What is the reading of the town 北谷? ちゃたん or ほくたに? It is a town in Okinawa. Most Japanese read it as Hokutani or Kitatani. Okinawans say Chatan. Is it a dialect? Could all terms be correct?

1 Answer 1


北谷 is actually not ateji, but the usual kun'yomi きたたに in Okinawan.

In Okinawan, "ki changes to ch", so one gets

kitatanichitatani > chitatan > chatan

the first step being kichi, the second dropping the last i and the last dropping the first t (and contracting chi a > cha).

As a name of the particular town in Okinawa, it has only one reading in Japanese, namely ちゃたん. However, there are other towns written 北谷 with readings きたや or きただに.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .