OKI: Music of the Ainu

May 6, 2022 7:30 pm
Traditional & Contemporary Music

Friday, May 6 at 7:30 pm—followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception  SOLD OUT

Oki Kano, known professionally as OKI, is a leading musician of Ainu music—the music of Japan’s northernmost indigenous people. Born to a Japanese mother and an Ainu father, OKI has recovered and recreated traditional music on the tonkori, a stringed instrument of the Ainu people of Karafuto (a region also known as Sakhalin). The rich, reverberating twang of the tonkori strings, which are traditionally made from deer tendons, allowed Ainu shamans to communicate with spirits that control the wind, rain and other natural phenomena called kamuy. In this program, OKI performs solo pieces as well as contemporary works with his band members from their new album, Tonkori in the Moonlight, released in January 2022. OKI is also featured in the film Ainu Mosir (2020).

View Program

Tickets: $30/$25 members

Related Events

Ainu Mosir

Ainu Mosir
In-Person Film Screening

In Ainu Mosir, a sensitive Ainu teen searches for a spiritual connection with his recently deceased father while navigating his indigenous identity in a changing world. Takeshi Fukunaga’s second narrative feature film was created in 2020 as a Japan/U.S./China co-production with non-actor Ainu cast in the lead roles, after being developed at Cannes Film Festival’s Cinéfondation Residence and Sam Spiegel International Film Lab. Ainu Mosir won Special Jury Mention in International Narrative Competition at Tribeca Film Festival and Best Film at Guanajuato International Film Festival. The New York Times wrote, “Rather than relying on dialogue, Fukunaga allows emotion to shine through musical performances. These scenes speak for themselves, and they build upon the story with quiet power.”

Followed by a Q&A session with Ainu musician and performer OKI, featured in the film.

Saturday, May 7 at 7 pm

For the health and safety of our staff and visitors, we kindly ask that you:

  • - Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth at all times. Masks with vents/bandanas are not permitted. Respirator-style masks (N95, KN95, KF94, etc.) are encouraged.

  • - Bring proof of vaccination and photo ID with you. As of February 1, proof of a booster shot is required for anyone who is eligible, with a 4-week grace period after eligibility.

For more information, please review our Visitor Policies and Safety Protocols.

SHeep Inset

OKI: Music of the Ainu is supported, in part, by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan through the Japan Arts Council, and Doug and Teresa Peterson.


2021-2022 Performing Arts Season

Lead Sponsor
MetLife Foundation

The season is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.


Major support is generously provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, Doug and Teresa Peterson, and The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc. Endowment support is provided by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Endowment Fund and the Endowment for the Performing Arts, established with a leadership gift from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Howard Gilman

Additional support is provided by the Royal Little Family Foundation, Helen and Kenneth A. Cowin, Dr. and Mrs. Carl F. Taeusch II, Dr. Jeanette C. Takamura, Estate of Alan M. Suhonen, Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon, Nancy and Joe Walker, Dr. John K. Gillespie, Paula S. Lawrence, Dr. Stephen and Mrs. Michiko Levine, Marjorie Neuwirth, Hiroko Onoyama, Lyndley and Samuel Schwab, and Nora and David Tezanos. Transportation assistance is provided by All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. Yamaha is the official piano provider of Japan Society. MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception is provided by MetLife Foundation.