Jirellan Refugees with Lorelai Loer

Female and male Jirel of various ages, inside a control center on Shambleau.

Jirel, also known as Jirellans, are a race of sapient telepaths.


Jirellans are bipedal humanoids, physiologically similar to humans, Garmillas, and other species that can trace their genetic ancestry to the ancient alien race called Aquarius. They are visibly distinguished by light gray skin and long pointed ears, and Jirel of all ages have gray hair. However, they are best known for their strong telepathic abilities. Jirel can project complete thoughts and emotions telepathically among themselves and to outsiders. They can also read the minds of those around them without their cooperation. Contact can be made with multiple individuals simultaneously and over extended periods, and can be used to create vivid, detailed, and believable hallucinations ("The Whisper of the Witch", "The Forever War", Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Odyssey of the Celestial Ark).


In the distant past, the Aquarius race visited the Jirel homeworld and introduced genetic material that would shape the Jirel people, similar to their intervention in the evolution of life on many other worlds. Unlike other species, though, the Jirel discovered remnants of the Aquarius culture left behind after their disappearance. One of these remnants was the "celestial ark" known as Shambleau, a massive structure built to wander the cosmos and spread humanoid life. The Jirel figured out how to operate many of the systems aboard Shambleau, including cloaking technology and projections that could disguise its true form (Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Odyssey of the Celestial Ark). They were also able to determine that the hub of a subspace gate network on the planet Balun could be used to project telepathic links across thousands of light years. Jirellan insight into abandoned Aquarius technology may have led to what a Garmillan general called a rumor that the Jirel were direct descendants of the ancient aliens ("The Whisper of the Witch").

Because of their telepathic abilities, the Jirel were mistrusted and feared. Outsiders routinely labeled them as "witches." Violence against the Jirel culminated in the destruction of their civilization by the twenty-second century. It was commonly believed that the species had been driven to extinction, except for two females living under the protection of the leader of the Great Garmillas Empire, Abelt Dessler, until the year 2199 ("What Lies Beyond", "The Planet That We Head For", The Forever War"). However, a number of Jirellans visiting Shambleau escaped the devastation of the homeworld and found sanctuary there (Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Odyssey of the Celestial Ark).

Culture and SocietyEdit

Jirellan writing Shambleau

Jirellan script inside the World of Tranquility.

A religious reverence for Shambleau has developed among Jirellans. Tattooed shamans serve the faithful, and pilgrims make journeys to the celestial ark, which has come to be known as the "World of Tranquility." Poetry and other information from the Aquarius is inscribed in the Jirellan language aboard Shambleau.

Even after the fall of the Jirel, the Jirellan language remains. Files on the language are maintained in current Garmillan computer records. The human officer Mikage Kiryu works to develop translation software for Jirellan (Space Battleship Yamato 2199: Odyssey of the Celestial Ark).

Notable IndividualsEdit


  • Jirel of Joiry is a recurring character in a series of fantasy short stories written by C.L. Moore in the 1930s.
  • The real-world Jirel people are a minority ethnic group in Nepal with their own language.

Japanese language informationEdit

ジレル Jireu