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    The Book of Common Prayer in Ainu


Tha Ainu are an indigenous group native to the island of Hokkaido (northernmost of Japan) and neighboring islands. They are quite unrelated to other neighboring ethnic groups. Over the past several centuries they have many times been in confict with the dominant Japanese with their culture and language often being suppressed. Today there are perhaps 150,000 Ainu, mostly in Japan, but very few of them speak the Ainu language.

The Ainu language is unrelated to any other and today is spoken by only perhaps 100 people. Ainu is written both in the Japanese katakana characters, and in the Latin alphabet. Missionary work among the Ainu commenced in the late 1800's and is primarily due to the hard work of the Rev. John Batchelor, of the Church Missionary Society. He translated both the New Testament and the Book of Common Prayer into Ainu, and became the foremost expert in the people and their language of his day.

What we present here is the Book of Common Prayer, translated into Ainu by the Rev. John Batchelor, and published in 1896. It is the only translation made into that language, and appears in David Griffiths' Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer as 4:1. It contains most, but not all, of the BCP and was set in the Latin alphabet. It appears to be a translation of the English 1662 BCP, slightly modified. Certain prayers from the American BCP are included or substituted, and some rubrics are omitted (e. g., the Black Rubric) or simplified. It is conceivable that this book actually follows the Japanese BCP of the time, which is known to have been very closely based on the English and American Books.



title page, Ainu BCP

Kesto aeiwange gusu an Kunnewano Inonno-itak oma kambi.
   Morning Prayer
Kesto aeiwange gusu an onuman Inonno-itak oma kambi.
   Evening Prayer
Kunnewano Inonno-itak ita.
   Athanasian Creed
Usa-usa an ita aeiwange gusu an Inonno-itak newa Kamui koyaiiraige gusu an itak oma kambi.
   Prayers & Thanksgivings
Paha uturuta Kamui toho pishno aeiwange gusu an Inonno-itak ibehe hemhem, Apostoro sange kambi hemhem, Kamui pirika shogo hemhem oma kambi.
   Collects, Epistles & Gospels throughout the Year
Utarapa Onuman-ibehe
   Holy Communion
Aiai gusu an Baptisma kore katu.
   Public Baptism of Infants
Rupne guru gusu an Baptisma kore katu.
   Private Baptism of Infants
Aiai koru unihi ta Baptisma kore katu.
   Baptism of Adults
Karisia uwepekennu itak oma kambi.
Eishokor-i tumashnure buri akure katu.
Matkore iwai.
Tashum utara hotanukara ita eiwange gusu an Inonno-itak ibehe oma kambi.
   Visitation of the Sick (& Communion of the Sick)
Moshiri hoppa guru iyurui orota arura ita aeiwange gusu an Inonno-itak oma kambi.
   Burial of the Dead
Shiwentep poho shikore orowa no atumashnure wa an gusu an koyaiigaige an itak oma kambi.
   Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth.


Thanks are due to Richard Mammana for providing a copy of the book.

Web author: Charles Wohlers U. S. EnglandScotlandIrelandWalesCanadaWorld