Kalevala in Japanese

Posted On December 7, 2012

Filed under books, Kalevala

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Currently I’m tackling the Kalevala in Japanese. I’ve already read the Eddas in Japanese, which was difficult, but fun to read at the same time. I looked in the mythology section of the bookstore, but I didn’t find the Kalevala, so I picked up the Eddas instead. Then a few months ago, I decided to check out Finnish language books here, and that was where the Kalevala was! The book is “Kalevala no Uta” カレワラの歌 and it’s translated by Tamotsu Koizumi. There are two small volumes of it: one contains the tale of the birth of Väinämöinen and the Sampo, and the other volume is the story of Lemminkäinen and of Kullervo. I’m reading the former. The reason why it was in the language section is because next to the Japanese, there is the Finnish version and at the bottom there are footnotes explaining what all of the words in Finnish mean in Japanese. I’m not really sure how you can learn a language in that manner, but if it works for some, then okay.

The Japanese section doesn’t keep Kalevala meter. I think Japanese has too many syllables to successfully pull that off. It does have an interesting flow though, and it’s fun to read it out loud. If you are proficient in a second language, I encourage you to check out a version of the Kalevala in that language. It’s an interesting read to see how everything is translated and how the language flows.


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