Obihiro Centennial City Museum


[Bear Festival]

iomante [Bear Festival]

A ritual for sending back animals’ kamuy (god) spirits to the kamuy realm. Bear cubs are raised for about a year after being captured, and then sent back to the kamuy (god) realm, wishing for their return. Bears are believed to be embodiments of the bear kamuy, and come with gifts of skin and meat to visit the human realm from the kamuy realm. Foxes and Blakiston’s fish owls were subject to this ritual as well. Rituals sendings of animals not held in captivity were called opunika.