Notes and Introduction


About Chiri Yukie

Hours before her sudden death at the age of nineteen, Chiri Yukie completed her only book, Ainu Shinyoushuu, a collection of traditional chants in the Ainu language. Her book, written in parallel Ainu and Japanese text, was the first book in or about the Ainu language to be written from the point of view of …

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About the ‘Ainu Shinyoushuu’

Ainu oral tradition encompasses many forms and many regional variations.  Stories are divided into categories, each associated with a type of subject matter and a mode of recital.  The categorization varies greatly between regions but there are three overarching types. Wepeker are folk tales told in prose and in ordinary language. Yukar are epics about …

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About Our Translation

Translating Chiri Yukie’s parallel Ainu and Japanese text into English is perhaps not quite so hard as Chiri’s original translation from Ainu into Japanese, but it still presents many challenges and many inevitable compromises. First and foremost, the Ainu text is meant to be sung, not read; yukar are recited to a short repeating melody …

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Ainu Literature Links

At the time of writing, Ainu language and literature is a good example of the sort of learning that is found in books rather than online — but there are some good resources: Ainu Sites: Project U-e-peker is a project to make Ainu literature available in English; it contains lots of articles and references to Ainu …

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