junko Sato (vocal), Akira Fujieda (guitar), Ayako Ikeda (tabla)>
Sitar Oji (cheer)

Venue: CAY
SPRIAL B1, 5-6-23 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Tickets: 2000 yen

Chikar Studio – email:
CAY – Tel: 03-3498-5790, email:

*When emailing, please put “12/17 Reservations” as your subject line and include your name, number of people, and telephone number in the body of your email.


December 7, 2011

AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS @ College Women's Association of Japan Luncheon

The College Women's Association of Japan is a non-profit organization of Japanese and non-Japanese women promoting education and cross-cultural exchange, providing scholarships and organizing an annual Print Show. One of the organization's activities is also to hold a monthly luncheon with speakers and guests on a given topic.

AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS had the honor of being invited to speak at the luncheon, and we were able to put together a program with renowned Ainu artist and activist Shizue Ukaji, dancer and performer Naoko Tateshita (formerly of AINU REBELS) and myself (head of AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS, W. Lonnie Ding-Everson).

The program included an introduction to the Ainu people, their history, culture, and current situation, including the story of the Ainu community in Tokyo. We were also able to present on several of the activities and projects undertaken by AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS.

This was followed by a question and answer session with Shizue Ukaji and Naoko Tateshita, who provided two different perspectives of their experiences as Ainu women from Hokkaido currently living in Tokyo – Shizue Ukaji as an elder who has lived in Tokyo for several decades, and Naoko Tateshita as a younger member of the community that left Hokkaido just a few years ago.

Following the Q&A session, Naoko Tateshita treated the participants to a performance of several traditional songs and dances, and at the end everyone joined in for a round of poro rimse (big circle dance).

(Photos courtesy of CWAJ. More photos are available on our Facebook page).

The event also featured a display of Shizue Ukaji’s embroidery work, which she uses in a unique fashion to illustrate traditional Ainu stories.

AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS sincerely appreciates the work of the organizers in putting the program together, and is grateful for the opportunity to share the stories and experiences of the Ainu people as well as the work of AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS.


December 16 & 17, 2011: Ainu Culture Seminars in Shiga

The Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture’s "Ainu Culture Seminars" series will be held in two cities in Shiga on December 16 and 17. Details are below:


"Ainu Culture Seminars” (Shiga Venue)

The Ainu are indigenous to Hokkaido and northern Japan, with a unique culture.

We will be holding seminars to spread further understanding on Ainu history, traditions, and culture for educators or people interested in the Ainu through their connections with the great explorer Takeshiro Matsuura or Omi merchants.

The series includes four seminars over two days, bringing lecturers active in promoting Ainu culture. We await your participation.

December 16 (Friday) in Takashima

Venue: Takashima Citizen’s Hall (Shimin Kaikan)
1-3-1 Nakanuma, Imazu-cho, Takashima, Shiga
Tel: 0740-22-1764
*3 minute walk from East exit, JR Omi-Imazu Station

Capacity: 60 people


09:30 – 10:40
Seminar 1: “The Sprit of Takeshiro Matsuura, the Explore that Loved the Ainu”
Mei Yamamoto (Curator, Takeshiro Matsuura Memorial Museum)

11:00 – 12:00
Seminar 2: “Keepers of Ainu Culture and Passing Down to the Next Generation”
Naomi Shimazaki (Ainu Cultural Activities Advisor)

December 17 (Saturday) in Omihachiman

Venue: Omihachiman City Human Rights Center
4-4-4 Minami, Takakai-cho, Omihachiman, Shiga
Tel: 0748-37-8890
*5 minute walk from South exit, JR Omihachiman Station

Capacity: 60 people


13:30 – 15:00
Seminar 3: “The Land of the North that the Omi Merchants Aimed For”
Tadashi Takahashi (Head, Ainu Culture Center)

15:10 – 16:40
Seminar 4: “Teaching Yukie Chiri”
Naomi Shimazaki (Ainu Cultural Activities Advisor)

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

Organized by: Foundation for Research and Promotion of Ainu Culture

Supported by: Takashima City, Takashima Board of Education, Omihachiman City, Omihachiman Board of Education, Hokkaido Government, Hokkaido Ainu Association


December 16, 2011: Ainu Culture Public Seminar "Kiroroan"


Kiroroan means "happy" or "fun" in the Ainu language, and is the title of the Ainu Culture Public Seminar series regularly held by the Tokyo Ainu Culture Center (see previous entries here and here). The details for the December seminar are as below:


Ainu Culture Public Seminar "Kiroroan"
"The Path of the Ainu in Tokyo from the Eyes of a Sisam

Prior to the Tokyo Ainu Culture Center being built, the Ainu community in Tokyo left a definite mark through its many various activities. Inviting Mr. Taniguchi, who has taken part in these such activities over the years as a sisam (non-Ainu Japanese) and a member of the Pewre Utari Association, we hope to learn about the path the community has come and the possible path it may take with the current development of national policy based on the “Survey on Ainu Outside of Hokkaido.”

