March 28, 2012

March 31 & April 1, 2012: Chorus Musical "Kaneto" in Tokyo

The chorus musical "Kaneto" is based on the life of Kaneto Kawamura, an Ainu that overcame discrimination throughout his life, working as a surveyor of Japanese railways and promoting the passing down of Ainu culture. The musical started in 2000 in Toyohashi, Ainu Prefecture, and was staged in various venues across Japan, include Kaneto Kawamura's hometown of Asahikawa, Hokkaido. This will be "Kaneto"'s Tokyo premier, and will feature Ainu singer Emi Toko and Hisae Kawamura from Marewrew as participants.


Chorus Musical "Kaneto"

March 31 (Sat) OPEN 17:00 / START 17:30
April 1 (Sun) OPEN 13:00 / START 13:30
Venue: Tachikawa Citizen's Center (Amyu- Tachikawa), Large Hall

Tickets: Adv 2500 yen / Door 2999 yen

Tel 080-6546-5422 (Minato) / 070-5451-4842 (Maruyama)



March 27, 2012

March 31, 2012: Research Seminar "Ainu Policy -From the Perspective International Law and Constitutional/Domestic Law"

Indigenous Peoples Research Seminar
"Ainu Policy -From the Perspective International Law and Constitutional/Domestic Law"

Speaker: Hideaki Uemura
(Director, Citizens' Diplomatic Center; Keisen University)

Date: March 31 (Saturday)
Time: 14:00-

Venue: Jinbocho Citizen's Center, Himawari Building, Room A
2-40 Kanda-Jinbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

10 minute walk from JR / Toei Mito Line Suidobashi Station
5 minute walk from Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line/ Toei Mito Line/ Toei Shinjuku Line Jinbocho Station

NPO Gendai no Riron /Shakai Forum Secretariat 
TEL 03-3262-8505


March 26, 2012

Marewrew on TV

Marewrew, the quartet of traditional Ainu singers, was featured in the NHK for School "Doutoku Document" program aimed at teaching elementary school students about social issues.

The program with Marewrew was the 17th of the series entitled "Wishes Upon Traditional Songs," and aired January 27 and February 3. The program is now available for viewing online here (unfortunately in Japanese only).

Marewrew will also be featured this week (Thursday & Friday, March 29 & 30) on the NHK E-TV program "Nihongo de Asobou" (Let's Play in Japanese) from 7:30 am to 7:40 am! Catch it if you have the chance! (Details in Japanese here)

REPORT: Gallery MOZART and Cafe & Gallery Pon-no

Yesterday I was able to visit the Ainu Traditional Craft Exhibit at Gallery MOZART and afterward have some delicious Ainu cuisine at Cafe & Gallery Pon-no.

The Exhibit at Gallery MOZART featured carvings by Mamoru Kaizawa,

Ikupasuy prayer sticks

embroidery by Setsuko Kaizawa,

Ainu Garment

as well as charming postcards drawn by Maki Sekine.


Works by other artists were also on display, and will be available for viewing until the 28th.

After seeing the exhibit, I headed to Kunitachi to get some good Ainu home cooking at Pon-no. Having tasted the delicious dishes at Cafe Poronno in Akan, Hokkaido, I was eager to try Emi Toko's version of her family's recipes.

Cafe Pon-no Sign

The cafe was quite busy with people not wanting to miss out on this limited opportunity to eat Ainu cuisine in Tokyo. In addition to a full menu of Ainu dishes, the cafe also had on display a variety of works by Emi's silversmith husband Ague

Silvercraft by Ague

I enjoyed the delicious Ipeanro Set (ipe=an ro is "let's eat") featuring amam (rice & other grains), yuk ohaw (deer soup - you can also order cep ohaw, salmon soup), rataskep (pumpkin mixed with beans and sikerpe (fruit of the Amur cork tree)), and an additional side dish of cucumbers with bonito flakes. 

Ipeanro Set with yuk ohaw

The soup was rich with flavor from both the venison and vegetables, and was topped with pukusa (wild garlic) for added emphasis.

I also ordered the potceimo (fermented potato cake), a unique dish made from thawing potatoes in the spring after freezing them in the Hokkaido snow through winter.


The cafe will be open only through the 29th, so don't miss this rare chance to get some delicious Ainu food in Tokyo!

