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Chiri Yukie and the Origins of the Ainu Shin’yōshū

Chiri Yukie and the Origins of the Ainu Shin’yōshū

(p.1) Chapter One Chiri Yukie and the Origins of the Ainu Shin’yōshū
Ainu Spirits Singing
Sarah M. Strong
University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter first sets out the book's focus: one strand of the vast river of oral tradition that Chiri Yukie (1903–1922), a young Horobetsu Ainu woman, received from grandmother Monashnouk (1848–1931), namely the Ainu shin'yōshū (Collection of Ainu chants of spiritual beings). This was the only part of her oral heritage that she was able to transcribe, translate, and arrange to have published during her short life. Yukie had created this manuscript, containing thirteen kamui yukar (chants of spiritual beings) in the Horobetsu Ainu dialect, by transcribing the Ainu words in the Latin alphabet and providing facing Japanese translations. The remainder of the chapter discusses the Ainu and their oral culture; Yukie's girlhood and receipt of oral traditions; and Yukie's encounter with wajin (ethnic Japanese) linguist Kinda'ichi Kyōsuke and the writing of the Ainu shin'yōshū.

Keywords:   Horobetsu Ainu, Ainu shin'yōshū, Chiri Yukie, Monashnouk, oral tradition, chants, spiritual beings, oral culture, Kinda'ichi Kyōsuke

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