Odori Park, by Chris Watkins Odori Park - Blog

:: The Ainu ::

Wednesday’s comic mentions the Ainu. For the unfamiliar (which I presume will be most folks), the Ainu are the indigenous people of northern Japan. I don’t get the impression that their existence plays any kind of role for the majority of modern Japanese–as a minority indigenous people, they’ve been fairly well marginalized–but for my experience living in Japan, the Ainu and their culture had a sizable impact. I’ve wanted for a while to include some portion of that experience in Odori Park, and hopefully in a respectful, but not heavy-handed way, while still keeping the funny (because, after all, this is a comedy).

For folks who’d like to know more about the Ainu, the Web site of the Ainu Museum, which is based in Shiraoi, Hokkaido, Japan, is a good start, as is good ol’ Wikipedia. (Also interesting is the 2007 opening of a dedicated department within the Hokkaido University.) Feel free to post questions if you have them, and I’ll do my best to answer, though I don’t profess to be any kind of expert.

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