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Exploring the Indigenous Ainu Culture

Succession of Craftwork

Aired: August 13, 2021 (UTC)


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Living in harmony with the harsh, but beautiful and vast wilderness of Hokkaido since ancient times, the Ainu people thrived by hunting, gathering, and farming. Their lifestyle gave rise to items such as the “Makiri” knife and “Ita” wooden tray, which would come to symbolize traditional Ainu culture.

In 2013, the traditional Ainu crafts of “Attus” woven bark and “Ita” wooden trays from Nibutani were recognized as traditional crafts. However, with the decline in the number of artisans and the lack of successors, how to best pass on traditional craftsmanship to the next generation is becoming a pressing issue.

In this program, we shine a spotlight on Biratori, Nibutani and the Lake Akan Ainu Kotan settlement, two areas with legacies of rich Ainu philosophy and culture, including artisans carrying on traditional craftsmanship in Nibutani, and artisans searching for ways to create new Ainu crafts in Akan.

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