Friday, February 10, 2012

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day

Featured in this photo by Takeshi Ogawa Oshiro, are a group of modern day Ainu アイヌ - the indigenous people of Hokkaido, Kuril Islands, and much of Russian held Sakhalin. We chose to feature this photo that was originally posted on Facebook because historically the Ainu do not get much press or respect in Japan yet their place in Northern Japan's history is undeniable.

For one good depiction of the Ainu on film American Mishima reccomends the 2005 Toei Film  北の零年-Year One in the North starring Sayuri Yoshinaga & Ken Watanabe (See official movie poster). 北の零年(Kita no zeronen) is the story of a Samurai Clan from the south that is exiled to Ezo (Present Day Hokkaido) at the end of the Samurai Era in the late Nineteenth Century to make due in a rugged hostile land where nothing will grow and the winters are harsh.

Year One in the North is an outstanding film full of many moving performances and one of Ken Watanabe's most difficult roles to watch. This film is available in the US with English subtitles. I won't give away the film or the role of the Ainu but I will simply leave you with this film trailer without subtitles so you can get the jist of this deeply emotional historical drama.


  1. Sounds interesting. I'd like to see it.

  2. We have a copy of it with subtitles. It's a long yet deeply moving film.