Kotan Utunnai, Endnotes



  1. Said to be a secluded spot somewhere in the Island of Saghalien.
  2. The words “Elder sister” do not of necessity imply that this person stood in such relationship to our hero. In fact, we see lower down that his foster-mother was no relation at all. The words are merely an expression of endearment, and are still sometimes so used by the Ainus.
  3. The words here translated “very great number” are in the Ainu “two or three.” This is a native idiom expressing “intensity” or “great numbers.” Thus, when an Ainu says “he was struck once or twice,” he means “he was beaten severely.” Or when he says “two or three” men were killed in battle, he means “a great number” of persons were slain.
  4. Yaunguru i.e. Ainu warriors.
  5. “Guardian god.” According to Ainu ideas every person is watched over by some special guardian god. These gods are supposed to give warning when danger is near at hand and to assist one in escaping from harm’s way.
  6. Our hero expresses surprise at hearing the cry of the guardian gods of Ainus. This is quite natural when we remember that he is in a foreign land. We are told lower down that he is in Karapto or Saghalien.
  7. The name of a mountain in Yezo upon which the ancient Ainu warriors are said to have had their fortress and home.
  8. The curly-head here referred to is the brother of our hero. We shall hear more of him further on.
  9. The words “the governor of Manchuria” are not in the legend, but they are supplied secretly to enquirers who ask to whom their ancestors paid their respects. The Ancient Ainus used to go yearly to Manchuria to pay their respects to the governor of that country, and on their way used to pass through Saghalein. They used also to do business with the Manchurians particularly when at war with the Japanese. Possibly the Ainus were subject to Manchuria in very ancient times.
  10. These inao may possibly have been merely emblems of peace. They are pieces of whittled wood and now used as offerings to the deities.
  11. The legend does not intend to indicate that the wine was really poisoned, but that it had some bad effects on our hero’s father.
  12. The meaning of these names is doubtful. According to derivation they may mean either: “the stream in the middle of the country,” or “the stream behind the village,” the former derivation is to be preferred.
  13. i.e. his childish garments.
  14. According to Ainu ideas there are special demons whose province it is to inflict sickness upon people. The chief of these evil spirits is supposed to be the demon of small-pox.
  15. The original is “that which I met before was as a baby to this.”
  16. The sacred or perfect number of the Ainus.
  17. It is considered to be a great insult to point the little finger at a person.
  18. Or, as we might sometimes hear said, “I beat him out as flat as a pancake.”
  19. i.e. the mountain upon which he had his dwelling.
  20. The Ainus say that the gods could not be killed; but that when they were defeated in battle they merely returned to their natural dwelling-places.
  21. Ukamu-nitai means “the forest whose trees join together overhead;” and kane-nitai means “the beautiful” or “metal forest.”
  22. Eturachichi means “hanging nose.” He was so named because of the extraordinary length of his nose.
  23. Kanepet means “metal river.”
  24. Shirarapet means “stony river.”
  25. Pon moshiri kotan means “the town in the little country.”
  26. It is said by the Ainus that the inhabitants of this precipitous country used to drink the blood of those they slew in war.
  27. Repun is said to be the Ainu name for Saghalien or Karafto.
  28. Repun i.e. the Karafto or Saghalien pepole.
  29. Yaunguru i.e. Our hero, the brave Ainu.
  30. Kesorap is said to be the name of some bird now extinct; here, however, it is intended for our hero.
  31. i.e. the Ainu hero conquers her brother.
  32. It is an Ainu idea that it is quite impossible to kill one of the ancients without cutting through the back-bone. {This note was not referenced in the text, so the placement of the reference was added.—CMW}
  33. The idea is that by waving the woman in his hands her spirit returned to her, and she went to the home of our hero at Shinutapka.
  34. These Kuruise are supposed to be some kind of insect or small animal.
  35. The west is supposed to be the special abode of the demons, as the east is looked upon as the home of the gods.
  36. i.e. the clothes his comrade had prepared for him were, as compared with what he had before, very good and beautiful.
  37. This is the old name of the river which is now called Ishkari-pet. Shishiri-pet means “the great river.”



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World Mythology, Volume 2: Heroic Mythology Copyright © by Jared Aragona is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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