(More photos from the exhibit are available in our Facebook photo album.)

March 23, 2012

REPORT: The Beauty of Tradition & Creation -2011 Ainu Folk Art Exhibit-

I was able to briefly visit the "The Beauty of Tradition & Creation -2011 Ainu Folk Art Exhibit-" that took place last month in the Tokyo Tower gallery (apologies for not posting pictures sooner).

The display space was a bit strange, being an open space directly connected with shops and food areas. The art was also exhibited in a more museum-like manner rather than as pieces of art. 

The upside was that there were several artists present demonstrating their craft and providing a chance for visitors to experience the creation of Ainu folk art themselves.

Ainu garments on display

Close-up of tray by Nobuo Yoshida

Iri-makiri (skinning knife) by Tahachi Urakawa

Matanpus headband by Machiko Kato

(More photos from the exhibit are available in our Facebook photo album.)

March 22, 2012

March 22, 2012: Ainu Culture Square in Sapporo Station Underground Walkway

There will be a showcase of Ainu culture held in the Sapporo Station Underground Walkway, featuring a discussions, performances, and displays from members of the Urespa Club, Ainu Art Project, and the Ainu Museum. The program is unconfirmed, but the details that are available are as follows -


Ainu Culture Square

Date: March 22, 2012 (Thu)
Time: 11:00 - 15:00
Venue: Sapporo Station Underground Walkway

11:00 Urespa Club Report on Activities
11:30 Urespa Club Traditional Ainu Dance Performance
12:00 Talk session with:
Hideo Akibe (Akan Ainu Industrial Arts Association)
Ikuo Yamamaru (Ainu Museum)
Koji Yuki (Ainu Art Project)
Prof. Yuko Honda (Sapporo University / Urespa Club)

13:00 Performance by Ainu Art Project
14:00 Traditional Ainu Dance Performance by the Ainu Museum

Displays/Exhibitions from various groups Urespa Club, Akan Ainu Theater, etc.


March 19, 2012

March 20, 2012: 25th Annual Ainu Culture and Human Rights Gathering


25th Annual Ainu Culture and Human Rights Gathering

In 1986, then Prime Minister Nakasone stated that "since Japan is a homogeneous country, the intellectual level is quite high compared to America." We the Kanto Utari Association sent out an open letter to the prime minister, as his words are in the same spirit of the assimilation policies forced upon the Ainu from the Meiji era. In order prevent this event from being lost in historical memory, we have held this event since 1988. We would like to consider the future of the Ainu people, through a firm understanding of our past and present.

Speech: "Memory of the Jomon" 
Did the Jomon end with the Yayoi -Ideas of Equality, Freedom, and Coexistence-
Speaker: Prof. Hiroshi Furukawa, Hosei University
Document Fee: 1000 yen

Date: March 20, 2012 (Tue, Holiday)
Time: 13:30 - 17:00 (Open at 13:00)

Venue: Kamedo Culture Center, 6F Meeting Room 2
2-19-1 Kamedo, Koto-ku, Tokyo (inside Camellia Plaza)
2 minutes on foot form JR Kamedo Station North Exit

Organized by: Kanto Utari Association
Contact: Maruko at 080-3471-0953


March 19 - 28, 2012: Ainu Traditional Craft Exhibit at Gallery MOZART in Tokyo

A new exhibit of Ainu art at Gallery MOZART!


Ainu Traditional Craft
-The Ainu Craft of Nibutani-
Kaizawa Folkcraft Exhibit

Date: March 19 (Mon) - 28 (Wed)
Time: 11:00 - 19:00 (17:00 on final day)
Venue: Gallery MOZART
YK Bldg 1F, 1-6-14 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo


March 16, 2012

March 16-29, 2012: Special Limited Engagement "Cafe & Gallery Pon-no" in Tokyo

For a special limited time, "Cafe Rera" in Kunitachi, Tokyo will transform into "Cafe & Gallery Pon-no," featuring Ainu food, drink, crafts, and special events. "Cafe & Gallery Pon-no" will be run by Emi Toko, the sister to Fukiko Goukon, who runs "Cafe Poronno" in their hometown of Akan, Hokkaido (in the Ainu language, ponno means "a little" while poronno means "a lot").


