On a wooded lake shore in northern Japan, the government is building a modernist shrine (pictured below) that has divided the indigenous Ainu community whose vanishing culture it was designed to celebrate.
Left: Hachiya wears a traditional Ainu robe with lipstick drawn around her mouth to recreate traditional tattoos commonly worn by Ainu women. Right: Tosa Monna, grandmother of Hachiya, performs a traditional musical instrumental Mukkur
Some Ainu worry the new museum complex is mostly meant to burnish Japan's international standing ahead of the Olympics.
"I think it's possible it could end up becoming a theme park," said Ainu tattoo artist Mai Hachiya. "People would come to see the dancing and other performances. It would be like a zoo."
Left: Materials used for making an Ainu tattoo and a notebook which Hachiya made for studying. Right: Hachiya cuts her thumb with a razor blade to create a tattoo.
With pictures of smiling performers, a draft brochure describes Ainu hunter-gatherer culture as "on the verge of extinction." It makes no reference to Japanese policies that forced Ainu to adopt Japanese names, speak Japanese and outlawed practices such as a traditional form of tattooing Hachiya is trying to revive.
Hachiya, 36, who is also a singer, has been asked to practice a routine with other Ainu performers that may be included in the Olympics opening ceremony in Tokyo.
"I think Hokkaido is a Japanese colony," she said. "That's a hard thing to say, but if you look back on what was done, that's what you have to conclude."
PHOTO EDITING BY MARIKA KOCHIASHVILI; EDITING BY KEVIN KROLICKI, BILLY MALLARD AND GERRY DOYLE; LAYOUT JULIA DALRYMPLE