Hokkaido schoolchildren learn about traditional Ainu fishing

Students at Chitose Elementary School on the northern main island of Hokkaido gained hands-on traditional salmon fishing experience from the indigenous Ainu people of Japan in class in mid-October.

Third-grade students at the city’s Suehiro Public Primary School learned to use a spear called a “marek” to fish for salmon at the head of an Ainu culture preservation group, several having actually tried it. and participated in their cutting.

A student snatches a salmon with a “marek” spear.

The school says it emphasizes the study of Ainu culture and holds the type of class every year to teach third graders the importance of life.

This year’s event took place over three days so that each class could participate on a different day as part of the anti-coronavirus measures.

In one, 26 students who had previously studied culture learned from Katsuyuki Ishibe, head of the Chitose Society for the Preservation of Traditional Ainu Culture, how to use the marek and the meaning of traditional rituals.

In the class, Ryunosuke Niki and two others used the marek with Ishibe’s help, and each speared and caught a salmon released for the event in a stream near Chitose’s aquarium.

“It was hard to touch. I felt the weight of the salmon when I pulled it up and I felt like it was alive,” Niki said.

The Hokkaido Shimbun press

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