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Okinawan Studies: Languages (Uchinaaguchi/Ryukyuan)

This guide to introduce you to resources on Okinawa and Ryukyu.

Printed Dictionaries

Ryukyuan (Okinawan) Dictionaries

Dialect Dictionaries / 方言辞典 (including Okinawan dialects)

Accent (Pronunciation) Dictionaries / アクセント (発音) 辞典

Printed Language Guide Books

Online Databases

  • Ryukyuan Language Database / 琉球語音声データベース 
    This database is developed by the University of the Ryukyus and contains Amami and Miyako dialects.

            ryudai database

Update: As of September 3, 2020, this database is no longer available. The University of Ryukyus Library plans to renew the database sometime in October 2020. 

Last updated: September 2020


Shimakutuba / しまくとぅば

In 2006 Okinawa Prefectural Government proclaimed September 18 as "Island languages Day" (Shimakutuba no hi / しまくとぅばの日). 

Okinawa Prefectural Government has a list of websites that promotes the use of Uchinaaguchi or Shimakutuba, Okinawan languages.

shimakutuba logo


Okinawan Languages Statistics

Research published by the Agency of Cultural Affairs (文化庁) in Japan 

Research by NINJL

Articles by Researchers

  • Davis, Christopher. (March 2014). "Yaeyama Miyara dialetcts in Okinawa Prefecture" in The Report on the endangered languages and dialects [in Japan] / クリストファー・デイビス、「沖縄県宮良方言」、文化庁委託事業「危機的な状況にある言語・方言の実態に関する調査研究」報告書(2014 年 3 月)所収。 (in PDF ; in Japanese only)
  • Karimata, Shigehisa. (March 2003). "Problems in the study of grammatical aspects of Ryukyuan dialects as endangered languages" Nihon Toyo Bunka Ronshu, (10): 57-77. /  狩俣繁久、「危機言語としての琉球語の文法研究の課題」、『日本東洋文化論集 、第10号、57-77頁.  (in PDF ; in Japanese only)

Aloha Uchinaaguchi Lessons

Aloha Uchinaaguchi Channel on Youtube
There are 15 videos created by Aloha Uchinaaguchi and you are able to learn basic conversation in Uchinaaguchi.

Let's Play with Uchinaa! / うちなーであそぼ


Uchina De Asobo / うちなーであそぼ is a five-minute TV program broadcasted by NHK Okinawa.  (JPN version) 

As of April 22, 2017, some of the contents created and maintained by NHK are no longer availalbe on their site. For excample, the page that used to have a story titld "Usagi to kame (The tortoise and the hare)" is no longer available at

Okinawa Studies Librarian

Sachiko Iwabuchi 岩渕祥子's picture
Sachiko Iwabuchi 岩渕祥子
Asia Collection Department
University of Hawai'i
at Mānoa Library
Room 402
sachiko.iwabuchi [at]
(808) 956-2311