In May 2004, as the last snowy patches of the winter were receding in northeastern Hokkaido, and this book was planned out and partially written, I traveled back to the Ainu ‘village’ I had visited some 33 years before. The place was transformed. The tourist part was still just one street, but it was neatly paved and lined with newly built shops, each offering an array of goods marked in some way as Ainu. At the top, a large building with an Ainu name advertised performances of dance and theater at intervals through the day. There was still one old Ainu-style house, though in much better condition than those I had seen in 1971, and inside were laid out a reconstructed hearth and a tidy display of objects that had been used in the past. There were no living bears in sight, though there were still several carved ones of various sizes, some with salmon in their mouths. There were also carvers working in some of the shops, but there were no people wandering around in Ainu ‘costumes’, and no students from Tokyo.
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