An Atlas of Japanese Dialects



  One of the more distinctive features of the Satsugu (薩隈) or Kagoshima dialect is its intonation. This commercial for a Kagoshima-based vocational school that helps students cram for the employment exam for civil servants pokes fun at the local accent. Where kōmuin (公務員, public official, government worker) is normally spoken without inflection, in Kagoshima, the final syllable is stressed: kōmuEEN. Show this video to a native of "Kagomma" and they'll surely laugh.

  From Wiki: "One of the most oft-studied aspects of the Kagoshima dialect is its prosodic systemWith the exception of Tanegashima and Makurazaki Citythe system is described as a two-pattern pitch accent in which phrasal units may be either unaccented units will bear a low tonal pitch until the final syllable, at which point the pitch rises. In accented units, however, the pitch rises on the penultimate syllable, and then drops back down on the final syllable."





I like you.


I like you. Please date me. 

北海道 (Hokkaidō)


青森県 (Aomori)


岩手県 (Iwate)


宮城県 (Miyagi)


秋田県 (Akita)



山形県 (Yamagata)



福島県 (Fukushima)


茨城県 (Ibaraki)


埼玉県 (Saitama)


新潟県 (Niigata)


石川県 (Ishikawa)

「好きねん(or 好きやし、好きねんけど)、付き合ってもらえんけ」

福井県 (Fukui)


山梨県 (Yamanashi)


長野県 (Nagano)


岐阜県 (Gifu)



静岡県 (Shizuoka)


愛知県 (Aichi)


愛知県 (Aichi)


愛知県 (Aichi)


三重県 (Mie)



滋賀県 (Shiga)


京都府 (Kyōto)


大阪府 (Ōsaka)


兵庫県 (Hyōgo)


奈良県 (Nara)


和歌山県 (Wakayama)


鳥取県 (Tottori)


岡山県 (Okayama)


広島県 (Hiroshima)



山口県 (Yamaguchi)


徳島県 (Tokushima)



香川県 (Kagawa)


愛媛県 (Ehime)


高知県 (Kōchi)



福岡県 (Fukuoka)


長崎県 (Nagasaki)



熊本県 (Kumamoto)



大分県 (Ōita)



鹿児島県 (Kagoshima)





   I found these two signs at a construction site in my neighborhood. Written in Hakata-ben, they are softer, and probably more effective, than if they had been written in standarized Japanese.


あぶなかけん (Abunaka-ken)

入ったら (haittara)

いかんとばい (ikan-to-bai)


   In standard Japanese the sign would read: 危ないので、入ったらいけないよ 


工事しよるけん (Kōji-shiyoru-ken)

立入禁止ばい!! (tachiirikinshi-bai)


 In standard Japanese the sign would read: 工事しているので、立入禁止ばいのよ



Dendera Ryuba


   If you have raised children in Japan you may have heard the song “Dendera Ryūba”. The song, which is often featured on NHK’s Nihongo-de Asobo (Let’s Play in Japanese), originated in Nagasaki and is sung in the northern Hichiku dialect, which is spoken in western Kyūshū including in Fukuoka where it is called Hakata-ben (博多弁). The name Hichiku (肥筑) is derived from the names of the old provinces in the region: Hizen (肥前), Higo (肥後), Chikuzen (筑前) and Chikugo (筑後).


でんでらりゅうば (が)








Dendera ryūba,

Detekuru batten,

Denderaren ken

Dētekon ken,

Konkoraren ken,

Korareraren ken,

Kōn kon


In standard Japanese:

(自分の家を) 出られるならば、




(そちらの家) 来られないから (つまり→行けないから)、

来られないから (つまり→行けないから)

来ません、来ません  (つまり→行けない、行かない)



If I can leave (my home),

I’ll go out, but . . .

I can’t go out, so . . .

I can’t go to (your home), so . . .

I won’t go. I won’t go


   A few things are worth noting here. One, in the western Japanese dialect (not sure about other areas) kuru (来る, to come) also has the meaning of iku (行く, to go), and people say ima-kara kuru (今から来る), when they mean “I’m leaving now” or “I’m on my way”. This is similar to “I’m coming now” in English and I have never felt it awkward the way some transplants from outside do when they hear it.


   -ken (けん) is similar to kara (から) in standard Japanese and means “because, since, for, as”.

   -batten (ばってん) is keredo (けれど) and can mean “though, although; but; however; and yet”.

   Here is a modern version of the song with an Senegalese twist:



For the First Time (Again, and Again)

   It was bound to happen sooner or later: "For the First Time in Forever" from Disney's "Frozen" sung in the Hakata dialect:

   And in the Kansai dialect:

   And in the Hachinohe dialect of Aomori:


And in the Okinawan dialect:



And in the Hiroshima dialect: 

   And in the Toyama dialect (poor quality):