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Zurab Japua: Epic is Basis of Life and Spirit of Nation

  • Published in Culture

Doctor of Philology, Professor, President of the Academy of Sciences of Abkhazia Zurab Japua shares his impressions of 2nd International Forum Epics of the World's Nations on the Land of Olonkho.

"I have known Yakutia for a long time, but I’m visiting Yakutia for the first time and impressions are the most positive," Zurab Japua says. A guest from Abkhazia stresses that Yakutia is one of the international centers for studying the epic not only of its people, but also of the world epic tradition.

Zurab Dzhotovich reflected on how to use the experience of Yakutia in the system of the Academy of Sciences of Abkhazia because Yakutia has wealth of experience and expertise developed by folklorists, scientists of the humanities at the Olonkho Institute under the Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University.

He also notes that he looks on the Yakut folklorists with admiring envy for the fact that they have great support of the authorities of the republic.

The professor said that he had known Yakutia since his youth, when he studied at the postgraduate and doctoral studies at the Institute of World Literature. The word ‘Yakutia’ often sounded from the lips of his scientific supervisor Viktor Mikhailovich Kotsak. After that time Zurab Japua got acquainted with many folklorists from Yakutia, but there was no opportunity to come. And, as the professor said, in his monographic studies he notices the parallels of the Yakut epic traditions with the epic traditions of other peoples. And now, having communicated with the Yakut folklorists and politicians, Zurab Dzhotovich thinks that joint projects are needed in the field of study of epics in the comparative plan.

According to the professor, despite the fact that Yakutia and Abkhazia are very far from each other, in form and in fact our epic works largely converge. For example, the Yakut epic is told in prose with poetic accents and with a song. The Abkhazian epic has the same form.

"If we make a comparative study and compare the epics in terms of imagery and storytelling, we could come to some very interesting findings," stresses Zurab Dzhotovich and points out that first of all it is necessary to prepare texts in Abkhaz, Yakut, Russian and English.

As Zurab Japua said: "There are points of contact, we need to work and distance is not an obstacle for this, because today the level of modern technologies allows us to work remotely."

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A painting based on the Abkhazian epic by artist M. Tuganov

He also appreciated the performers of Olonkho, who showed their high skill. "In the modern 21st century, I have not seen this before. After all, the epic tradition is not just a song or prose, it is the basis of life, the foundation of the spirit of the nation. It comes from ancient times, and if we can put it in the young people, the people will never run dry," the professor said.

As Zurab Japua said, the epic traditions in the Caucasus are very developed, because the epic is created and developed by those peoples who have passed through a special heroic history and have heroic motives. And the Abkhazian people are one of those who went through many wars, they constantly had to defend their land from the aggressors.

Zurab Dzhotovich wishes the Yakut people never to lose such a careful attitude to their history and their origins.

Press Service of IL Tumen, Parliament of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)