Date/Time: December 16 (Friday) 19:00-20:30
Venue: Tokyo Ainu Culture Center
(3F Urban Square Yaesu, 2-4-13 Yaesu, Chuo-ku, Tokyo)

Instructor: Shigeru Taniguchi (Member, Pewre Utari Association)
Admission: Free (No reservations necessary)
Capacity: 40 people


December 16, 2011: OKI DUB AINU BAND @ Hama Jam Festival Vol. 44 in YOKOHAMA

OKI DUB AINU BAND will be playing in Yokohama!


Hama Jam Festival Vol. 44 –CHANT DOWN BABYLON–

Date: December 16 (Sat)
Time: OPEN 18:30 / START 19:30



Yokohama Thumbs Up

Tickets: ADV 3000 yen / DOOR 3500 yen
Order tickets here (in Japanese only)

Info: Yokohama Thumbs up
Tel: 045-314-8705


Ainu Art at Gallery MOZART

In the past few years, Gallery MOZART in Tokyo has been active in supporting Ainu artists by hosting a variety of Ainu art exhibits. This year as well, they hosted the exhibit “To the Sky” with works by Mieko Cikap from September 5 through 17, as well as works by such Ainu artists as Shizue and Ryoko Ukaji, Toru and Koji Kaizawa, Satoru Kawakami, Harumitsu and Sachiko Sawai.

I visited Gallery MOZART on September 10 earlier this year to see the Mieko Cikap exhibit. Her embroidery was dynamic and powerful, interweaving vibrant strands of color in traditional yet contemporary designs.

I purchased a copy of “The World of Mieko Cikap -A Collection of Ainu Embroidery and Poems” available at the exhibit, which includes beautiful photographs of her work against natural backdrops, together with her poems contemplating the various aspects of nature and life.

(Please contact AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS if you are interested in obtaining a copy of this book).

On October 20th I was also able to visit the gallery to catch the exhibit of Ainu crafts by the “Modern Ainu Research Group” (October 17 through 22), a collective of several different artists who not only make traditional embroidery and woodcarving but attempt to incorporate more modern designs and forms into their work.

More photos from both exhibits are available on our Facebook page, so please visit to take a look at the whole range of beautiful works!

Also, don’t forget to catch the upcoming exhibit of Koji Yuki’s works at Gallery MOZART runningfrom December 12 through 22.

Gallery MOZART entrance

December 6, 2011

December 12 - 22, 2011: Koji Yuki Exhibit at Gallery MOZART in Tokyo

There will be an exhibit of the works of Koji Yuki, a famous Ainu artist, musician, and activist that is the leader of the group Ainu Art Project. The exhibit will be at Gallery MOZART, which has featured a variety of Ainu artists this year and has many Ainu artist exhibition scheduled for next year as well.


Koji Yuki Works Exhibit

Date: December 12 (Mon) - 22 (Thu)
Time: 11:00 - 19:00 (17:00 on final day)
Venue: Gallery MOZART
YK Bldg 1F, 1-6-14 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

Rap of memories   Flying freely
Rap of memories   Beyond time
Rap of memories   Light and shadows
Rap of memories   The world of stories

(rap = wings)


December 11, 2011: ToyToy at "Honmani O-kini Festival 2011"

“Pure Ainu Artist” ToyToy will be performing with his tonkori at a festival in Koka, Shiga this Sunday alongside various cultural and musical performances.


Honmani O-kini Festival 2011
People Gathering, People Laughing, Life Shining
-15th Anniversary Event of City Exchange Between Koka & Konan, Shiga and Mukaino & Tondabayashi, Osaka

Date: December 11 (Sunday)
Time: 10:40 – 16:40

Venue: Shinobinosato Purara
600 Ryuboshi, Konan-cho, Koka-shi, Shiga
Tel: 0748-86-8118 Fax: 0748-86-8119
ToyToy will be performing at the “Let’s Live Kindly Talk Concert” from 15:00 to 16:40 together with Amaria (synthesizer and African drums) and Ryuta Shiroma (Okinawan sanshin).

Inquiries: Asuparu Koka
Tel: 0748-65-4020 Fax: 0748-65-4021

Organized by:
Executive Committee for Exchange Between Koka & Konan and Mukaino & Tondabayashi, Osaka / Koka City / Konan City / Koka & Konan Human Rights Center