Tuesday, February 14, 2012

the remarkable story of chiri yukie

My yukar translation Where the Silver Droplets Fall has been included in the TOMO anthology, a collection of Japan-related short stories scheduled to be released from Stone Bridge Press in March 2012. Proceeds of the book have been committed to the support of teen victims of the March 2011 disasters in Japan. You can read more about TOMO here.

In connection with the upcoming release of TOMO, the Japan chapter of the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) asked me to write an article about Chiri Yukie to go into the winter 2012 issue of their newsletter Carp Tales. It was my (figurative) encounter with this remarkable Ainu girl that first ignited my interest in Ainu yukar and moved me to make them more accessible to the English-speaking world.

Where the Silver Droplets Fall
is my English translation of a yukar that Yukie first transcribed from the Ainu language (which had no writing system), and then translated into beautiful, literary Japanese. In times when the Ainu themselves no longer valued their indigenous language and culture, linguistically gifted Yukie made enormous personal sacrifices to preserve a collection of Ainu yukar, all before she died at the tender age of nineteen.

Anyone with an interest in the Ainu owes it to himself/herself to learn about Chiri Yukie. I urge you to download the aforementioned issue of Carp Tales (pdf file) and read the article for yourself.