I was taking a look at Wikipedia's page on the Ryukyuan languages when I came across the following picture:

The billboard on the left features three kana-like characters that I have never seen before, and that are not part of the gojuuon system. Interestingly, they are not listed on Wikipedia's page for Okinawan scripts either, despite this page detailing four different transcription systems (Conventional, Council, Ryukyu University, and New Okinawan).

Given that the caption below this picture says that it was taken in the town of Kin, I presume that the sign is written in a Kunigami language variety? However, I can't seem to find any references that describe a unique kana system for this area. Would anyone be able to provide any references that list the readings for these characters (and any others that may be in use for this language variety)? Thanks!

  • 1
    One needs to be realistic here. What are the chances that you would find public signs written in Ryukyuan scripts on the streets in the 21st-century Okinawa? You would need to go back 400-500 years to witness that.
    – user4032
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 14:57
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    @l'électeur We actually do have a few in smaller villages (like mine) where people speak ウチナー口 as their home/neighborhood language. It is usually just a few letters here and there for sounds that don't fit into Japanese kana very well.
    – zxq9
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 2:19

1 Answer 1


In this webpage 沖縄の言葉で書かれた注意書きがわからなすぎる, there is the following picture:

enter image description here

Comparing this one with the one in your post makes me think that maybe it is just your picture is missing some paint.

  • Hm, that looks to be the case. I feel a little silly now. 😅 Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 14:58
  • I'm a bit inexperienced with this, but is the one on the right an example of 沖縄口? Or is it standard Japanese?
    – psosuna
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 19:19
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    @psosuna I think it is not standard Japanese.
    – fefe
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 23:38
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    @psosuna The sign on the right is ウチナー口. The Japanese loan words where pronunciation differs from standard Japanese have furigana next to them.
    – zxq9
    Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 2:22

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