Cafe & Gallery Pon-no

Dates: March 16 (Fri) - March 29 (Thu)
Times: 11:00 - about 20:00 (last order 19:00)

Location: 1F Ile du Nord, 1-16-17 Higashi, Kunitachi, Tokyo
Tel: 042-510-0253
Ainu cuisine such as ohaw (stew with vegetables and salmon or venison), mixed-grain rice, potceimo (fermented potato cakes), rataskep (a mixed dish served at special occasions), etc.

Haskap tea filled with vitamin C, tea made from the fruit of the Amur cork tree, special roasted coffee from Makiko Urakawa, etc.

Works from art-Jewelry AGUE will be on display


Special Event @ Cafe & Gallery Pon-no

Unukar-Cafe Vol.1 
"Constellations of the Ainu"

Emi Toko & Astro Ninja Project

From a connection made at the Riwkakant Planetarium Concert last month, Emi Toko & Astro Ninja Project will present songs and stories related to Ainu constellations.

Date: March 17, 2012 (Sat)
Time: 15:00 - 16:00

Admission: 1500 yen (1 drink included)
Capacity: 15 people (reservations required)


March 15, 2012

March 16, 2012: 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. The next seminar will be held March 16 at 19:00:


Ainu Culture Public Seminar "Kiroroan"
"Making Ainu Language More Fun and More Important"

Until how long ago was it that someone preferred Ainu language rather than Japanese or English to communicate? Ainu language, important as a means of speaking with the kamuy; Ainu language, fun to use to sing by translating songs that were originally in Japanese or English. We will take this opportunity to learn and consider how Ainu and their Japanese neighbors should address the issue of the language of Japan's indigenous people.
Date/Time: March 16 (Friday) 19:00-20:30
Venue: Tokyo Ainu Culture Center
(3F Urban Square Yaesu, 2-4-13 Yaesu, Chuo-ku, Tokyo)

Instructor: Shoichi Fukushima (Resident of Shin-Hidaka Village, Hokkaido; Member of Shin-Hidaka Branch, Hokkaido Ainu Association)
Admission: Free (No reservations necessary)
Capacity: 40 people


March 14, 2012

March 14 - April 20, 2012: Ainu nenoan Ainu Exhibition in Kyoto

An exhibition on the Ainu will be held in Kyoto, including special events on particular dates (workshops require reservations, and unfortunately the cutoff dates for these have already passed). Please see below for details:


Ainu nenoan Ainu
"Human beings as they should be"

Bank of Yanagihara Memorial Museum 2012 Exhibition

Dates: March 14 (Wed) - April 20 (Fri), 2012
Time: 10:00 - 18:30 (Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, Holidays)
Admission: Free

Venue: Bank of Yanagihara Memorial Museum
(8 minute walk from JR Kyoto Station)
Tel: 075-371-0295

Special Events:

Ainu Culture Workshops
(1) Ainu Cooking Workshop, March 17, 10:30 (approx. 2 hours)
(2) Ainu Embroidery Workshop, March 17, 15:00 (approx. 2 hours)
Venue: Kyoto Area Multicultural Network Salon
Led by: Minamina Association
Admission (material costs): (1) 300 yen, (2) 500 yen
*Reservations required by March 7th 16:00 to Bank of Yanagihara Memorial Museum
Tel/Fax: 075-371-0295, E-mail:
Symposium and Ainu Dance Performance
"Ainu Living in the Present"
Date/Time: April 14 (Sat), 17:00 - 19:30
Venue: 3F Hall, Kyoto Shimogyo Ikiiki Citizen Activity Center
Guest: Sinrit-eoripak-aynu Kawamura (Head Curator, Kaneto Kawamura Memorial Museum),
Hisae Kawamura (Marewrew)

Flyer (in Japanese): 


OKI: Nukes and Revolutions, North and South

OKI is leading the OKI DUB AINU BAND around Japan as part of the -Revolution Year 1 Tour 2012-. Coinciding around the first anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster and the fears of nuclear radiation that followed, the theme of the tour as seen by the merchandise is "No Nukes":



(all images from OKI DUB AINU BAND's facebook page)

