Saturday, June 11, 2005

John Batchelor

John Batchelor - Life story of John Batchelor (1854-1944), an English missionary who became the first westerner to learn the Ainu language, record its grammar in English, and make the Ainu (who live in Japan) known to the western world.

From the site:

John Batchelor made his mind to work for the Ainu as follows. The first was to teach Ainu Christianity, the second was to make them know the generosity, mercy and light of the God, the third was to inform Japanese people of Ainu religion and language because they did not now know them.

Batchelor came to Hakodate from Hongkong when he was 23. One day when he had a chat with the students he had taught English at the Catholic Church, he happened to hear their insisting that Ainu were not human. He got angry and had a quarrel with them.

Immediately soon after that, he saw Ainus with bows and arrows on the street of Hakodate. The Ainus looked so obedient and kind that on the contrary he did not feel any fear. They made a bow politely, touching their heavy beards with their hands. Though Batchelor did not wear beard, he also did similar thing to what they had done before. Then they were talking of something smilingly one another. He determined to work for Ainu more and more.

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