Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ainu Maori Exchange Program in need of support!

The Ainu Maori Exchange Program Story

In January 2012, a Maori leader, Te Ururoa Flavell visited Ainumosir (Hokkaido) and Tokyo and witnessed the work Ainu people are doing in their communities to revitalize their culture, language, and rights. He immediately suggested that Ainu youth come to Aoteroa (New Zealand) to see how Maori community members have been working to ensure cultural survival.

Immediately, the Aotearo-Ainumosir Exchange Program Committee to seek out participants. After a rigourous interview process, we chose 7 Ainu youth to go on the exchange starting end January for 5 weeks. Once they reach Aotearoa, they will study, experientialy, about the various ambitious endeavors of Maori people who have successfully revitalized their rights as indigenous people while living with strength in the society of New Zealand.

Their Struggle

Photo of 7 Participants

The situation the Ainu people find themselves in Japan, while similar in many ways, is also very different from that of the Maori people. The Ainu were just recognized as the indigenous people of Japan in 2008 and the Japanese government has only just starting to draft proposals for Ainu policies. In New Zealand, the Maori have been successful in their tireless work to advance the revitalization of their rights as indigenous people since the 1970s. Furthermore, the Maori people are contributing significantly to the development of New Zealand society in all of fields, whether economic, social, cultural, or political. The Maori language is an official language along with English.

It is certain that through this exchange program Ainu participants will gain enormous encouragement from their Maori counterparts who are making great strides in society while maintaining their culture and values as indigenous people.

It will be an opportunity for young Ainu people in search of their Ainu identity to take their first steps on the Ainu path. Due to anxiety about deeply rooted discrimination which pervades society, or the inability for people to discover meaning in being Ainu, there are still many people who have yet to assert their Ainu identity. According to a Hokkaido Prefecture survey there are about 24000 Ainu people, however in reality there are several times more Ainu people than that figure leads us to believe. Out of the 5,000 to 10,000 Ainu people living in the Tokyo metropolitan area alone, only around 100 of them are active as Ainu.

What They Need & What You Get

They are sending 7 Ainu youth, 3 Ainu comittee members and 3 interpreters for 5 weeks from January 20th to February 22nd, 2013. The Maori will graciously cover the majority of food, transportation, and lodging, but they need to raise money for:

-the remainder of airplane tickets & travel insurance
-daily expenses in Aotearoa
-costs for holding reporting sessions and publishing reports
-funds to ensure we can continue the exchange in the future

They are now running this as a Flexible Funding Campaign on Indiegogo here.
All funds received, no matter how much, will go to the Aotearoa-Ainumosir Exchange Program and used to fund Ainu youth exchange trips.

They have unique perks all made by Ainu to offer to you. Contributions over $50 (including overseas shipping costs) receive a beautiful woodblock print or T-shirt made by Ainu Artist Koji Yuuki specially for this programme as a token of our appreciation.


Program T-shirt

Woodblock print for donation

The Impact

Seeing with our own eyes the endeavors of our indigenous Maori brothers and sisters, coming in contact with their passion, touching it with our own hands, feeling it with all of our senses, will surely inspire us to come to terms with our sense of Ainu identity which some of us are still grasping for in the dark. We sincerely hope that this exchange will give us an opportunity to become aware, to see with brand new eyes, the deepness of the traditions that our tipuna (Maori word meaning ancestor(s)) have left for us. Participants in this program will become even more aware of the significance of being Ainu, and if they are able to stand firmly in their decision to travel on the Ainu path, they will be able to make important strides for a new future for the Ainu people. At the same time, we believe it will create an opportunity for Japanese society to become more a fair society- one that respects a diversity of values. We do not intend to have this program available only for this year, but rather, we hope to make this a mutually-beneficial exchange that lasts long in the future, where we not only send Ainu to New Zealand, but also have Maori people visit us where we live, further solidifying the bonds between the Ainu and Maori people.

Other Ways You Can Help

For those who prefer to make a money transfer within Japan:
●Individual contributions accepted from 1000yen in increments of 1000 yen
●Organizational/Corporate contributions in increments of 10,000 yen   
●Donation method- Bank Transfer Deposit:

Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ Bank Hashimoto Branch
(Ordinary) 0526312
Aotearoa Ainumosiri koryu puroguramu jikkouiinnkai   
Postal Transfer: 0022-7-54530 Aotearoa Ainumosiri koryu puroguramu jikkouiinnkai

Thursday, September 27, 2012

World's first solar-sail cargo ship to be built next year

Tokyo-based Greenheart Project is building the world's first solar-sail cargo ship as early as next year. This ship will make fair trade even more fairer by getting the transportation into the hands of the people making products for trade. They can control to whom and how their products get ship, meaning producers can finally decide to ship at zero-emissions. This ship will not only be used for fair trade, but can be utilized in a variety of situations, such as ocean monitoring, fishing, debris removal, et cetera. Watch the video and see for yourself. Greenheart is also looking to raise $120,000 by October 15th at a famous crowdfunding website called Indiegogo

