Indigenous people living in the present Ainu The future drawn beyond the conflict August 26, 18:11

"I want you to know that you are living here now," said a


Japanese indigenous Ainu man.



At the Tokyo Olympics, which advocated the idea of ​​"diversity and harmony," we performed traditional dance at the competition venue in order to send a message of minority to the world.



It contained the earnest desire of the Ainu family to know the history.


(Muroran Broadcasting Station Reporter Ayaichi Nakao / Good Morning Japan Director Mari Nakata)

Disseminating Ainu culture as an opportunity for the next

August 8th, the last day of the Tokyo Olympics.



In Sapporo, a tense group was waiting for the opening ceremony before the start of the men's marathon.



These dancers are dressed in Ainu folk costumes and perform traditional dances as a tournament official program.

Taichi Kaizawa (50), one of the core members, enthusiastically headed to the stage,



"I want to create a stage that can deliver the heat of this site



."

What I expressed is the "spirituality of the Ainu," in which the god dwells in the universe and respects everything.



"Black-haired dance" depicts a long-haired woman shaking her head violently and pine trees shaking in a storm.


"Bow dance" conveys the appearance of a hunter who was fascinated by the beauty of birds and did not shoot an arrow.

We performed songs and dances that are handed down in the area on the stage for about 40 minutes.

Taichi Kaizawa


"It was great that we were appealed for our existence in a friendly way because it was cool and beautiful. I don't think this is all, but I think it was a catalyst for the next step."

Family struggling with history

Taichi was born and raised in Biratori, Hokkaido.


It is still an area where many Ainu people live.

The Ainu people who have lived in Hokkaido and Sakhalin for a long time.


I have lived on hunting and fishing as my livelihood.



However, the environment changed completely due to the policy of the Meiji government.

Being chased from the land, unique culture and customs are also prohibited.



Ainu language and traditional customs were rapidly lost due to assimilation policies, such as being required to learn Japanese at school.



Many people are deprived of their livelihoods and fall into poverty, and have suffered from prejudice and discrimination in employment and marriage.

Taichi's grandfather, Tadashi (79 years old) and father, Koichi (75), have faced this history.

Mr. Tadashi, who was trying to restore the dignity and rights of the Ainu people, said he lamented that "the forest was devastated by the over-cutting of settlers" during his lifetime.



Determined to regain the forest in the hands of the Ainu people.

I continued to plant trees throughout my life.

It was Koichi who took over that intention.



In the dam construction plan for the Saru River that flows through Biratori Town, the rocky mountains that the Ainu people have been worshiping and the fields that were desperately cleared will be submerged due to dam development, and the "Nibutani Dam" trial that dissatisfied with land expropriation was held. I fought as one of the plaintiffs.



In 1997, a court recognized the Ainu as indigenous and ruled that a country lacking cultural consideration was illegal.

After that, in Japan, the Ainu people were first specified as "indigenous peoples" in the "Ainu Policy Promotion Law" that came into effect two years ago.



Recently, the Ainu culture has been attracting attention due to the popularity of the manga "Golden Kamuy," in which Ainu girls appear.

The fear that history will be forgotten

Under these circumstances, the Tokyo Olympics were welcomed.



At the opening ceremony of the marathon and racewalking, we performed a traditional dance, and as a countermeasure against the infection of the new corona, we decided to send it to the world on the Internet without spectators.



However, Koichi, who is over 70 years old, had mixed feelings.



I was worried that the focus would be on culture and history would be forgotten.

Father Koichi Kaizawa


"Young people now show interest in what they are interested in. I don't learn much about things that I'm not interested in. I don't want you to see only the cool things from the past history. History will be erased. I'm scared of it. "

Indigenous peoples' rights are recognized in other countries such as the United States, Canada, and Australia, and economic independence is being promoted through fishing rights and land ownership.



Koichi thinks that it is a natural right for the Ainu to freely use forests and rivers.



Last year, I started a signing activity for the restoration of rights, and with the approval of about 5,000 brushes, I submitted it to the Governor of Hokkaido.

However, I feel a dilemma in the current situation where Japanese society has not changed even if I continue to make head-on claims for many years.



