Ainu Film Screenings: International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples

This August, the Japan Foundation, Toronto is delighted to present a series of film screenings in recognition of International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples on August 9th. These films shed light on the Ainu, the indigenous people of Ainumosir in the lands of Northern Japan, also known today as Hokkaido. Ainumosir means “the land of the Ainu” or “the quiet earth where humans dwell”. Ainu means ‘human’ in the Ainu language.

Ainu: Indigenous People of Japan • アイヌ:ひと


Tuesday, August 9, 5:59PM – Thursday, August 11, 11:59PM (ET)

Directed by MIZOGUCHI Naomi • 2019 • Documentary • 61 min. • Presented in Japanese & Ainu with English subtitles • Canadian Premiere

Online Film Screening (Canada only) • Admission Free  RSVP Required Trailer

Ainu means human in Ainu language. Director MIZOGUCHI Naomi depicts the manifold attempts of the Ainu today to regain and pass on their cultural identity. This documentary was filmed in Biratori town in Hokkaido, where many people with Ainu roots still live. It is also known as the hometown of the late Shigeru Kayano, who contributed greatly to the field of research on Ainu culture. 

Registration & Details 

Ainu Neno An Ainu  アイヌネノアンアイヌ


Friday, August 12, 5:59PM – Sunday, August 14, 11:59PM (ET)

Directed by Neo Sora, Laura Liverani & Valy Thorsteinsdottir 2021 • Documentary • 72 min. • Presented in Japanese & Ainu with English subtitles Canadian Premiere

Online Film Screening (Canada only) • Admission Free • RSVP Required • Trailer

A cinematic family photo album of a remote village in Hokkaido, where the Ainu, the indigenous population of northern Japan, have kept their culture and language alive despite a history of Japanese colonization. Ainu Neno An Ainu is an interwoven set of stories narrated by Maya, a young Ainu college student whose goal is to revitalize the Ainu language and culture. Maya’s voice guides the audience as other villagers tell their stories and portray the histories of their community, from their individual and collective journey of forced assimilation and discrimination to the revitalization of their own language and culture. 

Registration & Details 

The Fox of Shichigorosawa 七五郎沢の狐


Precedes Ainu: Indigenous People of Japan and Ainu Neno An Ainu

Directed by SUGIHARA Tune 2015 Animation 14 min. Presented in Ainu with English subtitles Trailer

Higashiyama, the home of the foxes, has become an illegal dumping ground. This results in the decrease of small animals, which the mother fox relied on as prey to feed her children. The fox comes down from the mountains in search of food to feed her children, and comes upon a human village. This story is told in the Ainu language.