Ainupuri: Giving Voice to Museum Objects

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

March 18 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm EDT

Details »    Click here to register »

Ainu were once described and perceived as “exotic” people of Hokkaido (Ainu Mosir in the Ainu), in Northern Japan. The Ainu became a very popular research subject both internationally and domestically from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century. Thousands of Ainu objects were collected from Hokkaido, Sakhalin, and Kurile islands, which are now stored in many museums worldwide.

This presentation will focus on hidden stories and narratives of the Ainu museum collections from the eye of Dr. Kanako Uzawa, an Ainu scholar and artist. She will discuss the process and challenges she faces through ongoing Ainu art exhibition curation in collaboration with the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Lastly, she will introduce her most recent art video production, Ainupuri, in which she reconstructs the counter-narratives of Ainu objects stored in the Historical Museum of Oslo University in Norway. This tells her own story in the form of narration, poetry, song, dance, and performance; these personal and collective histories are mediated by Laura Liverani’s visual storytelling in a constant dialogue between the two artists.

Kanako UZAWA

Dr. Kanako Uzawa is a Norwegian-based Ainu scholar, artist, and advocate. Her work is published internationally by academic journals, books, magazines and museums. She engages with a number of academic and international forums, lectures, and artistic work on Indigenous identity-making. Her Ph.D. focuses on urban Ainu livelihood and its contemporary expressions based on her auto-ethnography as one of the research methods. She is an Assistant Professor for the Global Station for Indigenous Studies and Cultural Diversity at Hokkaido University in Japan as well as an associated researcher at the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo in Norway. She is also an editorial board member of AlterNative: an International Journal of Indigenous Peoples in New Zealand. As an Ainu dancer and performer, she recently participated in the Intercultural Indigenous Choreographers Lab at the Banff Centre in Canada. She is currently involved in a curatorial exhibition project on the Ainu contemporary art in collaboration with the University of Michigan Museum of Art in the US.

Images by Laura Liverani; Kanako Uzawa @ Historical Museum, University of Oslo


Enrich Your Understanding of Ainu with JFT Library before/after the event: Ainupuri: Giving Voice to Museum Object

Discover the rich cultural tapestry of the Ainu people through our curated collection of JFT Library items, selected in conjunction with the presentation & film screening event Ainupuri: Giving Voice to Museum Objects on Monday, March 18. Our event guest presenter Dr. UZAWA Kanako’s insights are informed by her pivotal role as a contributor to the groundbreaking book Beyond Ainu Studies [Ebook], which seeks to reinvigorate the landscape of Ainu research; Ainu Spirits Singing [Physical book & Ebook] offers a nuanced study and English translation of Ainu’s rich oral performance traditions; see Ainu culture through the eyes of the characters in the historical fiction manga/anime Golden Kamuy [ebook(EN) & Blu-ray(EN/JP) & physical book(JP)] by NODA Satoru; and more! You can borrow our physical items by visiting JFT library in person during our hours and/or borrow ebooks by accessing JF Canada Digital Library, available 24/7.

Apply for a new library card or renew your expired card here.

Check library item list


March 18 @ 6:30 pm
March 18 @ 7:30 pm
Doors Open:
Event Category:


The Japan Foundation, Toronto
View Organizer Website


The Japan Foundation, Toronto
2 Bloor St. East, 3rd Floor
Toronto, ON M4W 1A8 Canada
+ Google Map
View Organizer Website