Alexander Vovin

What happened to the rooster?
Another look at an enigmatic poem in chap. XIV of the Ise monogatari

Print Version of the Lecture (PDF)

Thema/ Topic


In this presentation Prof. Vovin will offer an unorthodox analysis of an enigmatic poem from the Ise monogatari (10th c.) composed by a woman from Michinoku province (Northern Japan). He argues that this poem is actually an Ainu-Japanese “macaronic poem” containing phrases that were in fact written in the Ainu language. Prof. Vovin will discuss philological, linguistic, historical, and literary evidence for this new analysis.

The poem under discussion reads:

夜もあけは / きつにはめなて / くたかけの // またきになきて / せなをやりつる

with the second line and the beginning of the third line being probably in Ainu.

Vortragender/ Speaker


Alexander Vovin is Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Hawai'i at Manoa. He is presently doing research at the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (NINJAL), Tachikawa-shi, Japan. Prof. Vovin's research interests focus on Japanese and Korean philology and historical linguistics, with an emphasis on earliest written texts, ancient languages and early ethnolinguistic history including the Ainu language, Altaic linguistics, the Manchu language, and Central Asian Linguistics in general.