From the mysterious soundscapes of Hokkaido’s indigenous Ainu people to the vibrant history of Okinawa’s ancient Ryukyu Kingdom, diverse cultures can be found throughout Japan. Through CULTURE GATE to JAPAN, artists and creators seek to reinterpret and convey the appeal of these rich cultural resources, each molded by the particular regional climate in which they developed. As the gateways to these unique regions, airports are the ideal location at which to exhibit these works, inviting visitors to discover new aspects of Japanese culture.
The Ainu people’s spiritual world at New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido
The epic poems and songs of the indigenous people of Hokkaido, the Ainu, is the foundation for the INVISIBLE theme at New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido. Creative company NAKED, INC. has infused empty space with unwritten, unspoken auditory transmissions, to enable visitors to feel the language and spirit of the Ainu culture through sound.
The Ainu are the indigenous people native to Hokkaido, the Tohoku region of Japan, and eastern Russia. They maintain a distinctive culture characterized by deep gratitude and reverence toward nature, despite the bitterly cold climate in their areas. The Ainu people's rich spiritual world has been passed on to the present day through songs, dances, and stories in the Ainu language, a language separate from Japanese.
NAKED, INC. has created works that convey the culture and spirit of the Ainu people, which have been passed down orally from generation to generation using the Ainu language and music, through sound-based experiences.
After leaving the airport, visitors to Hokkaido can experience and learn more about Ainu culture at places including Upopoy – National Ainu Museum & Park, Japan’s northernmost national museum and the first one dedicated to the history and culture of the indigenous Ainu people; Nibutani Ainu Cultural Museum; Lake Akan Ainu Kotan and Sapporo Pirka Kotan.
* Please note, the exhibition is currently scheduled to run until 30 September 2021, with the possibility of extension. Please visit the official website for the most up-to-date opening dates and details.