“Because my grandfather had completed a year of graduate studies in urban planning, the army put him in a program at Stanford where he spent the entirety of WWII studying Japanese. When the war ended, he was sent to work on the reconstruction in Hokkaido. Being recently married into a family of anthropologists must have influenced him to make this film of the Ainu bear ceremony.
The bear ceremony was part of an annual Ainu festival built around the belief that the bear contained the spirit of a god. The return of this spirit to the mountains was cause for celebration. It’s a different outlook than most of us have today, but who doesn’t like a good party?
Mike Wexler’s and I recorded the music one summer’s evening in New York, just before I left for a tour of Japan with Turn On The Sunlight. The last show of the tour was in Hokkaido, so I was finally able to experience the place where my grandfather spent a few years of his life and of which he always spoke with great reverence.” – Jesse Peterson of Turn on the Sunlight. This song comes from their album New Day, out now on Disques-Corde.