Monday, December 12, 2011

tomo anthology to assist teens

TOMO, an anthology of short stories with particular relevance to teens, will be released this coming March from Stone Bridge Press. Its aim is to bring Japanese stories to readers worldwide, and in doing so, to help support young people affected or displaced by the March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. Proceeds from the sales of this book will go directly toward long-term relief efforts for teens in northeast Japan, the area most affected by the disasters.

My translation of the Ainu folktale, "Where the Silver Droplets Fall," accompanied by two simple etegami-style drawings, is included in this book. As one of the contributors to the anthology, I was interviewed on the TOMO blog. In the interview, I share a bit of my personal background and what led to my becoming a translator of Ainu folklore. But more importantly, it gives a glimpse into the life of Chiri Yukie, one Ainu teenager who struggled to value herself and her cultural heritage, at a time when both were despised by mainstream society
. By the time she died of heart failure at the tender age of nineteen, she had become a forerunner of a movement to save her people's oral tradition from oblivion. Click here to read the interview.


  1. Sometimes it takes an 'outsider' to see to the heart of something, your work on the literature and tales of the Ainu make it accessible to many.
    Let us hope the book is a success.

  2. A wonderful interview which I hope will help in the preservation of the Ainu culture! Recording must be an important part of the project I presume.

  3. @Therese, Yes, recording is an important part of preserving Ainu Oral Lit, but it's not a part that our group is involved in at this time. So far, we've only worked with material that has been translated from Ainu into Japanese.

  4. Oh my, I definitely will. Thanks! Margie

  5. Hi, Debbie,
    Very lovely and wonderful work! When I was at school, I tried to collect the books on Ainu folktales and interested in Ainu, Indigenous Japanese people's language. But none of teachers gave me good information. Today, in Sydney, I support the of language rights, particularly, of endangered indigenous languages.
    Debbi, keep up! Speak loud on behalf of the voiceless. Go, go~~!!!
    Best wishes,Sadami