Both Japan and Canada have diverse Indigenous communities with rich cultures and traditions. Join us in the Japan Foundation, Toronto Event Hall for presentations and a panel discussion among members and supporters of Indigenous groups from both countries who will gather to share, discuss, and celebrate their unique heritage.
To start things off, Mr. Ken’ichi Homma, Director General of the Hokkaido Government Iburi General Subprefectural Bureau will give a talk on this fascinating region of Hokkaido in northern Japan, its history, contemporary developments, and tourism opportunities. Further information about tourism in the region will also be made available during the evening. Following the talk, a panel discussion will take place.
Registration is now closed. We thank everyone for their interest.
Mr. Yasuhiko TODA, Mayor of Shiraoi Town, Hokkaido
Yasuhiko Toda is mayor of Shiraoi town. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Sapporo University in 1991. He started his career as a businessman and afterwards he became a director of Shiraoi Chamber of Commerce. He was elected as a mayor of Shiraoi town for the first time in 2011. He is now in his second term of office.
Ms. Miyuki MURAKI, Executive Director of the Ainu Museum in Shiraoi Town
Miyuki Muraki was born in Shiraoi town, Hokkaido. She started working at the Ainu Museum in 1985, and has been the Vice-President since 2012. Along with taking part in handing down the traditional Ainu culture of the Shiraoi region, including song and dance, beliefs and customs, and food culture, she also conducts research on the material culture, etc. of the Ainu people. At the Ainu Museum she is in charge of areas such as training as well as educational promotion projects, and people refer to her as “the singing, dancing curator.” Presently, she is writing a column for the JR Hokkaido onboard magazine, “THE JR Hokkaido.”
Mr. Michael Etherington, Cultural Program Manager of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto
Influenced by his northern upbringing, Michael has always stayed connected to community, spending much of his personal time volunteering as a speaker to schools, colleges, and universities. This, along with his experience as Cultural Program Manager of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, and trainer for the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, have garnered Michael the personal and professional recognition as a valued speaker. With family roots and heritage from James Bay, ON, but growing up in the urban setting, Etherington is a proud yet humbled Indigenous speaker and representative of Omushkego-Culture. Michael attributes his speaking messages to his experiences growing up both on-reserve and off-reserve.
and Mr. Koko Kikuchi as moderator
Koko Kikuchi was born in Iwate Prefecture in Japan, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Waseda University. In 1982 he graduated with a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planing from the University of Toronto. He became a permanent resident of Canada in 1986, and while running a consulting firm he also volunteered his time towards international exchange for the betterment of children’s rights and the Japanese-Canadian community. In 1991, as a committee member for inviting Ainu people, he invited Mr. Shigeru Kayano, who later went on to serve in the Japanese House of Councillors, to visit Toronto from Nibutani, Hokkaido to hold a workshop on the shared history, social issues, folklore, etc. of the Ainu people of Japan and indigenous peoples of Canada at the Earth Spirit Festival. Since then, Mr. Kikuchi has gone on to do things such as interview Mr. Kayano regarding the passing of the New Ainu Law and share information about the indigenous peoples of Canada in the Iwate Nippo Newspaper.
This event is organized in association with JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization)