Ainu Language Researchers of my favorite
Ainu Language Researchers
of my favorite
orig: 97/10/05

I'd present a very brief description of the works done by my favorite Ainu language researchers.

HATTORI Siro: Main area of his studies were in Ural-Altai languages, possible candidate, if partially, as an origin of Japanese language. He studied Ainu language from KINDAICHI Kyosuke. His first research visit to Hokkaido took place in 1955, triggered by a warning that Ainu language may be deceased soon. The 25 days in situ research covered 15 Ainu dialects. That effort culminated as "Dictionary of Ainu Dialects" (1962) which I found a great masterwork of his.

Hattori pointed that a word root "kur" may be common among Ainese, Japanese and Korean. In Ainu, kur means a shadow, nis-kur means sky-shadow = cloud(s), kunne < kur-ne means black and ekurok means dark. For Japanese, kurosi means to be black, kurasi means to be dark and kuru mean to get dark. Korean has kurum to mean cloud(s).

KINDAICHI Kyosuke: His publication of Ainu Yukar that was written by KANNARI Matsu, an Ainu old lady, is the greatest asset for all of us. She wrote 17,000 page, or 72 notebooks, or 92 pieces of Yukar which, as modernly printed, made 9 volumes of book each consisting of , say, 300 or more pages. NAKAGAWA Hiroshi's "Dictionary of Ainu Chitose Dialect" includes many references from the publication.

YAMADA Hidezo: His study is unique in that it is around place names. He gave interpretation to location names in Ainu language by confirming geographical characteristics of the place thus named. For example, he was not satisfied to his interpretation of Rankous(i) for "place where we often get ranko tree(s)" until he finally found ranko-trees in the village.

His remarks include that he could and did confirm that Ainu origin place names are found in the northern Honshu and Hokkaido. This is very often mis-quoted as if he denied existence of Ainu origin names south of the border. The border runs about the south boundary of Akita and Iwate prefectures. What he said is simply that he coud and did confim that there are many Ainu origin place names north of the border. He even mentioned his own temptation to associate a score of Kyushu place names to Ainu language. What he did, however, was to mention them and reserve a conclusion for followers.

CHIRI Masiho: As I take, he is a genius Ainu who left us with two small, yet highly informative books, "Introduction to Ainu Language" and "Small Dictionary of Ainu Place Names." He was (perhaps) the first Ainu student admitted to or graduated from Tokyo (Imperial) University. Highly critical of works of John Bachelor and other predecessors. For more details, refer to Page 14

CHIRI Yukie: Yukie, Masiho's elder sister, recorded 14 Yukar. Died at 20 of age in 1922. Fluent Japanese speaker & writer, a Christian, helped KINDAICHI in the language.For more details, refer to Page 14

MURAYAMA Shichiro: (1908 -1995) Studied Altai languages in Berlin. Was still active in writing Ainu language related books in January 1995. His attempt to relate Ainu with Austronesian languages appears, to me, to be based on a real comparative methodology. His works are briefly introduced at Page 10.

Thank you.

Next page will present a discussion "Is Ainu an Caucasian? No."
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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