Ainu patterns on Coke bottles. Meet craft artist Sekine from Biratori.

Hokkaido-only bottles featuring Ainu patterns started selling in late March
Sekine Maki gazes at a photograph of her father Kaizawa Moriyuki while holding a uniform featuring the "Hokkaido" design

Starting in late March, Hokkaido Coca-Cola Bottling (Sapporo) began selling special Hokkaido-only bottles featuring an indigenous Ainu pattern in the design. The bottle design was crafted by Sekine Maki (53), an Ainu craft artist based in the town of Biratori in the Hidaka subprefecture. The design combines an Ainu pattern with a Hokkaido logo designed in the 1960s by her father, who passed away at the young age of 41. Sekine reports, “I am very glad that a product employing the logo my father left behind is being used.”

The Hokkaido-only bottle, which was first released in 2017, is now featuring its first Ainu pattern design. Hokkaido Coca-Cola Bottling hired Sekine to craft the design in order to promote Hokkaido culture against the backdrop of the Tokyo Olympics.

The center of the design is a logo resembling a map of Hokkaido composed of the three Japanese symbols that make up the word “Hokkaido”. It is encircled by a design that includes the Ainu “aiushi” curved thorn pattern. Sekine commented, “As soon as I started thinking about the design, the Hokkaido logo my father made when he was alive immediately came to my mind.”

Sekine’s father, Kaizawa Moriyuki, was born in 1935 in Biratori’s Nibutani district, and opened a folk craft shop in Nibutani in 1962. The Hokkaido logo on the new Coke bottles was originally designed for his shop uniforms. Kaizawa passed suddenly from a myocardial infarction in August 1977, when Sekine was 10 years old. Approximately 190 of his works are stored at the National Museum of Ethnology (Osaka).

Sekine creates art from her base in Biratori. When she has trouble with ideas for her work, she still looks at the sketchbooks her father left behind to help her think. She reminisces, “My father is my teacher, and he still resides in my heart today. I want many people to enjoy these bottles designed by my father and myself as a team.”


Biratori's Nibutani district