From June through to November 2022, Kamuy Lumina - an immersive night walk at Lake Akan - is taking place in the Akan-Mashu National Park on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. A Yamaha audio system has helped to give visitors a taste of the indigenous Ainu people’s mythology in this impressive multimedia experience.
Created by international multimedia studio Moment Factory, Lumina Night Walk experiences have been presented in many countries, using soundscape, light, projection mapping and other digital technologies. Kamuy Lumina is especially significant, as it was the first Lumina Night Walk to be staged in a national park anywhere in the world.
Designed to highlight the unique culture and natural beauty of Akan, Kamuy Lumina was commissioned by the Akan Adventure Tourism Corporation, proving so successful when first staged in 2019 that it has been repeated in 2021 and again in 2022.
The theme of Kamuy Lumina is based on the story of ‘Konkwa’, a song of the owl god and a jaybird. This comes from the many yukaras (or epic poems) of the Ainu people, whose mythology conveys the importance of living in harmony with nature.
The intention was to encourage more people to visit and stay in the area. We looked at several different production ideas to achieve this, but Kamuy Lumina stuck out in terms of featuring the Ainu story and other content unique to this region. We were also impressed by how the night walk allows visitors to enjoy the duality of Akan-Mashu National Park, encouraging them to come not only during the day, but also at night where they can feel like they are in another world, says Mr Hiroaki Mamiya of Akan Adventure Tourism.
Two more important reasons for choosing the multimedia production were because it transcends language barriers - which Akan Adventure Tourism hope will encourage international visitors, as well as from Japan - and also that the spectacle and technical innovation of the production makes the theme accessible to younger generations.
“In this way, we hope the message of the Ainu people, such as the importance of things in life and respect for people and animals, will have a great impact on children,” adds Mr Mamiya. “A key part of Kamuy Lumina is helping children in local elementary schools to understand the concept of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), via the Konkwa story”.
The system was designed by Moment Factory, with Prism Co., Ltd., contracted to install the technical equipment, as well as day-to-day technical operation and maintenance. Reliability was a key factor, as with any outdoor audio installation. This was the main reason why Moment Factory specified a Yamaha sound system.
The production is divided into eight zones on a Dante audio network, with Yamaha XMV series four- and eight-channel power amplifiers driving a total of 32 VXS8 and six VXS5 speakers, including a VXS5 at the reception area. All are carefully camouflaged, so they are not noticed by daytime visitors.
The XMV series amplifiers feature straightforward controls which allow all users, including non-networking specialists, to easily manage the Dante system. All are housed in exterior quality rack boxes which include both air conditioners and heaters, with the temperature and humidity managed by remotely monitoring a Wi-Fi-connected thermo-hygrometer.
Outdoor events are inevitably affected by the weather, the summer temperature and humidity can be especially difficult. We remotely monitor the thermo-hygrometers using a tablet and, if we think the temperature or humidity is too high, we can activate the air conditioners or open the rack doors to cool them down. We have used Yamaha products on Kamuy Lumina for three years and they have been very reliable. The cost:performance ratio is also very good, says Mr Yasushi Matsuura of Prism.
There is still plenty of time for visitors to experience Kamuy Lumina 2022 and, with it scheduled to run again next year, Akan Adventure Tourism is looking forward to again attracting both tourists and a summer migration of working people from the Japanese mainland.
The feedback from our customers has been very positive and many say they will come back again. With the help of the Japanese government lifting the limits on overseas visitors, we look forward to welcoming many more people to the amazing experience of Kamuy Lumina. There are new facilities on Hokkaido where they can live here for the summer and get to know the goodness of this place, says Mr Mamiya.
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