Tag Archives: ainu

Stories from the spirit world and heart of Ainumosir at Sakaimachi Garow 2/22

From Jen. Teeter,


Ainu Art Project founder, artist and storyteller Yuki Koji will be in Kyoto for the first time in years to share his new hanga (woodblock prints) and stories from the world of the spirits. Nagane Aki will also be performing on the mukkuri and tonkori and tea and snacks will come with entry. **English translation not available.
Stories from the spirit world and heart of Ainumosir (note the play on words in the Japanese title!)
2/22 (Saturday) 15:00 doors open 15:30 event starts
Location: Sakaimachi Garow (http://sakaimachi-garow.com/blog/?page_id=110)
Nearest station: Karasuma Oike
Entrance fee: 2800円(with reservation 2500円)
For more information contact: information@sakaimachi-garow.com

Thank you Jen!

Music in a Bamboo Grove

Earlier today, I joined the conservation group P.T.O.‘s activities in Arashiyama. We spent the morning preparing bamboo switches that will be used to repair the fences along the bamboo groves this autumn. These fences are important because they keep the wild boar out and prevent them from eating up all the new bamboo shoots in the spring. After we had finished our work we were treated to an unusual performance by one of our members. Here in the bamboo forest Aki Nagane played for us the mukkuri, a traditional Ainu mouth harp made itself from bamboo. Just watch this. It’s a special moment in a special place.

Stephen Gill‘s impromptu haiku at the end of the video was later revised as follows,


Here’s a simple translation:

Through you, oh mukkuri
I hear the language
of the grasses and trees.

Nagane-san added that as she played she was imagining both the growth of the bamboo and the water being sucked up along it’s height from the ground and right up to the top.

Clearing up the Mountain
People Together for Mt. Ogura – The Poets’ Mountain
One Hundred Poets on Mount Ogura, One Poem Each

Ainu Woodblock Prints Exhibition

Jen L. Teeter of Ten Thousand Things wrote to let me know about a couple of Ainu related events. First off:

Oki and his tonkori will be funkin’ up Kyoto Friday night at Club Metro at 10pm. Tickets 3000yen at the door, 2500 in advance (Ticket Pia Code = 339-170 and Lawson Code = 55616).


And then:

The Ainu Art Project will be displaying woodblock prints and embroidery work at Sakaimachi Garow, a beautifully maintained machiya in the heart of Kyoto from December 1st through 6th from 11am-19pm…. Each woodblock print has a story to tell about Ainu conceptions of coexistence with nature, each story encapsulated in one powerful image. The prints are available for purchase… The week of art, expressing the Ainu in modern society, will culminate with Ainu storytelling and a talk led by woodblock print artist and Ainu Art Project founder Koji Yuki, and a live performance by Nagane Aki on the tonkori and mukkuri, two Ainu instruments.

Reservations are required for Sunday’s December 6th’s performance from 3pm-4pm (Email- sakaimachi-garow@h8.dion.ne.jp).

Thanks Jen! Sakaimachi Garow is on the east side of Sakaimachi street, south of Oike. Here is a map with nice English directions. For more information, please go to the Ten Thousand Things website.

Actualize Ainu Self-determination Workshop

Jen L Teeter of Ten Thousand Things writes:


Image courtesy of Jen L. Teeter

All of us at 10,000 Things think your blog is THE BEST local blog. We will be voting for you! [ED: Aw, shucks! – The rest of you can nominate me here by the way.]

On another note, would you mind advertising this event? The Actualize Ainu Self-determination Workshop will be held at Kaze no Ne on Sunday November 22nd. I have been working with the Ainu-Okinawa wo kangaeru Kai for this event. We are inviting Kawamura Kenichi, a very influential Ainu rights advocate and political leader in the Ainu community from Asahikawa. We also will have a musical performance from Kano Rumiko of Oki Dub Band. It should be awesome. Plus, we are going to have simultaneous English translation. I will be helping a wee bit with that end. I have posted all of the information at Ten Thousand Things.

Since your blog has such wide readership, it would be a great help if you could advertise this for me!

No problems, Jen. Consider it done! Here is a map I stole off Jen’s blog:

Kazenone map
And here are a few more key details:

Date: November 22nd (Sunday)
Time: 17:30-20:00 (17:00 Open)
Fee: 1000yen, 500yen (student discount, etc. please ask if you have special circumstances)
*There will be a dinner with the guests after the event. Please stay and socialize if you are interested.


磔磔 is a live house I’ve been meaning to check out for donkey’s. This converted brewhouse opened as a coffee shop in 1974. In those days the master would spin a few discs for the clientele and there would be one or two live performances a week, but gradually the performances increased and it became the famous live house we know today. I was impressed to see the names of those who have performed here decorating the walls, legends like: Los Lobos, Screaming Jay Hawkins, The Staples Singers, John Lee Hooker… Last weekend I went to see some homegrown talent however; Soul Flower Mononoke Summit, and their guest Oki, an Ainu musician. It was a fun night, but I won’t waste words describing it for you (at least not here). See for yourself! Below is a video of Soul Flower Mononoke Summit after inviting Oki up on stage to join them.

If that tickles your fancy, you can read a review of Oki’s performance over on Ted Taylor’s fine blog Notes from the Nog, and you can see another video up here.

TakuTaku has live music almost every night. Check out their website for details. To find it go south from Shijo on Tominokoji Dori, the second road down is Bukkoji Dori and it’s just a little further on from that on the west side. Here is a most excellent map. Open from 18:00 ~ 23:00. Tel: 075-351-1321