Page:Ainu monogatari takekuma.pdf/5



During the past three hundred years more than five hundred books and pamphlets have been written in various languages about the Ainu. Some of these writings are in French, some in Russian, English and German; but the vast najority are in the Japanese language. My Friend Takekuma Tokusaburo is the first native Ainu known to have written any book about this, his own race. Apart from all else, therefore, this little book is of special interest. I heartily congratulate Mr. Takekuma on the results of his efforts.

Mr. Takekuma is an Ainu School Teacher. He has studied Japanese books bearing in his people, and, like many others, greatly bemoans the fact that the Ainu never had any script or literature of their own, and that their traditions are all oral and so quite unreliable.

The Ainu language and customs have changed considerably in the past, and are changing more rapidly at the present time. One very rarely hears pure Ainu spoken now a-days, for all the