Ainu’s traditional dance at the Tokyo Olympics

I have never seen Ainu dance like this!! This is a special dance performance created for the Tokyo Olympics.

I knew that some Ainu people from each region  had practiced for a few years before 2020 to perform at the opening ceremony but the Ainu dance was eliminated from the program in the winter of 2020 because of the time limitation, according to a newspaper I read.

After postponing one year due to the pandemic, Ainu dancers gathered with more participants from each region in Sapporo, where the marathon races took place.

In each region has unique Ainu pattern. Please pay attention to the clothes when you watch all videos.

Ainu doesn’t have a written language, so dances have an important role in communication. What do you see from the dance?

No translation needed. Just feel and think, and enjoy.

Stage 1 | Tomakomai | August 5th, 3pm

Stage 2 | Sappro | August 5th, 7pm

Stage 3 | Mixed regions | August 6th, 3:30pm​

Stage 4 | Biratori&Urakawa | August 7th, 5:50am

Stage 5 | Obihiro & Lake Akan | August 8th, 6am

These are 30 seconds TV commercials from different regions.

Biratori

Tokyo/Nibutani *Nibutani is a region in the town of Biratori

Shiraoi

Lake Akan & Obihiro

Sapporo

Ainu documentaries on NHK World

I’d like to introduce you to some new documentaries on NHK World. NHK is the public broadcaster in Japan. It’s free! Please watch before they’re disappeared. 

Rediscovering Ainu Heritage Part1 and Part2

It’s about the lives of young people who have Ainu roots. Mai Ishihara has a mixed ethnic background and identifies herself as a Hidden Ainu. Daiki Kuzuno learns the Ainu language from a Japanese man who had learned the Ainu language from Daiki’s grandfather.

Ainu Culture in Asahikawa

It features Marewrew, three Ainu singers who mostly sing Upopo, which is singing in a round. This is a beautiful short documentary.

Giving a Voice to Minorities: Fukunaga Takeshi

This is an interview with Mr. Takeshi Fukunaga, who made Ainu Mosir, which won Best Feature at the Guanjuato International Film Festival, and Best Narrative Feature (Special Jury Mention) at the Tribeca Film Festival. This interview contains behind the camera information and why he decided to make this film.

Two Ainu films on Nippon Connection Film Festival

Sorry about the short notice. Remember? Ainu – Indigenous People of Japan was selected on the Nippon Connection Film Festival 2020 in Germany last year, and Replay! this year?

This year, it’s happening right now, again online so you can watch some films.

They included two Ainu films. Please check this out.

  1. Ainu Neno An Ainu – it’s shot in the town Biratori where I filmed too. You will see familiar faces. World premiere. I met the director when I was filming over there.
  2. Ainu Mosir *This one is not available in the US but you can watch it on Netflix. The director’s interview is on Youtube (only available until June 6, so hurry!) I also met the director at Biratori when he was doing script scouting. It’s a well-done narrative and the first film that Ainu people (non-professional actors) play the main role.

Japanese Radio Exercise in Ainu Language

How many of you know about the Japanese Radio Exercise number1 (This link is the English version)

In general, everybody who grew up in Japan learned this exercise at school. According to the Wikipedia, the current version started in 1951. I had practiced this exercise at least for 12 years at school.

Now, we have the Ainu language version! The narrator of this clip is Kenji Sekine, the translator/supervisor for “Ainu- Indigenous People of Japan” Great job Kenji-san!

The final Ainu sentence of the video is “tanto ka arikiki anro.” It means “Let’s give it our best today” or I could translate it little more casually, “Have a nice day.” Hope you like the exercise!! 

I found the transcription in below from the website of  Foundation for Ainu Culture

© Foundation for Ainu Culture
© Foundation for Ainu Culture

#PasstheBrushChallenge

I have something really fun and interesting to share today!

Like everyone around the world, I have been physically isolated and haven’t had any social activities for almost two months because of the novel corona virus. I have found a lot comfort in watching the funny and cool challenges that people are doing on social media.

Among them, I found the Ainu version of #PasstheBrushChallenge.

It’s posted on a Facebook page called moymoye, which means ‘move’ in Ainu.

The women in the video are all look amazing and have nice smiles. I was so happy to find some familiar faces in Hokkaido. I was also really excited to see all the different kinds of beautiful Ainu outfits that came up one after another. The idea to pass on the brush is really awesome!

Here is the video.

The cool music is by OKI, a professional Ainu musician who has released many albums. According to the administrator of moymoye, they said OKI is the one who chose the music. This particular music “DUB ARROW” is an electric arrangement from a traditional song/dance Ku Rimse or Arrow dance.

I researched a bit about the challenge and found it was started by a user on TIKTOK. For over a decade, I have been more interested in citizen media, as opposed to commercial media. I think it’s a good thing when people can easily express themselves and share their message to a mass audience.

You can also find the Mohawk version, Native American version and more by searching hashtag #PasstheBrushChallenge and #MakeupBrushChallenge.