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Aino Folk-Tales

Basil Hall Chamberlain

Book Overview: 

Not for the squeamish or for children, these folk-tales are from the Ainu, the somewhat mysterious indigenous people of Japan, thousands of whom still live in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Ranging over all of the usual themes of folklore, from creation to marriage to war, these stories have a pungent, ribald frankness concerning all aspects of human life that offended their scholarly collector Basil Hall Chamberlain (his apologies to the reader are themselves entertaining) but that make them fresh, provocative, and amusing to the twenty-first century reader. Attention to the Ainu is especially timely because of the revival in Japan of Ainu activism on behalf of indigenous rights, pride, and culture, but are well worth reading for their purely entertainment value.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .The Aino names appended to the stories are those of the men by whom they were told to me, viz. Penri, the aged chief of Piratori; Ishanashte of Shumunkot; Kannariki of Poropet (Jap. Horobetsu); and Kuteashguru of Sapporo. Tomtare of Y[=u]ūrap does not appear for the reason mentioned above, which spoilt all his usefulness. The only mythological names which appear are Okikurumi, whom the Ainos regard as having been their civilizer in very ancient times, his[7] sister-wife Turesh, or Tureshi[hi] and his henchman Samayunguru. The "divine symbols," of which such constant mention is made in the tales, are the inao or whittled sticks frequently described in books of travels.

Basil Hall Chamberlain.

Miyanoshita, Japan,
20th July, 1887.

I.—TALES ACCOUNTING FOR THE ORIGIN OF PHENOMENA. i.—The Rat and the Owl.[B]

An owl had put by for next day the remains of something dainty which he had to eat. But a rat stole it, whereupon . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Collected Japanese folk tales with an eye toward the scholarly folklorist. The material here relates not only the tale itself but who related it and whether it is a direct translation or a retelling of the original story. Interesting, not just from the point of view of the tales themselves and their

The opening preface with it's outdated anthropological perspectives was quite cringe-worthy, but the tales themselves were quite consistently interesting, some being truly great fables.

A small collection of Aino folktales, which are (unedited, apart from translation) transcripts of oral tales and lore fragments. The complete lack of editing tends to make some of them rather blunt reads. The content itself is a nice gateway to the lore of these indigenous people of Japan. Several o

While the preface and introduction are notably dated, this collection of folktales from the indigenous people of Japan appears to have been undertaken with a mind toward keeping the character of the tales as accurate as possible without moralization or interpretation. The compiler indicates which of

أول كتاب أقرأه بهذه السلسلة، خفيف، ممتع وظريف. مقدمة شعب الآينو اختصرت ما يقابل جلسة انترنتيه كاملة قضيتها بين المواقع بالماضي. فهم سكان الأرخبيل الياباني الأصليين (Ainu/Jomon)، نزحوا عن أراضيهم واستقروا في هوكايدو بعد قدوم اليابانيين من الأصول الصينية (Yayoi) وعانوا اضطهاد يماثل ماذاقه سكان أميركا

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