Don Philippi

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Don Philippi (October 2, 1930 – January 26, 1993) was a noted translator of Japanese and Ainu and a musician.

Born in Los Angeles, Philippi studied at the University of Southern California before going to Japan in 1957 on a Fulbright scholarship to study at the Kokugakuin University. In Japan he became an expert in classical Japanese and Ainu.

Philippi is known for his translation of the Kojiki and the ancient Shinto prayers known as norito. He also published a book of Ainu epic poetry (yukar) called Songs of Gods, Songs of Humans: The Epic Tradition of the Ainu and a book of ancient Japanese poetry called This Wine of Peace, This Wine of Laughter: A Complete Anthology of Japan's Earliest Songs. Philippi was a noted technical translator.

Philippi published Maratto, a little magazine focused on Ainu literature and culture. The first issue was published March 3, 1977 in San Francisco, under the pseudonym Slava Ranko.

Philippi was also a musician, learning the shamisen and the biwa both in the U.S. and Japan. In the late 70s, he became a part of the San Francisco musical scene under the name of Slava Ranko, performing a combination of Japanese biwa and synthesizer music. In 1981 he issued an album titled Arctic Hysteria.

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