Agency for Cultural Affairs, Goverment of Japan
Creator’s Voice Ainu Culture × NAKED, INC.

The Ainu culture, woven together with sound.

When producing artwork, the creative company Naked Inc. visited Ainu-related facilities in Hokkaido, such as the Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum in Biratori-cho and the Upopoy “Symbolic Space for the Ethnic Harmony”. After touring the facilities, we asked about their thoughts regarding the Ainu and how they would go about expressing the culture in their artwork.

―What is your impression of the cultural properties from this tour?

We created artwork together with the Ainu people for the same project in 2019.

Kenshiro Hirai (Naked) looks back at artwork from the same project in 2019.

I’ve never forgotten how it felt when I first heard the Ainu language and the sensation of sounds I’d never experienced before spreading through my body. We visited The Nibutani Museum in Biratori-cho and Upopoy to once again get in touch with the Ainu.
There, KIBTATA Sachiko performed a kamuy yukar (mythic epics) for us. She is active as a narrator of oral literature, such as uwepeker (prose tales) and kamuy yukar. At Upopoy, we experienced a variety of sounds, including the traditional performing art of sinot and an Ainu instrument known as the mukkuri.
We feel that the culture of sound, such as the oral literature and the sounds of nature and of daily life, that have been passed on to today maintain an air of mystery precisely because they are not visible. We’ll never forget how it felt when we gained some understanding, if only a little, of the actual backdrop to the sounds and meanings of the words.

KIBATA Sachiko performs the kamuy yukar.

—Please tell us about the artwork you’re planning to create.

“We want to express the sensations we felt when we visited the sites by creating an installation featuring sound and light. Imagine relying on the positioning of sound and light and you may discover a message.“
Based on what we felt during the tour, we thought we could come up with a new idea by speaking with people associated with the Ainu culture, and that would become a trigger that brings the past to the present and on into the future.
Specifically, the artwork will be presented using an original recording focusing on narration in the Ainu language, oral literature, and music performed on Ainu instruments. We hope that creating a new artistic experience through the utilization of 3D audio and lighting as a way of expressing sound and realistic sensations can also pass these into the future in a new form.

Profile

NAKED, INC.
NAKED, INC. is a Tokyo based creative company MURAMATSU Ryotaro founded in 1997 along with a team of directors, designers, and writers. NAKED, INC. continues to create new experiences and values throughout various scenes in people’s lives, spanning from art and entertainment to culture, tradition, education, music, cities, food, and sports.
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