Photographer Laura Liverani embarked on a project to document the Ainu people shortly after the passing of the resolution. Some recounted stories of modern-day discrimination. Others spoke of the lost beauty of the Saru River, a sacred site for the Ainu, on which the government constructed a dam in the 1990s. “It was quite painful to see a mass of concrete in the middle of such a beautiful landscape,” they said.
Today, Liverani said, a concerted effort is being made to preserve Ainu culture and language. And with the 2020 Olympics to be held in Japan, the government has plans for a facility centered on Ainu culture. Between these and other efforts in Hokkaido villages, perhaps a little life can be breathed into the land known as Ainu Mosir — “land of the human beings.”
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