OKI and Tonkori : Representation of Ainu’s Cultural Identity


The 6th of June 2008 has become a historical moment for people of Ainu who live in Japan. Japanese government had officially admitted them as an indigenous tribe, with languange, faith and culture, different from the rest of the Japanese people. The people of Ainu have struggled for a very long time to get this recognition. There were even times when most of the Ainu people tried to hide their cultural heritage by inter marriage to avoid discrimination from Japanese people, but there is one young Ainu who fights for Ainu’s heritage. His name is Oki. Oki’s father is an Ainu, and his mother is a Japanese. He plays tonkori, one of Ainu’s traditional music instrument to show his Ainu’s heritage to the world. Through this paper, I will analyze Oki and his music. He mixes reggae, electronic and African music. Depsite this, he is still recognized as a person with Ainu’s cultural identity.


Keywords : Ainu, tonkori, cultural identity

This paper is being published in Aurora Journal April 2014

Daniel Hermawan, S.S, M.Si