Ainu Association of Kushiro hold traditional Kamuycep Festival to pray for abundant salmon catch

On September 29, the Ainu Association of Kushiro held the ‘40th Kamuycep Festival’, a traditional Ainu ceremony to welcome salmon and pray for an abundant catch. Twenty-five people wearing traditional dress offered thanks for the blessings of nature in the ceremony, which was held by the Shinkushiro River in the city of Kushiro in eastern Hokkaido.

In order to help prevent further infection from COVID-19, as with last year’s event, the scale was reduced, with participation limited to members, supporting members and neighbors; no invitations were extended to Ainu groups from other regions. During the ‘Kamuynomi’ ritual, in which participants prayed to the gods, autumn salmon, vegetables and the like were offered before the ‘nusa’ (altar), and ‘inau (shaved-wood prayer sticks) were erected on the riverbank.

As well as ‘Futtarechui’ (black hair dance) and ‘Kurimuse’ (bow dance), tonkori – a traditional Ainu stringed instrument – performances were also offering. A takusa – which is a bundle of pine and bamboo leaves used in purifying rituals – was also offered into the river to pray for an abundant catch.

‘Kamuycep Festival’, a traditional Ainu ceremony


Shinkushiro River