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Prayers for Kamuy

The Indigenous Ainu of Shiranuka

Aired: February 6, 2020 (UTC)


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Japan’s second largest island, Hokkaido, is home to roughly 16,000 Ainu, an indigenous people of Japan. In this program, we visit Shiranuka, a town surrounded by rich nature in eastern Hokkaido. Throughout history, the abundant catch of salmon, crab, octopus, and shishamo smelt from the Pacific Ocean has attracted many Ainu to this region. Now, the Ainu of Shiranuka live no differently from the other Japanese townspeople. At the same time, the entire town is united in their efforts to preserve Ainu traditions passed down for generations, and traditional Ainu events continue to be held year-round. The traditions that the Shiranuka Ainu Culture Preservation Society are determined to keep alive reflect the Ainu’s deep appreciation of nature and respect for others, and send an important message to all of us living in the modern world.

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