Salmon skin as shoes, seal fur as heat-tech jacket.
Staring at the artifacts displayed in front of me, I marveled at this curious culture that I had never imagined exist in Japan.
That was back in 2010, my first ever time visiting Hokkaido, and also the first time I was brought to a small Ainu museum called the Pirka Kotan by my host family in Sapporo. Back then, I barely understood the Japanese language, let alone to fully comprehend such a deep, indigenous culture.
10 years later, Upopoy, the National Ainu Museum and Park–also the first ever national museum to be opened in Hokkaido–was officially established in Shiraoi Town as a symbolic space for ethnic harmony in Japan. Never did I expect the Ainu culture to have been revived so extensively in a decade. read more