Master – An Ainu Story


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Master – An Ainu Story provides a rare insight into the lives and culture of modern-day Ainu (an indigenous people of Japan). It has been exhibited at The Brunei Gallery, London, Sway Gallery, London and Stockholm, The ICP Museum, New York, and has appeared in National Geographic Traveler magazine.

Adam Isfendiyar is a London-based photographer, whose passion is in telling the stories of individuals and their connection to their environment. He lived in Hokkaido, Japan with Kenji Matsuda from 2016 to 2018. Through the personal experiences of Matsuda san, the photos and stories in this book tell the story of survival and adaptation of the Ainu.

Matsuda san, known as ‘Master’ (which roughly translates to ‘Boss’ in English) to his family, colleagues and patrons, has grown up sandwiched between two generations of Ainu with very different attitudes towards their heritage. While his grandparents’ generation encouraged their children and grandchildren to assimilate for fear of discrimination, recent generations have started to demand recognition of their indigenous status, which was finally given in February 2019.

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Publication Date

29 August, 2023


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