Japanese Modernism Across Media

Transition of Ainu Culture through Japanese History

The Ainu are indigeneous people of Northern Japan. Their culture is different and unique from the Japanese culture, as they spoke their own language, had their own beliefs, and their own unique lifestyle. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the Ainu became naturalized Japanese citizens as their language, culture, and identity were taken away from them. From then up until the present, there have been people who identify as Ainu or descendants of Ainu who have been standing up to be a voice for their culture. My goal for this exhibit is to provoke even the smallest interest to raise awareness and understanding for this unique culture, as my family is from northern Japan.

The sections are mostly in chronological order after a brief introduction on Ainu culture, and the audience is recommended to view the sections in that order. 

“The Ainu live in the 21st Century, still remembering our elders freely roaming the wilderness of Hokkaido with a deep ingrained sense of harmony with nature. I would like to have the flesh and blood and the voices of these contemporary Ainu be documented in a film which will look into the heart of the Ainu living in this moment and weave their aspirations for the future.”

-TOKYO Ainu 


Maho Okumura, Bryn Mawr '16