Obihiro Centennial City Museum



kotankorkamuy [Blakiston’s fish owl] Kushiro City Zoo
Owl Festival
Meiji Shoki Ainu Fuzoku Emaki (“Picture Scroll of Ainu Customs in the Early Meiji Period”) by Hokuyo Nishikawa
Hakodate City Central Library Collection
kunnerekkamuy [Ural owl]

The Blakiston’s fish owl is known as kotankorkamuy (“the god who possesses the village”). In some areas they are said to notify the hunters of the whereabouts of bears.
When an owl chick was caught, their souls were sent to the god’s realm through iomante (the sending ritual), similar to bears. Ural owls are called kunnerekkamuy (“the god who cries at night”) or isosankekamuy (“the god who produces prey”). They are said to notify hunters where they can catch bears, and cry the whereabouts of evil gods.

Ainu Language in Use

The Ainu Language

ペウレㇷ゚ チコイキㇷ゚ ニオㇽポㇰ シケ オチュ

pewrep cikoykip niorpok sike ociw


(The meaning behind the Ural owls’ cry)
It’s a bear cub, there’s some prey, you will catch so much prey that the cargo will come to the back of your knee.