You can’t help but feel that Japan’s indigenous population – the Ainu – are distinctly under-represented in modern Japanese culture.  In fashion circles you are almost tripping over designs inspired by the Native Americans, but Ainu imagery is conspicuously absent.  While I would agree with Rebecca that Japan needs to show a bit more appreciation for its own culture, I am glad to see at least one Tokyo shop keeping the Ainu arts alive.

Located in the very cool Koenji district Ague offers authentic and inspired Ainu jewelery, clothes and art.

Key motifs are bears (sacred in Ainu culture), tribal depictions of animals and nature and native earthy materials.

I love this heavy sterling bear ring with gold accents

As well as this hand-carved tribal bangle

And if you are after a really authentic piece of Ainu tribal jewelery then you will also find yourself amply catered for

Here at Tokyo Telephone we love the fact that there are people still producing Ainu inspired work that would otherwise be a remnant of history.  Instead these artists are putting the Ainu art into fashion and in turn supporting and raising awareness for Ainu rights.


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3 Responses to Ainu Style

  1. […] nice Ainu design – more Ainu style here in an embarrassingly dated […]

  2. Joe says:

    OK, this bear claw ring is absolutely what I’ve been looking for. Where exactly can I find out how to purchase one…or three.

  3. Samuel says:

    @ Joe

    You have no idea how many emails I get about that one particular ring!

    My advice is going to be contact them directly here: (link at the bottom)

    and explain where you saw the ring (you won’t be the first), what size and they will get back to you if they can. If you can speak any Japanese then give that a go, otherwise simple English should be OK.

    Either way let me know how you get on and I can’t wait to get back to the shop and shoot some decent pictures soon.


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