UPOPOY: Ainu Musical Culture & Crafts



Image © Agency for Cultural Affairs

The event series celebrates the opening of Upopoy, Japan’s first national museum featuring the history and culture of the Ainu. Upopoy opens in Shiraoi, Hokkaido in May 2020, amid increased governmental measures to support the Ainu people and their efforts to preserve and develop their culture and hand it down to future generations.

‘Upopoy’ is an Ainu term meaning ‘singing together’. This event series explores the important role that music plays in Ainu culture.

Japan House hosts concerts by contemporary Ainu musicians including the tonkori player Oki, female quartet Marewrew and singer Toyokawa Yoko, as well as hands-on workshops during which guests can learn how to play the mukkur, an Ainu musical instrument similar to a mouth harp. Other events include talks and workshops on Ainu decorative needlework traditions and patterns, and the story of the new Upopoy museum itself.

16 Jan 2020:  Tonkori: Performance by Oki with Marewrew
17 Jan 2020:  Upopo: Performance by Marewrew with Oki 
18 Jan 2020:  Workshop – How to Play Mukkur 
19 Jan 2020:  Workshop – How to Play Mukkur 
23 Jan 2020:  UPOPOY National Museum: Talk by Tone Toshiya
31 Jan 2020:  The Beauty & Power of Ainu Patterns: Talk by Igarashi Satomi
1 Feb 2020:   Ainu Patterns & Embroidery Workshop
2 Feb 2020:   Ainu Patterns & Embroidery Workshop
14 Feb 2020:  Concert by Toyokawa Yoko
15 Feb 2020:  Concert by Toyokawa Yoko

This page will be updated with information on individual events as it becomes available to book.

The event series is accompanied by a range of display and retail items in The Shop including Ainu crafts and musical instruments.


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