Ainu Song and Dance, Shiraoi, Hokkaido - text

Ainu song and dance performed at Shiraoi Kotan in Hokkaido Japan on August, on August 23, 2010. Ainu passed culture through song and dance that is usually performed only by women. In this video you will see performances of songs and deity dances, including the spirit sending ceremony, a lullaby, and demonstrations of Ainu musical instruments. The spirit sending ceremony is particularly interesting. The Ainu raised bear cubs to maturity, then performed an elaborate ceremony during which they stabbed the bear with arrows and knives until it was dead, believing that it's agony was cries of ecstacy from knowing it's spirit was about to return to God. This video also shows the tonkori and the mukkuri. The tonkori is a stringed instrument with strings made from nettle or animal tendon. The Mukkuri is like a Jew's harp that sounds like a Didjeridu.

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