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

TEPCO to withdraw from Vietnam nuclear plant project

TEPCO to withdraw from Vietnam nuclear plant project

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is set to withdraw from an overseas nuclear power plant construction project to concentrate on the crisis at the tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.
TEPCO decided to exit a project by International Nuclear Energy Development of Japan Co. (JINED) to construct nuclear plants in Vietnam. The decision is likely to force the government to review its policy of promoting nuclear plant exports.
JINED was set up in October 2010 on the initiative of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), with the primary aim of winning a contract to build nuclear power stations in Vietnam.
It is owned by nine electric power companies, nuclear plant manufacturers Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, a public-private joint venture.
TEPCO, which has a 20 percent stake in JINED, is the top shareholder, and had planned to operate and service nuclear reactors in Vietnam.
However, TEPCO's newly appointed president, Naomi Hirose, said the company has no choice but to abandon the plan due to the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
"TEPCO nuclear reactor engineers must concentrate on stabilizing and decommissioning the reactors at the plant over a long period. It's impossible to place priority on exporting nuclear plants if we are sacrificing the response to the crisis," he said.
Though it will maintain its stake in JINED, TEPCO will not dispatch engineers to Vietnam or give advice to workers at the project site.
In a separate nuclear plant construction project in the United Arab Emirates in 2009, Japanese bidders were defeated by their South Korean counterparts, which offered a price about 20 percent lower.
Industry insiders say the construction of nuclear power stations in quake-prone Japan is more expensive because of stepped up safety measures. Therefore, METI proposed that contractors offer to not only build nuclear plants but also to operate and service them in a package deal to make up for their higher prices.
JINED's winning of the contract in Vietnam is widely regarded as an example of successful marketing, and the company had intended to continue exporting nuclear power stations with cooperation from TEPCO.
However, since TEPCO has decided not to participate in such projects, it is feared Japanese companies will lose their edge.
The government is desperate to maintain JINED's superiority.
"We're considering asking Kansai Electric Power Co. to replace TEPCO as leader of the project," a METI source said.
If Japan fails to compensate for TEPCO's withdrawal, the Vietnamese government could cancel its contract with JINED, citing a change in contract terms, government sources said.

Peace teaching

Daniel Schön, in his The Reflective Practitioner, began this conversation decades ago but universities can and must do much more to respond with innovation to provide our students experiential courses which challenge them to build community, create new knowledge which they truly own, and form relationships which can facilitate their conflict resolution careers. Lederach has used the metaphor of “web building” for community peace makers. Immersed in the field alongside practitioners, students can witness the web being built. Kolb’s classic Learning Cycle is a key theoretical underpinning here as well.

Article on Asian endangered languages

Going, Going, Gone: Five of Asia's Most Endangered Languages July 6th, 2012 by Sherley Wetherhold 2 inShare Last month, Google launched its interactive Endangered Languages Project site. The website aims to catalog and raise awareness about the world's endangered languages. Language bears centuries of cultural heritage, as well as valuable scientific, medical, and botanical knowledge, but experts believe only half of the 7,000 languages spoken today will make it to the end of the 21st century. Of the 3,054 endangered languages documented on the site so far, nearly half are in Asia. Here's a look at some of Asia's most endangered languages and their peoples. 1. Saaroa (Taiwan) Taiwan aborigines, Bunun tribe, Formosa [ca. 1900]. (Ralph Repo/Flickr) Southern Taiwan is home to 300 ethnic Saaroa, only six of whom are native speakers. The Saaroa and neighboring Kanakabu (who have eight native speakers left) assimilated into the Bunun, a larger minority group. Many of Taiwan's indigenous languages have similarities with the Austronesian languages of Polynesia and Micronesia. 2. Ainu (Japan) Japanese tourist with two Ainu in Hokkaido, date unknown. (Sgt. Steiner/Flickr) The Ainu, often noted for how hairy they are, call Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, famous for its ski resorts and beer, home. In 2008, 140 years after the island's annexation and 109 years after they had their nationality taken away from them, the Japanese Diet officially recognized the Ainu as an indigenous people. The Ainu language is "critically endangered," meaning the "youngest speakers are grandparents and older, and they speak the language partially and infrequently." Some sources claim there may be fewer than ten Ainu speakers today. The Ainu traditionally practiced animism and had no written language. The Hokkaido Former Aborigines Protection Act of 1899 declared the Ainu to be Japanese people — banning the Ainu from speaking their language, practicing their religion and partaking in Ainu cultural activities. Official figures suggest that there are 24,000 Ainu living in Japan today, many of mixed ancestry, many more in denial of their roots for fear of discrimination. 3. Kusunda (Nepal) The last of the Kusundas. (Aashish Jha/Flickr) Earlier this year, it was reported that there is only one fluent Kusunda speaker left in the entire world. The two elderly Kusunda pictured above may be two of the last eight broken Kusunda speakers. The Kusunda people live in central Nepal and speak a language that is unlike any other in the world. Up until recently, the Kusunda were semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers. While Kusunda is one of a handful of language isolates, some theorists suggest that they migrated from Papua New Guinea. 4. Manchu (China) "Manchu Ladies of the Palace Being Warned to Stop Smoking [ca. 1910-1925]," Beijing, China. (F. Carpenter, restoration via Ralph Repo/Flickr) The last dynasts of Imperial China, the Manchus ruled China from 1644 to 1912. Today, there are ten million ethnic Manchus dispersed throughout China and the world, fewer than two dozen of who can speak Manchu. Many Manchus adopted Han Chinese surnames to escape persecution after the Chinese Revolution of 1911 and assimilated into mainstream Chinese society. 5. Jarawa (India) Jarawa, Andaman Islands, aken on january 5, 2007. (Christian Caron/Flickr) The Jarawa people are the indigenous people of India's Andaman Islands. Of the 300 Jarawa, there are between six and 31 native speakers of the language. Earlier this week, India's Supreme Court banned all commercial and tourism activity in the area, after human rights groups criticized the government for allowing local authorities to reap financial gains from "human safaris." Along with their (sometimes cruel) curiosity, outsiders expose the Jarawa to diseases their immune systems cannot fend off. In spite of this week's ban, however, the Andaman Trunk Road, an illegal highway that runs through their jungle home, has yet to be closed. Activists fear the Jarawa will go to the way of the Bo, a neighboring people who became extinct in 2010. Languages have been fading in and out of existence for centuries, but many of the peoples featured in this post have lost their languages because of cultural and political oppression. The Endangered Languages Project strives to celebrate and preserve the multiplicity of the world's tongues and give agency to humanity's range of lesser-known perspectives.

