Taiwan-Japan indigenous handicraft show kicks off in New Taipei

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CIP Deputy Minister Calivat Gadu (left) is joined by Mamoru Kaizawa, head of the Ainu association in Nibutani district of Hokkaido’s Biratori town, in

CIP Deputy Minister Calivat Gadu (left) is joined by Mamoru Kaizawa, head of the Ainu association in Nibutani district of Hokkaido’s Biratori town, in

The third annual Taiwan-Japan indigenous handicraft exhibition kicked off March 21 in New Taipei City, underscoring government efforts to strengthen cultural exchanges between local tribes and overseas counterparts.

Co-organized by the Cabinet-level Council of Indigenous Peoples, the show runs through April 30 at the Hbun Indigenous Lifestyle gallery and store in the city’s Tamsui District. It features items by artisans from Taiwan’s Atayal, Paiwan and Tao tribes and Japan’s Ainu indigenous people, such as boats, clothes and knives.

According to CIP Deputy Minister Calivat Gadu, handicrafts represent a shared language for promoting cross-cultural communication between Taiwan’s and Japan’s indigenous communities. The theme of this year’s show, Life Wisdom of Mother Nature, also spotlights the shared belief in respect for the environment among tribes on both sides, he added.

Mamoru Kaizawa, head of the Ainu association in Nibutani district of Hokkaido’s Biratori town, expressed his gratitude to the CIP for staging the exhibition. The event has helped deepen people-to-people connections between indigenous artisans in Taiwan and Japan, he said.

Among the featured items is a traditional boat from shipbuilding studio Tatala, established by Tao craftsman Syban Misrako from Orchid Island in southeastern Taiwan’s Taitung County.

Also on show are totem knives by Vulai Creative studio’s Ljuyan, a Paiwan artisan who merges the weaving and woodcarving practices of his tribe with those of the Atayal and Pinuyumayan, as well as dyed fabrics by Atayal workshop Shih Bi Weaving and Dyeing Craft Park in northern Taiwan’s Miaoli County.

Ainu artisans are displaying various items made from tree bark including woven bracelets and place mats.

Indigenous peoples have lived in Taiwan for millenniums. The latest CIP statistics revealed that the population of the country’s 16 officially recognized tribes stands at around 560,000, or 2.3 percent of the total 23.5 million.