An Evening of Ainu Song: Performance by Toyokawa Yoko


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As part of a series of events celebrating Ainu culture in contemporary Japan, join singer Toyokawa Yoko for two special live concerts in which she weaves together Ainu musical folk traditions from various genres with her own original songs.

Her varied setlist introduces the diversity of Ainu music including upopo songs sung during ceremonies or daily life; yukar, epic rhythmic poems telling stories of legendary human heroes, or kamuy (Ainu gods or spirits); and Ainu lullabies for children (iyon’nokka).

This event is part of a season of events held in collaboration with Hokkaido Prefecture in conjunction with the opening of Upopoy, Japan’s new national museum featuring the history and culture of the Ainu, in Shiraoi, Hokkaido in April 2020.

About the Performer

Toyokawa Yoko was a vocalist in the acoustic group ZiZi, actively performing in the Kansai area and releasing an album ‘door’ in 2007. After returning to her roots in Hokkaido she began to incorporate Ainu upopo songs into her performance, both as a soloist as well as in the group, nin cup. She has provided the vocals for the short animation film ’60 Cradles’ (Re Hotne Sinta) singing the titular Ainu iyon’nokka or lullaby. She has also taught an Ainu language course on Hokkaido’s STV radio.


Upopoy Ftype color2 Hokkaido Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-2020 at Japan House London