Munro, Neil Gordon, 1863-1942. Ainu creed and cult

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Publication Information


Title: Ainu creed and cult

Published By: New York: Columbia University Press, 1963. xviii, 182 p.: ill.

By line: Edited with a pref. and an additional chapter by B.Z. Seligman. Introd. by H. Watanabe

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2009. Computer File

Culture: Ainu (AB06)

Subjects: General character of religion (771); Spirits and gods (776); Eschatology (775); Organized ceremonial (796); Magic (789); Ethnozoology (825); Prayers and sacrifices (782); External relations (648); Burial practices and funerals (764); Magical and mental therapy (755); Rest days and holidays (527); Activities of the aged (887); Acculturation and culture contact (177);

Abstract: The data for this document, related primarily to the religious life of the Ainu, were collected during the first three decades of the twentieth century by the principal author N.G. Munro, a British physician who lived for many years in Japan. This author, accompanied by his Japanese wife, established a clinic for the Ainu at Nibutani in the Saru district of Hokkaido, by means of which he was able to win the confidence and trust of the people several of whom were later to serve as his informants. There, realizing that the traditional life of the Ainu was rapidly disappearing, he made an intensive study of various aspects of Ainu culture, in the hope that he could demonstrate to the world at large and the Japanese in particular that the …'Ainu had a culture of their own which was worthy of consideration and that they were not a low grade people believing only in absurd superstitions.'Although the author's investigation was carried out primarily at Nibutani, he also worked with native informants in other districts. After Munro's death some of his documents were lost, but a substantial number finally reached Professor and Mrs. Seligman (B.Z. Seligman), where they were edited for publication, and finally evolved into the present form of this book. Mrs. Seligman was aided in the preparation of Monro's notes by Professor Watanabe of Tokyo University who besides making comments on the manuscript, also added footnotes to this document and an historical introduction. The document deals with the general nature of Ainu religion, the Kamui (spirits or gods), the Inau or religious offerings, Ainu hearth and home, and various religious ceremonies associated with house building, house warming, the Bear Ceremony, the Feast of All Souls or Falling Tears (Shinurapa), magical and mental therapy in the form of exorcism of evil spirits from patients, and death and burial. A final chapter on Social Organization by B.Z. Seligman concludes the document.

Document Number: 7

Document ID: ab06-007

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Field Date: 1900-1942

Evaluation: Physician, Ethnologist-4,5

Analyst: John Beierle ; 1965-1968

Coverage Date: 1900-1930

Coverage Place: Nibutani, Saru District, Hokkaido, Japan

LCSH: Ainu


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