Nearly 150 years ago, Ezo, home of the indigenous Ainu people, was rechristened Hokkaido, formalizing the centuries-long process of the island's assimilation into Japan.
To mark this occasion, a number of companies, groups and municipalities have banded together to launch the Hokkaido 150th Anniversary Project. Hokkaido Prefecture has earmarked ¥ 268 million for the project in its budget for fiscal 2018.
Coming 10 years after the government acknowledged the Ainu as northern Japan's "indigenous people," this should be a time to reflect on the consequences of the colonization of Ainu land and the near-decimation of the Ainu people and culture. But while raising awareness of Ainu culture is one of the stated goals of the 150th Anniversary Project, the Japanese word for "indigenous people" appears nowhere in the project's publicity materials.