Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Yesterday we visited the Berbers of Northern Africa and their wonderful music. At first I thought we going further into Africa, but just a few minutes ago I decided to go to the home of haiku ... to Japan. We are visiting the ancient Ainu, a Japanese group of people who are living in the Northern region of Japan.
The oral Ainu culture includes various genres, of which upopo, lighthearted ballads on daily affairs and rituals often accompanied by traditional Ainu instruments, and yukar (mimicry), a form of rhythmic epic poetry often supported by light percussion, are most prominently covered in writings on this oral Ainu culture.
Ainu music carries spiritual resonance in almost all of its forms, and it has played an important role in both the cultural history and the cultural renaissance of the Ainu people. Almost every type of Ainu song is sacred, and even the musical instruments are said to be imbued with souls. Traditional Ainu music can be divided into two major groups — everyday songs and epic songs. Everyday songs in Ainu tradition were sung in many situations and on an impromptu basis. They were often accompanied by the two most prevalent Ainu musical instruments: the tonkori, a plucked zither, and the mukkuri, a jaw harp played by women.