Japanese Ancient History and Ainu Language
Japanese Ancient History and Ainu Language
orig: 97/08/27
rev2: 97/10/05 Spelling, Grammatical corrections
rev3: 98/02/21 Correction at * mark
rev4: 99/06/06 tables

Welcome to History and Language Section.

This is a layman's research into Japanese ancient history as related to Ainu language. I have long been interested in a theme, "how Japanese language has emerged." There is no widely accepted answer to this question.

Perhaps, a conservative average is somewhere around that the language was a mixture of northern and southern languages as follows.

Ural-Altaic languagesin that a certain degree of vowel harmony can be observed in Old Japanese
"southern" languagesin that a few "body" related words show similarities to them.

Radical, so look they to me, opinions have been pubilshed by even well-known scholars, to a disappoinment by the many. Languages associated as the mother language to Japanese include Hebrew, Sumerian, Lepcha (a Himalayan language) and Tamil.

It is even astonishing why these serious scholars did not look at their own foot step, Ainu language.

We have a clear statement in our old history books that the royal ancestor, Ninigi-no-mikoto, descended from the Heaven and married a native girl, Kono-Hana-Sakuya-Hime (if interpreted by Japanese, this means "The Flower Blooming Princess) in Ata, a name of a place somewhere in Kyushu Island.

Should we not place more focus on only other language that survived in the country through the long history? Should we not consider the Ainu language the strongest candidate for the language the native girl was speaking?

Let me talk briefly about three most important history books, in my opinion, that our ancestors left for us. Namely,

KOJIKIcompiled in AD 712 (Kojiki books in English)
NIHON SHOKIcompiled in AD 720
FUDOKIthe oldest date recorded is AD 733.

I have found a homepage that describes more in detail of Kojiki. For those interested, the URL is: http://www.wsu.edu/~wldciv/world_civ_reader/world_civ_reader_1/kojiki.html
The above mentioned encounter of the royal family and the native people is written in Kojiki and Nihon Shoki.

The story let us know clearly that there were people already living in Japan when the royal family "descended" some time ago, say, claimingly, 2000 to 3000 years ago.

The royal marriage between Ninigi and Kono-Hana brought 3 sons of which the youngest took the royalship and the oldest became the ancestor of "Hayato" tribe, the books say.

    There are different versions of stories at various stages. However, I'm not going into detail, now.

Whether "Hayato" is a name of a race, a tribe or a family is not certain. I tend to consider Hayato lived widely in Kyushu island, not only Ata area. This is because we have Fudoki of HIZEN country (present Saga and Nagasaki prefectures), which describes a group of people in a small island, north western Kyushu, whose language was different (from Japanese) and similar to that of Hayato.

My hypothesis is that Hayato was also an ancestor of people now known as Ainu . Such research as small deviation in head bones or comparison of dogs support my hypothesis positively. A certain blood type research is median to negative.

Here is a link to Page 11: Recent Anthropological Findings

MURAYAMA Shichiro has written that there appears a positive sign in successfully establishing comparative language study between Ainu language and Austronesian languages. He suggests a paradigm that an ancient Japanese language was practiced widely in Japan islands, and that the people and their language were separated to, or pushed back to south west and north east directions by an invading people to Kyushu.

More details at Pages 10,10a,10b: Introduction to works of Shichiro MURAYAMA (1908-1995)

Among other researchers, I have learnt that such persons as HATTORI Siro, KINDAICHI Kyousuke, CHIRI Mashiho and YAMADA Hidezo left remarkable works for followers in Ainu language studies. Very brief description about their works is given in Page 6.

Well, this would-be-preface is getting long. I'll stop here. For those who are interested in this sort of subject, please proceed to Page 2.

Thank you.

Please visit Page 2: Sample Ainu words in history books
I intend to continue this kind of writing, as audiences hopefully grow. Your kind comments from the mail-form will highly encourage the writer. Thank you.
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