Sacred Texts  Japan  Ainu

Specimens of Ainu Folk-lore.

by John Batchelor

[Tokyo, 1888-1893]
{Reduced to HTML by Christopher M. Weimer, September 2002}

These folktales were originally published in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan in three installments. The printed original is in parallel columns with the Ainu alongside Batchelor's English translations, and these Ainu versions are still considered a valuable source today (one of them was retranslated by Donald Philippi in his excellent collection Songs of Gods, Songs of Humans [Tokyo, 1979]); the untranslated Ainu has, however, been eliminated in this version.

John Batchelor was an Englishman and a missionary to the Ainu for a large part of his life. Because of his calling, he needs to be approached with caution as a source, but his large output of Ainu studies is still one of the primary sources for 19th century Ainu life. He is also mildly condescending toward his subjects, but unlike the book Aino Folk-Tales, also posted at sacred-texts, the author of this collection shows at times a genuine appreciation for the Ainu as people and for their yukar as literature.

vol. XVI, part 2, pp. 111-154 [1888]
[Read 14th March, 1888.]
I.An Ainu Legend of a Famine.
II.Another Legend of a Famine.
III.An Ainu Legend of a Large Trout.
IV.An Ainu Tradition Concerning Okikurumi and Samai.
V.Legend of Okikurumi in Love.
VI.A Legend of Okikurumi and His Wife Teaching the Ainu How to Fell Trees.
vol. XVIII, part 1, pp. 25-85 [1890]
[Read 4th December, 1889.]
VIII.The Legend of the Lady of Kunnepet.
IX.Legend of Kotan Utunnai.
vol. XX, part 2, pp. 216-227 [1893]
[Read April 28th, 1892.]
X.The Legend of How the Younger Sister of the Wolf-god Was Given to Me (to wife).
XI.Why There Are Snakes in Ainu-land and Why They Swallow Frogs.
XII.Why Western Yezo Is So Rough and Dangerous.