Spotlight on: Mokottunas, Maya Sekine

This time, we’d like to bring you links to articles about two Ainu people who have done – and are still doing – awesome work in preserving and introducing Ainu culture to Japan and to the rest of the world.

First up we have Kitahara Jirouta Mokottunas, who is currently an associate professor (since 2010) at the Hokkaido University Center for Ainu and Indigenous Studies. In Speaking in Ainu: Cultural and Personal Recovery, he shared about his journey of rediscovering his (Sakhalin) Ainu roots. In his piece he mentioned about learning Ainu language from Chiba University’s Nakagawa Hiroshi. Both Mokottunas and Nakagawa served as consultants on Ainu culture for Golden Kamuy – you can see their names listed in the credit roll of the anime.

We then have Maya Sekine (or Sekine Maya, if we go by Japanese name order), who last year spoke about how pop culture – including Golden Kamuy – and YouTube have helped reviving the interest in Ainu culture. Mainichi has recently (June 29) published another article about her. In the following video, Maya gave a talk about the Ainu for the Matsunaga Institute.

Maya runs Sito Channel – a video of which we linked at the top of this article – that teaches Ainu language and introduces Ainu culture. Noda-sensei drew the icon for the channel. Maya has begun making videos in English too, so go check her channel and support her while learning more about the Ainu!

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