Language, Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Landscapes of the Ainu: Perspectives from Nibutani, Hokkaido

The Center for Japanese Studies of the University of California, Berkeley, the JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) San Francisco Office, and RIHN (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature) are pleased to present a three-day online lecture series by speakers from Nibutani, Biratori Town, Hokkaido. Recent discussions of indigenous rights highlight the critical roles that indigenous cultural landscapes, traditional knowledge and indigenous languages play in restoring the identity of indigenous peoples and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. Three distinguished speakers from Nibutani present lectures on their ongoing efforts and future perspectives to revitalize the Ainu culture, language and cultural landscapes. Each presentation is followed by comments from a scholar working on aspects of Ainu and/or indigenous cultures and languages.

Date & Hours: Saturday, March 5, 2022, 9:30-11:00 in Japan (March 4, 4:30-6PM PST)
Tuesday, March 8, 2022, 9:00-10:30 in Japan (March 7, 4-5:30PM PST)
Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 9:00-10:30 in Japan (March 8, 4-5:30PM PST)
Venue: Online (Participation required: Please register from the event page)
Organizer: Center for Japanese Studies, UC Berkeley
Co-organizers: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, San Francisco,
Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, National Institutes for the Humanities (RIHN)
  1. Part 1: Indigenous Rights and the Importance of Ainu Language Education
  2. Shiro Kayano (Director, Kayano Shigeru Nibutani Ainu Museum)

    Date: March 4, 4:30-6PM PST (March 5, 9:30-11AM in Japan)

    Language: Japanese with English interpretation (interpreter: Beth Cary)

    Discussant: Chie Sakakibara (Native American and Indigenous Studies Program, Syracuse University)

  3. Part 2: Current Status of Ainu Language Education
  4. Kenji Sekine (Director, Ainu Culture Learning Section, Board of Education of Biratori Town)

    Date: March 7, 4-5:30PM PST (March 8, 9-10:30AM in Japan)

    Language: English

    Discussant: Takayuki Okazaki (Faculty of International Studies, Kindai University)

  5. Part 3: The Ainu and the Problems of Dam Construction
  6. Koichi Kaizawa (President, Biratori Ainu Culture Preservation Society)

    Date: March 8, 4-5:30PM PST (March 9, 9-10:30AM in Japan)

    Language: Japanese with English interpretation (interpreter: Beth Cary)

    Discussant: ann-elise lewallen (Department of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Victoria)

Contact: RIHN Center, SOUDA E-mail