European Association for Japanese Studies

Ainu. Pathways to Memory

2014 | 89’ | Japan and Spain
Marcos Centeno

Ainu. Paths to Memory is a discovery documentary of the Ainu people in Japan. They have been historically considered savages by the Japanese and Russian governments. They were dispossessed from their lands and suffered unfair laws impeding them to keep their lifestyle. On a trip through the recovery of their identity, which took us from Japan to Europe, we will find a people erased from history books and scarred by discrimination which pushed them close to the final extinction. People whose origins and language are still a mystery. The tour along the paths to memory reveals an uncertain destiny. The growing interest for the culture preservation clashes with a reality of marginalization which has reduced it to mere museum pieces. The repeated sentence “I am Ainu” expresses a willingness of overcoming their marginal circumstances and recovery of their pride. But the awakening of the Ainu people faces the mercantilist logic of a global world. Unavoidably, doubt comes to mind, what does being Ainu mean today?