Taichi had the same feeling about his father's anxiety.



However, there is also the feeling that nothing will change just by appealing for the rights of the Ainu while their existence is not recognized in the first place.

Taichi Kaizawa


"My dad thinks that if he's doing the right thing, someone will see it. Right now, there's too much information and it's buried. The roots of my thoughts are the same as my dad, but the method is timely. I have to change it. "

Traditional dance adopted as an official program of the Olympic Games.



How will this opportunity be used to restore the rights of the Ainu?

Tadashi Kaizawa


"Even if you

say'recognize your

rights', you can't understand it. Japanese people don't really feel that the Ainu are alive. The Olympics are just one opportunity. It is important to use your head to inflate. "

First of all, to get noticed

Taichi wondered if it would be possible to create a mechanism that would naturally turn his attention to history, with the entrance being to let people know about the life and spirit of the Ainu.



We are planning a tour where visitors from Honshu and other areas can experience Ainu cuisine and forest life.



Before entering the forest, we pray to God in Ainu for safety and teach the wisdom of living in nature by building a hut called "Kuchachise" that was used for hunting.

Participant woman


"Ainu people have the feeling that they are being made alive by nature. I thought it was different from our feeling."

Taichi Kaizawa


"The relationship with the forest and rivers is very important. I think that it is an inseparable relationship with the Ainu, so I include it in the story so that it can be communicated firmly." This forest was originally from the Ainu. It may have belonged to people. Was it really correct that their ancestors came after the Meiji era? "

The forest lives even if people die

There is always a story to tell to those who visit the forest.



A large amount of timber has been cut down due to the settlement after the Meiji era.



My father, Koichi, bought a completely bald forest on private land nearly 30 years ago.



And I started planting trees.



It is an activity to restore the rich forest that originally existed in Hokkaido.

Two years ago, Taichi took over from his father, Koichi, as the representative of an organization that aims to protect and conserve forests from development.



It is said that individuals and groups nationwide are also donating to preserve the rich forest that originally existed for the generations of children and grandchildren.



It will also be a place for Ainu people to freely use the forest in their lives and learn about Ainu culture.



It may be in the distant future.



Still, that is the image of the forest that Mr. Kaizawa's parents and children envision.

Taichi Kaizawa


"It takes 100 or 200 years to plant a forest and return to its original nature. By the time the original forest is formed, of course, I'm dead and I can't see it while I'm alive. If someone inherits their thoughts, the forest will live and we can entrust our hopes. I want as many people as possible to understand the idea of ​​protecting the forest that the Ainu have cherished. "

Postscript

Today, respect for diversity is called for in every aspect of society.



Even so, the Ainu people still have to start by saying, "I want you to know that you are living here now."



"It's been 150 years since the Meiji era, so it's still a long time. I have to do my



best.

"

Taichi continues his activities looking ahead.



While there are people like Mr. Kaizawa's family who are active in the open, there are also people who are afraid of discrimination and prejudice and continue to hide their identity as Ainu.



What should we do to create a society where people in all positions can live comfortably?



I strongly felt that the question was not posed to the Ainu people, but to each of the "I" who make up the majority of society.

Muroran Broadcasting Station reporter


Ayaichi Nakao


Joined in 2016


After working at Kushiro Station, Tomakomai Branch Office.


The reason I started to cover the Ainu was that I participated in a traditional boat unloading ceremony in Biratori, which I visited for the first time after I was assigned.

Good morning Japan director


Mari Nakata


Joined in 2013


After working at Asahikawa station and Sapporo station, she has been a member since 2020.

Related program "Good morning Japan"

Deliver the latest news compactly.


Broadcast on NHK General TV from 5 am Monday to Friday, 6 am on Saturday, and 7 am on Sunday.

Review the history of the Ainu

Summarize the background and issues from the assimilation policy of the Meiji era, the "Ainu Cultural Promotion Act" of Heisei to the "Ainu Policy Promotion Act" enforced by Reiwa, and the development of the symbolic space for ethnic symbiosis = Upopoi developed in Shiraoi Town, Hokkaido. Was

Summary of Ainu related information on the NHK Hokkaido page

It means "here and there" in the Ainu language.

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