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Announcement about the new innovative performance which blends indigenous ancient Ainu dance with digital art and contemporary dance and introduction to tribal tourism in Hokkaido, Japan

(TRAVPR.COM) JAPAN - March 21st, 2019 - The Akan Ainu Industrial Arts Association and the NPO Akan Tourism Association & Community Development Promotion Organization (Akan DMO) are pleased to announce an innovative new performance, “Lost Kamuy: An Ancient Ainu Epic Story,” at the Lake Akan Ainu Theater “Ikor” in Hokkaido, Japan, which starts from today. “Lost Kamuy: An Ancient Ainu Epic Story,” which blends indigenous ancient Ainu dance with digital art and contemporary dance, has been created to expand awareness and understanding of Ainu culture. The performance is expected to attract Japanese as well as foreign visitors. The opening ceremony of “Lost Kamuy” was held at the theater on March 18 and representatives from City of Kushiro, Hokkaido Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry, tourism industry officials, the Ainu of Lake Akan and participating artists, Nagi Yoshida and Kuniyuki Takahashi attended.

This highly anticipated multimedia performance began as a creative collaboration between six artists, including a photographer, sound designer, contemporary dancer, visual designer and the Ainu of Lake Akan. Telling the story of the Ainu relationship with the native Ezo wolf, “Lost Kamuy: An Ancient Ainu Epic Story” blends ancient traditional ceremony with contemporary dance, 3D computer graphics from at least five projectors that bring the stage to life. This stunning performance will give audiences a window into Japan’s indigenous Ainu culture -- in particular, the Ainu’s love and respect for nature, which is at the heart of their way of life as well as their song and dance traditions. In addition, two of the theater’s existing productions, “Ancient Ainu Ceremonial Dance” and “Iomante Fire Festival”, have also undergone a contemporary upgrade to boost their appeal and accessibility for audiences, offering a unique perspective into Japan’s indigenous Ainu culture.

Click here to watch the official teaser trailer for Lost Kamuy:

In addition, the Akan DMO and the Akan Adventure Tourism Co., Ltd. announced that a multimedia night walk experience created by Moment Factory, a world-famous multimedia entertainment company in Montreal, Canada -- will open at the lakeside forests of Akan in Akan-Mashu National Park as a new tourist attraction in July 2019.  

The Ainu are an indigenous people who have been living mainly in the northern island of Hokkaido. Believing that deities can be found in their surroundings, the Ainu frequently use dance to worship and give thanks to nature. The UNESCO deemed traditional Ainu dance as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, but Ainu culture is still relatively unknown and the Ainu language is classified as “critically endangered” in UNESCO’s endangered language list. It is hoped that this new style of performance will pave the way to expand awareness through education of Japan’s Ainu culture.

The Story of “Lost Kamuy”

The Ainu people believe that divine spirits, “kamuy”, reside in animals, plants, fire, water, and wind. In particular, the Ezo wolf -- known in Ainu as “Horkew Kamuy” -- was especially revered as the god of hunting. Sadly, the Ezo wolf population began dwindling near the turn of the 20th century, and today the species is extinct. The performance revives this lost divinity and the lakeside forests of Akan through ancient ceremonial and contemporary dance. “Lost Kamuy” is a dramatization of a traditional oral epic that continues to be passed down among Ainu people today. Audiences will rediscover the importance of coexistence with nature through this performance.

The full press release is available at (Foreign Press Center Japan)  


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