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Exploring the Indigenous Ainu Culture

A Day at Upopoy

Aired: July 16, 2021 (UTC)


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The unique culture of the Ainu developed over centuries with its own language, dances to honor and thank their deities, and a worldview that spirits dwell in all things. Recently, the Ainu peoples’ situation has changed dramatically. A manga series with a young female Ainu character, “Golden Kamuy” sold over 1.6 million copies domestically, and has been translated in over 12 countries and regions overseas. In 2018, the British Museum added new acquisitions to its permanent collection of traditional Ainu crafts. All of this has led to a rise in the popularity of the Ainu worldwide.

Meanwhile, Upopoy, the National Ainu Museum and Park opened in Shiraoi Town, Hokkaido in July of 2020. It is home to over 10,000 items as well as a Cultural Exchange Hall where traditional arts performances can be viewed, and a memorial site. Part 1 of the series begins with a traveler learning about the Ainu people’s history and culture.

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