OKI has been active speaking out (including on twitter) against the use of nuclear power in Japan, and particularly against the Tomari nuclear power plant in Hokkaido - as seen in this report from the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, Tomari is home to one of the only two nuclear reactors currently remaining in operation. Indeed, soon following the disaster last year, OKI DUB AINU BAND released the following song and video in collaboration with Rankin Taxi:

Though they will be playing at an additional separate event in Shibuya on March 15, the -Revolution Year 1 Tour 2012- will draw down to a close tonight, March 14 (Wed) with a final event in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture. However, March 14 also marks the date that OKI's newest album goes on sale:

The new album, entitled "OKI meets Misako Oshiro: Kita to Minami (North and South)," is a collaborative effort bringing together and fusing the sounds of Ainu and Okinawan music. The CD will be released by Tuff Beats, and you can check out their page for further details (in Japanese only) as well as to listen to some sample clips from the album.

If you are interested in obtaining the new CD or any of OKI's "No Nukes" merchandise, please contact AINU PRIDE PRODUCTIONS.

March 5, 2012

Two Videos from YouTube

Here are two recent videos from YouTube:

First, a digest of kapiw & apappo's performance in Hokkaido from August of last year. Look for video from their performance in January 2012, expected soon.

Also available on YouTube is a look at the Ainu Shadow Puppet Project from December 2011.  As I was unfortunately unable to attend, the video thankfully gives a sense of the project and performance - hopefully they will have an encore performance soon!

March 4, 2012

Ainu at the Movies: Three Documentary Films in Theaters

Three Ainu-related films will be showing at various theaters across Japan this month.
Catch a showing when you get an opportunity:


"Haruzo: A Life Among the Spirits"

The documentary film "Haruzo: A Life Among the Spirits" (see previous entry here) is now making its way across theaters in Japan, starting in Hokkaido. English subtitles are still in the works, and so currently all scheduled showings in Japan will be in Japanese only. Dates are locations are below in English, please see the film's website for details in Japanese.

Daikokuza Theater, Urakawa, Hokkaido
Dates: March 3 - March 9, 2012
Tel: 01462-2-2149
*Special appearance by Haruzo Urakawa and Takashi Ukaji on March 3

Sunpiazza Theater, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Date/Time: March 4, 2012; 11:30 OPEN / 12:00 START
Tickets: Adv 1500 yen / Door 1800 yen
Tel: 03-6413-9590 (Cycloid, Inc.)
*Special appearance by Haruzo Urakawa and Takashi Ukaji

Dates: March 24 - March 30, 2012
Tel: 0422-22-3555
*Advance tickets available with postcards & mukkur

Theater Kino, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Dates: June 2 - June 8, 2012
Tel: 011-231-9355
Dates: June 30 - July 13, 2012
Tel: 026-232-3016

Cine Tokachi Prince Theater, Obihiro, Hokkaido
Dates: May (dates TBD)
Tel: 0155-23-4556

Dates: June (dates TBD)
Tel: 052-452-6036

Dates: June (dates TBD)
Tel: 0596-28-2875


New dates have been added to the ongoing mini-showings of the documentary film "TOKYO Ainu" in Nakano, Tokyo. All scheduled showings will be in Japanese only.

Mini-showings of TOKYO Ainu in Nakano

March 4 (Sun), OPEN 13:30 / START 14:00
April 8 (Sun), OPEN 13:30 / START 14:00
May 20 (Sun), OPEN 13:30 / START 14:00
June 10 (Sun), OPEN 13:30 / START 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


"Messages from Taiga"

"Messages from Taiga" is a documentary film on the forests and the indigenous people along the Bikin River in the Russian Far East. While the film's subject matter does not include the Ainu, the soundtrack is provided by OKI DUB AINU BAND, and the indigenous people in the region share cultural and social similarities with the Ainu.

The film will be showing in Tokyo on the following dates:

March 13, 2012 (Tue), 19:00-21:00 (OPEN 18:30)
March 28, 2012 (Wed), 15:00-17:30 (OPEN 14:30)
April 20, 2012 (Fri), 19:00-21:00 (OPEN 18:30)
*March 28 will feature a special guest from Russia

Tickets: 2000 yen (Reservations & advanced payment required)
*Details will be emailed upon reservation

Capacity: 35 persons

Address: Kagura Bldg., 3-13 Ichigayatamachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Access: 5 mins from Exit 5, Yurakucho Line/Namboku Line Ichigaya St 
8 minutes from West Exit, JR Iidabashi St / Exit B2a, Subway Iidabashi St
Tel: 03-6265-0580 / Fax: 03-6265-0581

Email info@kagurasalon with (1) date of attendance, (2) name, (3) email address, and (4) telephone number with the Subject "Showing of Messages from Taiga".

