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This is a free open educational resource to promote learning and teaching about visual cultures of the Ainu and the Ryukyu Archipelago.

The purpose of this project is to dismantle the underlying colonial hegemonic classifications about ideas surrounding art, art history, and Indigeneity by providing practical tools to teach about different perspectives of Japanese art histories.

See the About page to learn more about this project and the people behind it.


Decentering has a range of meanings in this project, but the first phase focuses on two broad cultural regions: the Ainu of Northern Honshū and Hokkaidō and the peoples of the Ryūkyū Archipelago, including present-day Okinawa. These materials are drawn from library, museum, and community archival collections from across the world. Explore the sections below to see how these materials can be utilized in your community.

Tenmoku-style tea bowl & stand with grape design in mother-of-pearl, 17th-18th century.

Ryūkyū Archipelago Cultures 琉球諸島の文化・Uchinānchu ウチナーンチュ

The Ryūkyū Archipelago stretches between the islands of Kyūshū and Taiwan.

Ikupasuy. Wood. Hokkaido. Milwaukee Public Museum, N17302.

 Ainu Cultures アイヌの文化

Ainu peoples have lived in the region that is now part of northern Japan and Russia for centuries.

Teaching Resources

Includes material for use in classrooms, museum work, community revitalization and outreach, and more.


The DJAH blog is a community resource for sharing current developments in the field, ongoing conversations, more information about decentering projects, and guest curators’ expertise and work. We’re open to contributions from our growing community such as community members, practicing artists, curators, scholars, professionals, librarians, and students.