Although the long あー sound occurs in many words written in katakana, and in some onomatopoeia and interjections (ザーザー, まあ, etc.) it seems to be very rare in words written with kanji. The only example that I know is お母さん{おかあさん}. Is this the only one, or are there other words written with kanji that use this sound?

Clarification: I know there are many cases where two あ sounds meet across a morpheme boundary, e.g. 唐揚げ{からあげ}, which is not what I'm interested in. I'd like a list of kanji which have morpheme-internal readings containing あー.

  • ラーメン (which also has kanji variants) and 婆さん come to mind. Any specific goal for this?
    – virmaior
    Jul 30, 2016 at 14:45
  • 2
    There's also 炒飯. The long ā in お母さん or お婆さん comes from a repeated か (i.e. かか) or ば (both kun'yomi). The long ā in ラーメン or チャーハン comes from Chinese (both on'yomi). I also don't understand the motivation of the question, so I don't really understand what constitutes a (good) answer.
    – Earthliŋ
    Jul 30, 2016 at 15:01
  • 1
    Probably a good answer would address why kanji read with a long /a/ are (i) relatively rare, but not non-existent; (ii) found mostly in restricted and apparently unrelated domains (kinship terms + relatively recent Chinese loanwords + interjections/exclamations)
    – Matt
    Jul 30, 2016 at 16:46
  • @Matt Sounds like you are a good candidate to write a good answer ;)
    – Earthliŋ
    Jul 30, 2016 at 16:53
  • Another example: 麻雀{マージャン}.
    – Malper
    Jul 31, 2016 at 0:44

2 Answers 2


First, it'll be very marginal, at least the long あ is impossible to appear in classic onyomi (漢音, 呉音, 唐宋音) series and "regular" native words. 母さん is like "mom" as opposed to "mother", and you can see these kind of words rarely get an established kanji.

Below is the all results I get through prefix search on a J-J dictionary (italic is my own addition).

If you include proper names like 大同【タートン】 and 大慶【ターチン】, the number would be nearly infinitive. There are also Western loanwords like 碼【ヤード】 and 陌【ヘクタール】, but not quite established.

  • Yeah, a lot of these seem to be modern Mandarin Chinese "on'yomi" (more like loanwords). Most of them are names of Chinese foods or ingredients - I've noticed this "modern on'yomi" is very common with the names of Chinese food (中華料理). I'd assume this is because of Chinese foods being continuously loaned as words to Japan, even long after the loaning of their writing system and pronunciations stopped. Sep 27, 2020 at 3:15

If your goal is kanji readings that contain a long あー sound, the quickest way to accomplish this is to use the advanced search on jisho.org (or a similar online dictionary).

拉麺【ラーメン】 will show up using the search query "*らー* #words", which in query terms means "any word that contains らー in any position".

You can do the same thing with あー、わー、らー、やー、etc. which should yield you all the results for this you need.

This will not, however, yield all results as some words like 婆さん will not show up. In order to return all possibilities, you need to include the second あ in your query.

  • This is kind of inconvenient because the majority of hits match across a morpheme boundary, e.g. 唐揚げ{からあげ}, which is not what I'm looking for.
    – Malper
    Jul 31, 2016 at 0:42
  • @Malper, I edited my solution to limit to extended vowels
    – bcloutier
    Jul 31, 2016 at 2:07
  • That's more appropriate, though now it mostly shows katakana vocabulary borrowed from English (since these make up the vast majority of words containing あー).
    – Malper
    Jul 31, 2016 at 11:47
  • Jisho doesn't have to option of OR searches, so you're stuck with this method unless someone knows of a better tool.
    – bcloutier
    Jul 31, 2016 at 13:43

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