Japanese Ancient History and Ainu Language
Sample Ainu Words in Japanese Ancient History
orig: 97/08/27
rev1: 97/08/30 Spelling, Grammatical, minor corrections

Hi, Welcome to Page 2.

I'd like to show a few samples of possible Ainu words that appeared in Japan's Ancient History books, such as Kojiki, Nihon Shoki and Fudoki.

Fudoki, literally meaning, Wind Soil Record, is a group of report documents from local governments to the central government, by the order of an emperor.

    Incidentally, I question the English translation of "emperor" for our Tennou. Literally, it means "Sky King" or Heaven King".
Izumo Fudoki, a local historical, geographical, or folk tale level report compiled by Izumo (now Shimane prefecture) people for the central govenment in AD 733, is the only complete Fudoki available today. Fudoki's of other countries are either partially inherited, or partially known thanks to quotations or references that other books made.

A clause from OHO-SUMI Fudoki was quoted by another book. The clause reads, in essence:
    Village of Pishi: Once upon a time, there was a (small) shore in the ocean. Hayato's call a shore, Pishi. That's why this place is called Pishi.
Now, in Ainu language, there is a word, "pis", which means a shore. This selfapparent similarity has been mentioned by quite a few books already. OHO-SUMI is in the east part of the present Kagoshima prefecture.

In, what I believe is, my discovery, another Fudoki from HIZEN country (Saga and Nagasaki prefectures, today) explains why a pond in a part of the country is called pond of "Pichiha." The reason is that native people there called the shore (of the pond) as Pichiha.

In Ainese, "pet-cha" means a river shore, "pet-cham" means either a river shore or the river side and "pet-char" means a river mouth. The first two seem to be a highly likely candidate for the pond's name.

Incidentally, the pond name appeared to have been used to represent wider area, as the time went by. Today, we have Chijiwa city in Nagasaki prefecture where the pond is believed to have existed. There may have been a lot of pronunciation evolution stages for the word, from Pichiha to Chijiwa.

    It has been established that Japanese "h" sound would have been derived from "p" sound. Therefore, I wrote as "Pichiha", although many current books tell to read "Hichiha". I may have had to write "Pichipa" to be consistent. Anyway, one can consider that "p" and "h" are equivalent or interchangeable when discussing Japanese old language.

Third example is from the time of the 15th Tennou (emperor), perhaps in the 4th century AD. OUJIN Tennou visited Yoshino where he was entertained by the local KUZU people. They cooked and served a frog, calling it "Momi." Since this details was recorded, both being served with a frog meat and the name for it must have been interesting and worth recording for the history writer.

I associate this word with Ainu's "mo-mim" which means "small meat". Otherwise, I would not know the meaning of "Momi" in Japanese vocabulary.

People conversant with comparative linguistics may find above ridiculous or too sporadic. I'd agree. But, at the same time, I'd like those people also to think of the fact that many attempts to utilize comaparative linguistics tools to solve Japan's language origin have not succeeded. I'm, in a way, proposing to look into old documents for personal or deity names, as well as place names that may have lived thousands of years with more focused eyes tuned to Ainu language.

Collecting words that are unknown in Japanese lexicon is important. Associating, even temporarily, with Ainu language would be the next interesting excercise. Finally, search into establishing a phonetic alteration rule is necessary before my hypothesis gets any wide acceptance.

Please remember that there are so many words in the history books and present day maps, which meaning is unknown or highly questionable, from Japanese vocabulary.

Thank you.

Please visit Page 3: Notes on Kanji
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.