The World View of the Ainu: Nature and Cosmos Reading from Language
The religion and world view of the Ainu has long attracted attention from researchers not only in Japan but also in Europe and America. However, the meanings of animal and plant deities ( "kamui") -- the core of the Ainu world view and religion -- have not been fully analyzed. This book takes a cognitive anthropological approach in a broader sense, using words as clues. Here, the Ainu world view was defined as a comprehensive cognitive system incorporating nature and the universe. In this sense, this book follows holistic approaches to the Ainu worldview by examining concepts of the universe, soul and gods, animals and plants, and nature based on Ainu words, their symbolic usage, and ethnographical backgrounds. In addition, through the comparison of Ainu worldview with neighboring cultures, particularly ancient Japanese and northern peoples in Siberia, it is shown that the worldview of the Ainu fundamentally differs from those of ancient Japanese, but has many similarities with those of Siberian peoples, particularly hunting peoples. This book thus clarifies that the Ainu world view is based on the complementary and dualistic cosmology of people and "kamui" (god), with animals playing a symbolic role linking religion and ecology, and suggests the coexistence of people with nature.
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Ainu believe Ainu language Ainu view Ainu world view Ainu-moshir ancient Japan basic plant names Batchelor bear festival beast birds Blakiston's fish-owl brown bear brown hawk owl called characteristics chikap Chiri class name classified cognitive anthropological concept of kamui considered contrast cosmology dead deer deified Divine World earth ethno-science evil deities example female deities Fire Goddess Goddess of Hunting heaven herb Hokkaido Human World Hunting and Fishing inau incarnation Izanagi Japanese mythology Kaaui kami Kamui Master Kamui-moshir kamui-yukar killer whale Kindaichi Kojiki kotan Kubodera Kuni legend lexemes lexical composition literally live master spirit means metaphor Mikoto morphological moshir mountain mugwort myths Nihon Shoki Nivkh Nupuri-kor Kamui oina pinnipeds plants and animals Pokna-moshir raccoon dog referring regarded relationship rituals Sakha salmon Sarashina Saru River Shizunai snake soul spatial categories specific names Susanoo symbolic tama term tree village world after death worm and insect worship yukar