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I have been reading a comic book limited series titled 『妖艶くのいち~濡れた花弁』 (English: "Voluptuous Female Ninja: Wet Petals"). It seems to take place in the Japanese Warring States Period (1467-1615 CE). At the beginning, a feudal lord named 一秀 (English: "Kazuhide") tries to proposition a female ninja named ハスミ (English: "Hasumi") for sex. In fact, the first thing he says in the story is the following.

このような古寺で一人寝は寂しいのう

English: "Sleeping alone in an old temple like this is lonely, I must say."

I am not familiar with the particle のう, so I looked it up in Goo Dictionary. I have attempted to translate my findings into English, but some of the examples seem to date back to centuries ago, so chances are that there are mistakes in my translations.

のう〔なう〕の解説

(1)[終助]文末の種々の語に付く。話し手の感動を表す。

「ちょっと見ないうちに大きくなった—」

「よくやった—」

「又ささに酔はしられたものぢゃ—」〈虎明狂・乞聟〉

(2)[間助]念を押す意を表す。

「だが—、まだ死ぬわけにはいかんのじゃ」→な →なあ →ね

「それを誰が問へば—、よしなのとはずがたりや」〈閑吟集〉

[補説]「のう」は、もとは「なう」の形で中世後期以降用いられたが、近代以降は「ね」「ねえ」「なあ」が一般化し、現在では主に、方言として西日本で用いられる。

Explanation of のう〔なう〕

(1) [Sentence-final particle] Attached to various words at the end of sentences. Expresses deep emotion of the speaker.

"You have grown up in the short time that I did not see you, I must say."

"Well done, I should think."

"And I used to get drunk with sake, you know." <Kyougen Performer Toraakira/Koimuko (The Desired Son-in-Law)>

(2) [Interjectory particle] Expresses one’s intention to call someone’s attention to something.

"But, well, it is that I can’t afford to die just yet." →な →なあ →ね

"If anyone asks that, well, a suitable story nobody asked for, oh." <Kanginshuu (Collection of Ballads)>

[Supplementary explanation] "のう" was originally used in the form of "なう" since the late middle ages, but since the modern era, "ね," "ねえ," and "なあ" have become popular, and now it is mainly used in Western Japan as a dialect.

URL: Goo Dictionary entry for のう

I am hoping to find more about the difference between のう and な/なあ/ね/ねえ.

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It is used stereotypically by old or rural people in fiction, as well as people living in feudal times. It's somewhat more like な than ね in my opinions, sharing な's occasional 'self-directed comment' use. I don't feel it's strongly associated with gender so much as personality; I can imagine some kind of tyrannical queen saying something like 「わらわに立ち向かうとは勇気あるのう」.

In real life it's just used by speakers of certain dialects, probably more commonly older ones.

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