Raporo Ainu Nation* holds Kamuinomi and Icharpa ceremonies in Atsunai

 Memoir (1) by Professor Joe Watkins, University of Arizona, USA

Photo by Prof. Joe Watkins

On Sunday, August 21, 2022, Carol Ellick (Archaeological and Cultural Education Consultants, LLC), Hirofumi Kato (Director of GSI), and I attended the 6th annual Kamuinomi and Icharpa ceremonies at Atsunai, the eastern part of Urahoro town in Hokkaido. The community started with a “Kamuinomi”, a traditional Ainu ceremony of offering prayers to the gods. After the Kamuinomi had been completed, community members performed an “Icharpa,” a ceremony for honoring the ancestors. We were invited to participate in the Icharpa and I was honored to be included.  After both these solemn ceremonies were completed, members of the community performed traditional dances. I have participated in Ainu ceremonies such as these before, and I always feel honored to be included and to watch how Ainu communities continue to keep their traditions alive.

The Raporo Ainu Nation is an organization of the Ainu in Urahoro Town, a former Urahoro Ainu Association.

*** In “Memoirs” we introduce a glimpse of GSI members’ experiences in Japan.