The Living World of Ainu Shinyoshu

Ainu Spirits SingingIndigenous 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: The Living World of Chiri Yukie’s Ainu Shin’yoshu breaks this decades-long silence with a nuanced study and English translation of the Ainu Shin’yoshu, the first written transcription of Ainu oral narratives by an ethnic Ainu.

Ainu Spirits Singing is a unique fusion of geography and literature that offers a contextual grounding and engaging translation of Ainu oral stories passed down from ancient times. The author devotes several chapters to a detailed description and evocation of the physical and spiritual geography and cultural landscape that form the horizon of the tales themselves. The book, particularly helpful for readers unfamiliar with Ainu lore, offers a rich and nuanced reading of the tales.” —J. Scott Miller, Brigham Young University

October 2011 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3512-5 / $58.00 (CLOTH)