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Specimens of Ainu Folk-lore
by John Batchelor

Another collection of Ainu folktales, by a Christian missionary who lived among them for many years; these translations are considered primary source material to this day.

“These folktales were originally published in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan in three installments. The printed original is in parallel columns with the Ainu alongside Batchelor’s English translations, and these Ainu versions are still considered a valuable source today (one of them was retranslated by Donald Philippi in his excellent collection Songs of Gods, Songs of Humans [Tokyo, 1979]); the untranslated Ainu has, however, been eliminated in this version.

John Batchelor was an Englishman and a missionary to the Ainu for a large part of his life. Because of his calling, he needs to be approached with caution as a source, but his large output of Ainu studies is still one of the primary sources for 19th century Ainu life. He is also mildly condescending toward his subjects, but unlike the book Aino Folk-Tales, the author of this collection shows at times a genuine appreciation for the Ainu as people and for their yukar as literature.”

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