A Soul in Everything
Encounters with Ainu from the North of Japan
Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Köln, DE
05.11.2021 – 20.02.2022

A Soul in Everything<br>Encounters with Ainu from the North of Japan<br>Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Köln, DE<br>05.11.2021 – 20.02.2022

The exhibition “A Soul in Everything – Encounters with Ainu from the North of Japan” will be open at the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum from 5 November 2021 to 20 February 2022. It focuses on the cultures of the Ainu groups and their path to recognition and respect. The Ainu are indigenous inhabitants of northern Japan who originally lived as hunter-gatherer communities mainly on the islands of Hokkaido and Sakhalin. From the mid-19th century, they were colonised, forcibly resettled and exploited by Japan. It was only after the mid-20th century that a return to their traditions became possible and a vibrant revival movement emerged, leading to the recognition of the Ainu as an indigenous group in 2008 (legally confirmed by the Japanese government in 2019). The exhibition focuses on today’s multitude of voices in the Ainu revival communities. Visitors will also learn more about the history of the museum’s collection and gain insight into the beliefs of the Ainu and the way stereotypes about them are challenged and changed. Moreover, they will see the beauty of Ainu material culture. A special highlight, for instance, is an embroidered Ainu garment made of bast. The exhibition connects the past with the present, opening up new perspectives and viscerally involving viewers through intense multi-faceted encounters. The exhibition takes place in cooperation with the National Ainu Museum, Hokkaido, and the Japan Foundation Cologne.

More information:

Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum für Völkerkunde
Cäcilienstraße 29-33
50667 Köln


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