About the Grant

$30,000 to support AINU SHADOW PROJECT (MAP 2011), a new multidisciplinary shadow theatre work created by shadow master Larry Reed in collaboration with Oki Kano.

About the Project

“Mythology, when reenacted, provides a place for public dreaming, ultimately linking everyday life with the sacred, the present with the past, and individual with community.” – Larry Reed

(working title) is a multidisciplinary shadow theatre project that explores the music and mythology of the Ainu tribe of Hokkaido, Japan, to illuminate the history and the power of this little known indigenous culture. Created by shadow master Larry Reed in collaboration with OKI, an Ainu musician specializing in the traditional fretless string instrument, "tonkori”, the project utilizes tales from the Ainu epic song cycle of "yukar" as launching pads. Traditionally sung by a single narrator with no musical accompaniment, these supernatural tales will be heightened by the distinctive sound of OKI's tonkori and his original modern renditions of Ainu folk songs. Reed's original shadow casting methods will complete the evening, unfolding a distinctive Ainu universe, yet evoking a mythological experience for the contemporary audience. Other collaborators include musicians from world-music inspired OKI Dub Ainu Band; MAREWREW, a female chorus specializing in Ainu ceremonial songs; and members of Urotsutenoyako Bayangans (Tetsuro Koyano: Artistic Dir.), an emerging shadow theatre company based in Tokyo. AINU PROJECT will be performed in the Ainu language with Japanese and English narrations.

After centuries of oppression and displacement, Ainu history and cultural heritage are largely unknown to the rest of the world. AINU PROJECT will go beyond the issue of Ainu vs. Japanese by posing questions from global points of view. (Premiere: May 2013, SF)

Related Websites

Shadowlight Productions


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