Ainu spirits singing : the living world of Chiri Yukie's Ainu shinʼyōshū (Book, 2011) [WorldCat.org]
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Ainu spirits singing : the living world of Chiri Yukie's Ainu shinʼyōshū

Author: Sarah Mehlhop Strong; Yukie Chiri
Publisher: Honolulu : University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2011
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Indigenous peoples throughout the globe are custodians of a unique, priceless, and increasingly imperiled legacy of oral lore. Among them the Ainu, a people native to northeastern Asia, stand out for the exceptional scope and richness of their oral performance traditions. Yet despite this cultural wealth, nothing has appeared in English on the subject in over thirty years. Sarah Strong's Ainu Spirits Singing breaks
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Named Person: Yukie Chiri; Yukie Chiri; Yukie Chiri
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Sarah Mehlhop Strong; Yukie Chiri
ISBN: 9780824835125 0824835123
OCLC Number: 1091641606
Notes: Includes English translation of 13 Ainu chants
Proveniens: Kirsten Refsing
Doneret af: Maya Sol Kozieja Niemelä
Description: xvi, 314 s. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Chiri Yukie and the origins of the Ainu shinʼyōshū --
The living world of the Ainu shinʼyōshū --
The Ainu social landscape --
Weighty animal spirits and important game animals --
Symbolic and ordinary animal spirits --
Chiri Yukie's Ainu shinʼyōshū
Responsibility: Sarah M. Strong

Abstract:

Indigenous peoples throughout the globe are custodians of a unique, priceless, and increasingly imperiled legacy of oral lore. Among them the Ainu, a people native to northeastern Asia, stand out for the exceptional scope and richness of their oral performance traditions. Yet despite this cultural wealth, nothing has appeared in English on the subject in over thirty years. Sarah Strong's Ainu Spirits Singing breaks this decades-long silence with a nuanced study and English translation of Chiri Yukie's Ainu Shin'yōshū, the first written transcription of Ainu oral narratives by an ethnic Ainu. The thirteen narratives in Chiri's collection belong to the genre known as kamui yūkar, said to be the most ancient performance form in the vast Ainu repertoire. In it, animals (and sometimes plants or other natural phenomena)--all regarded as spiritual beings (kamui) within the animate Ainu world--assume the role of narrator and tell stories about themselves.

The first-person speakers include imposing animals such as the revered orca, the Hokkaido wolf, and the Blakiston's fish owl, as well as the more "humble" Hokkaido brown frog, snowshoe hare, and pearl mussel. Each has its own story and own signature refrain. Strong provides readers with an intimate and perceptive view of this extraordinary text. Along with critical contextual information about traditional Ainu society and its cultural assumptions, she brings forward pertinent information on the geography and natural history of the coastal southwestern Hokkaido region where the stories were originally performed. The result is a rich fusion of knowledge that allows the reader to feel at home within the animistic frame of reference of the narratives. Strong's study also offers the first extended biography of Chiri Yukie (1903-1922) in English.

The story of her life, and her untimely death at age nineteen, makes clear the harsh consequences for Chiri and her fellow Ainu of the Japanese colonization of Hokkaido and the Meiji and Taishō governments' policies of assimilation. Chiri's receipt of the narratives in the Horobetsu dialect from her grandmother and aunt (both traditional performers) and the fact that no native speakers of that dialect survive today make her work all the more significant. The book concludes with a full, integral translation of the text

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