Ainu Center Struggling to Attract Attention ahead of Opening

Society Culture

Sapporo, Jan. 27 (Jiji Press)--"Upopoy," a new Japanese national center aimed at revitalizing and developing the culture of the Ainu indigenous people, is facing challenges to attract public attention ahead of its opening on April 24 in Shiraoi in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.

The new complex may miss a goal of attracting one million visitors a year, set by the central and prefectural governments, sources familiar with the situation said.

"The new Ainu center is not yet well known outside the prefecture," Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki said.

Upopoy, an Ainu term meaning "singing in a group," is composed of the National Ainu Museum, the country's first national museum for craftwork and other Ainu items, the National Ainu Park hosting traditional dance performances and a memorial site for Ainu remains that had been kept at universities and other locations.

Since August last year, the prefectural government has held promotion events in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya as well as Hokkaido as part of efforts to attract public attention to the new center.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press