Tonkori amongst the Spires: Celebrating Ainu music and culture with special guest OKI

Sunday 13 November, 18.00 - 20.30 

Free but booking recommended:

Musician wearing red embroidered hood playing tonkori

Join us for an evening celebrating Ainu music and culture, with special musical performance by world-renowned tonkori musician OKI, short film screening of Ainu Hunter, Mon-chan by Eiko Soga followed by Q&A and behind the scenes tours.


Music with OKI

Join us for a musical performance by acclaimed tonkori musician OKI. He will be joined on stage by his wife Rumiko Kano (vocals, tonkori) and son Manaw (drums, tonkori). One of the last surviving players of the tonkori - a 5-string harp performed by the indigenous Japanese Ainu people - OKI mixes traditional Ainu folk songs with international influences.

Supported by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

Behind the Scenes: Tonkori by OKI and Photographs

Get a closer look at the tonkori (stringed Ainu instrument) commissioned by The Pitt Rivers Museum from OKI and also view 19th/early 20th century photographs of members of the Ainu community. This will be the first time the tonkori will be viewed by the public. The commissioning of the instrument was supported by the Art Fund.

Film Screening: Ainu Hunter, Mon-chan by Eiko Soga + Q& A with Eiko Soga

Ainu Hunter, Mon-chan explores an idea of ecology of empathy between human and non-human worlds.  This work is an ethnographic video essay which includes an oral history from a member of the Ainu community, Mon-chan (Atsushi). Using visual and audio recordings that I collected win 2019, I questioned how we can imagine a future that is more ecological and inclusive, with a sense of reciprocity?

The protagonist, Mon-chan, maintains positivity, honesty and a sense of resistance to the changing nature of Japan and its impact on his way of life as an Ainu hunter. Mon-chan raised a concern that environmental issues are only discussed through the lens of city-centric views, disregarding the generations of experience of indigenous cultures. In this work, I wanted to share the Ainu values that Mon-chan learnt from his grandmother. I also wanted to share the impact his words had on me as I made my way back to everyday life in the city.

Eiko Soga

About Eiko Soga

Eiko Soga is a Japanese artist-researcher. She recently completed her DPhil at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. Her doctoral project combines video, poetry and ethnography, based on an engagement with the Ainu culture. Since 2015, she has been learning about the social environment and cultural history through making videos and writing poetry based on her experiences in Hokkaido, Japan. Her research has had a focus on women, affective gestures, questioning how new artworks might engage with a sense of value that generates ecological and empathetic knowledge.


Self-guided tours

Take a specially designed self-guided tour of the Ainu objects on display at the Museum and learn about the untold stories behind the objects and the Ainu voices who for too long have been silenced.

Reading Corner: Golden Kamuy Vols.1-5 by Satoru Noda

Take a break and read the manga Golden Kamuy by Satoru Noda in our Reading Corner. Golden Kamuy, set in the early 1900s in the northern Japanese region of Hokkaido, is an epic treasure hunt tale. Through the young Ainu protagonist Asirpa, readers learn about Hokkaido and Ainu customs that are vividly portrayed. Golden Kamuy is one of the first manga to foreground Ainu culture and offer a nuanced, detailed and sympathetic narrative. Many of the objects featured in the manga can be seen at the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Bar (Cash & card)

Please note that entry to this event will be via the Museum's South Door on Robinson Close off South Parks Road.