Exploring the Indigenous Ainu Culture
The Traditional Performing Arts
To the Ainu People, dance is not something only to entertain oneself or others, but also an expression of honor, respect, and gratitude to the Kamuy deities. This makes “Ainu Dance” very important to understand when examining their worldview and culture. A wide variety of dances developed over their long history, and were designated an important intangible folk cultural property of the nation in 1984 and registered as an Intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2009.
In this program, we will explore the allure of the Dances of the Ainu People through two members of the dance group at Upopoy of different backgrounds and experiences. We will also introduce dance group leader Yamamichi Hibiki, other members of various backgrounds, program instructors, and cultural practitioners of the many preservation societies in each region working to pass along their knowledge of traditional dance, who have helped them on this path.