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Pathways to Memory" is a discovery documentary of the Ainu people in Japan. On a trip through the recovery of their identity, which took us from Japan to Europe, we will find a people erased from history books and scarred by discrimination which pushed them close to their final extinction.
People whose origins and language are still a mystery. The tangible journey take us from Kanto and Hokkaido, in Japan, to European museums where a great part of of the Ainu heritage is kept.
The intangible journey takes us throughout testimonies of Ainu, Japanese and European people dealing with the situation of the Ainu people from different points of view. The tour along the pathways to memory reveals an uncertain destiny.
The growing interest in preservation of Ainu culture clashes with a reality of marginalization which has reduced it to mere museum pieces.
The repeated sentence “I am Ainu” expresses their willingness to overcome their lost marginal circumstances and recovery of their pride.
But the awakening of the Ainu people faces the mercantilist logic of a globalized world.
Unavoidably, doubt comes to mind, what does being Ainu mean today?