News about the Aotearoa-Ainu Mosir exchange

NZでマオリと交流 平成25年アイヌ派遣希望者を募集  2012.6.7 21:44  アイヌがニュージーランドの先住民族、マオリの文化や言語を学ぶ「アオテアロア・アイヌモシリ交流プログラム」が平成25年1月21日から1カ月、ニュージーランドで開かれる。現在、アイヌの参加者約10人と、賛同者の寄付を募集している。  同プログラムでは、ラタナ生誕祭などマオリの伝統行事に出席。またニュージーランドの公用語として指定されたマオリ語の復興の仕組みなどを学ぶ。同プログラム実行委員会では「まだアイヌであることを公にしていない方もぜひ参加してもらいたい」としている。参加の応募締め切りは今月30日。  渡航費用など約300万円が必要で、賛同者からの寄付(個人1口1000円)を受け付けている。問い合わせはメール(で。 「マオリに学んで」アイヌ民族をNZに派遣 2012年06月26日 ■NZでの交流事業、参加者募る  アイヌ民族の人々をニュージーランドに派遣し、先住民族マオリの先進的な取り組みを学んでもらおうと、「アオテアロア・アイヌモシリ交流プログラム実行委員会」がアイヌ民族の参加者を募集している。  今年1月来日し、「アイヌ民族党」結党大会に出席したニュージーランド先住民族の政党「マオリ党」の国会議員が企画。来日時に交流したアイヌ民族の人たちが中心になって、日本側の実行委を立ち上げた。  派遣は来年1月21日から約1カ月。滞在費はマオリ側の受け入れ組織が、渡航費は実行委が資金を集めて負担するため、本人負担は雑費など5万円。現地ではマオリの重要な行事に参加したり、マオリ語の教育現場などを見たりしながら研修を行う。  アイヌ民族であることを積極的に公表していない人にも、参加を呼びかけたいとしている。  募集はアイヌ民族10人程度。参加動機や思いを書いた千字以内の作文と履歴書による1次選考の後、7月27日に東京で、7月30日に札幌で面接による2次選考がある。応募締め切りは6月30日(当日消印有効、ファクス可)。書類提出先は〒252・0135神奈川県相模原市緑区大島3336の1 島田あけみさん気付、実行委員会事務局(電話・ファクス042・763・6602)。メールの問い合わせは事務局(へ。

Japanese rally in N.Y. to slam reactors Kyodo NEW YORK — About 40 people, mainly from Japan, mounted an antinuclear rally in downtown New York on Saturday in what the organizers called a joint action with huge weekly demonstrations opposing nuclear energy near the prime minister's office in Tokyo. The demonstrators, including Akihiro Yamamoto, a 35-year-old musician from Tottori, marched through the streets in the city crowded with citizens and tourists holding a banner reading "Save Beautiful Japan No Nukes." Yamamoto said he had never organized a rally or even taken part in any before. "There are people in Japan who have risen up. We want to let people in New York know Japan does not want to keep atomic power plants," he said.