March 1, 2012

March 3 & 4, 2012: Anesar Sineupsoro -Ainu Songs & Traditions with Saki Toyama & Family-

A special event this coming weekend in Sapporo with Saki Toyama, a prominent huci (female elder) from Anecha, Urakawa, in Hokkaido together with her family representing a total of four generations that have carried on Ainu traditions. Saki Toyama is grandmother to Emi Toko and Fukiko Goukon (aka kapiw & apappo), who will also be participating in this event.

In particular, there is a special discount for foreigners to encourage them to have a chance to learn about Hokkaido's indigenous culture and history. 

Don't miss this unique opportunity!

Anesar Sineupsoro
~2 days of Learning Ainu Songs and Handiwork with Saki Toyama & Family~

The Toyama family has passed down Ainu traditions over many generations within the environment and community of Anecha, Urakawa. Saki Toyama, together with her daughters Keiko Kyuno, Midori Toko, Etsuko Hori, as well as her grandchildren and great-grandchildren have been invited to Sapporo to take part in an special opportunity to learn Ainu songs and handiwork.

Saki Toyama Profile:
Born in 1928, living in Anecha, Urakawa-cho, Hokaido. From a young age, she has learned upopo (singing), rimse (dancing), and handiwork form her daily life surrounded by many huci. She is active in preserving Ainu culture as well as participating in exchanges with indigenous people around the world. She is an expert in various handiwork and crafts, such as making emus-at (sword strap), woven bags, attus (tree-bark clothing), salmon skin crafts, woven mats, etc.

The first day will be a live performance with traditional upopo (singing) mainly from the Urakawa region. The second day will be a workshop where you can listen to the stories of Saki Toyama and her family and experience the Ainu traditions that were passed down through generations from hand to hand, mouth to mouth. 
(Anesar Sineupsoro : Anecha, one bosom)

Day 1: Upopo (Ainu singing) Performance
Traditional Ainu songs from the Urakawa region from Saki and her daughters as well as Ainu songs from Akan by her granddaughters Emi and Fukiko. We will also learn ukouk (singing in rounds) and all sing together.

Date: March 3, 2012 (Sat)
Time: 17:30 OPEN / 18:00 START
Admission: 2,500 yen (includes 1 drink; discount of 1000 yen for middle schoolers and below, discount of 500 yen for foreigners)
Capacity: 30 

Day 2: Talk & Handiwork Workshop
Making coasters with Ainu embroidery, making coasters with traditional weaving, making straps using elm bark. Toyama family members will provide instruction.

Date: March 4, 2012 (Sun)
Time: 10:30 - 12:30
Admission: 1,500 yen (includes cost of materials; discount of 500 yen for middle schoolers and below & foreigners)
Capacity: 50 (*Please reserve and inform us which workshop you would like to participate in)

Venue: Fair Trade Shop & Restaurant Mintaru (Kita-ku, Sapporo)
Reservations & Contact: Yanagi, tel: 090-2050-3139 / email: 
(On weekdays, please only call after 19:00)

Organized by: Anesar Sineupsoro Executive Committee
Co-Organized by: Sapporo Free School "Yu"

*Request for Donations:
We have invited Saki Toyama and family to Sapporo suddenly for this event, and thus have not applied for any grants for support. In order to encourage as many participants as possible, we have set the admission price fairly low. Since the family will be coming not only from Urakawa but also Akan, Tokyo, and Chiba, the transportation costs are quite high.

Thus we are making a call for donations for shares of 1000 yen (multiple shares welcome). We request that you send an email to with your name and address (we will send you a cost report) and make donations to the following account:
Account Number: Japan Post Bank 19070-38392631
Account Name: Hori Taeko

Anesar Sineupsoro
Executive Committee members: Kiyokazu Koshida, Kohei Hanazaki, Yukio Yamaguchi, Masahiro Koizumi, Hisako Nanao, Eriko Yanagi)