Ongoing struggle
for Japan’s indigenous Ainu

A rehearsal for the Olympic dance ceremony takes place in Nibutani village, Biratori, Hokkaido, in March 2021. (Photo by Solveig Boergen)

Long before the culture of the Ainu people took root in the lands of northern Japan during the 12th-13th century, tiny deities known as korpokkur who lived inside pits underneath butterbur plant leaves would emerge in times of difficulty or distress, offering assistance and bearing gifts of food. Visiting under cover of darkness, they would…

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About the author

Kimberly Hughes is a freelance writer, translator, editor, university educator and community organizer based in Tokyo. She was a longtime contributor of stories on grassroots socio-political movements for the Ten Thousand Things blog, and her feature stories on social issues, arts/culture and travel have appeared in publications including The Mainichi, The Diplomat, Kyoto Journal, Tokyo Weekender, Sixty-Six Magazine and Craftsmanship Quarterly.

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