Sunday, April 26, 2009

recommended reading: ainu, spirit of a northern people

This is an immensely valuable book suited to mature readers and serious students of Ainu culture and history. Permit me to take the easy way out and quote from the blurb on "This book, which accompanied an exhibit at the Smithsonian's Arctic Studies Center, is the most in-depth treatise available on Ainu prehistory, material culture, and ethnohistory. The clearly written text is divided into six parts, each dealing with an aspect of Ainu culture and each authored or coauthored by noted authorities of Ainu prehistory and culture and benefiting from contributions by Ainu scholars themselves. Included are chapters on theories regarding Ainu origins prehistory; the early scholars of Ainu culture, such as Hiram Hiller and Jenichiro Oyabe; religion and cultural practices; and material culture. Perhaps most significant is the last part of the book,which addresses Ainu social and cultural issues, maintenance of traditional cultural practices, and the future of Ainu language." If you have the time to read it, and the resources to add it to your personal library, it is a must-have book. Otherwise, find a public or school library that has it, and refer to it for the background information that will enrich your enjoyment of Ainu folklore.