The islands and languages of Japan.

The Ikema dialect is generally thought to be one of a few dialects of the Miyako language residing within the Miyako island cluster. However, all of the Miyako dialects are quite different from each other, making communication slightly difficult between different dialect speakers. The Miyako language is also part of the Ryukyuan language group, which is a part of the larger Japonic family (which includes Japanese, its dialects, and Hachijo). Ryukyuan Language Family Ikema speakers live on Ikema island and in Nishihara city on the main island of Miyako. Ikema island itself is quite small - with an area of less than 3km2 and a population around 800. Based on population estimates, if all those who are over 60 and living in Ikema speaking areas are speakers, around 2,000 people may still speak Ikema fluently. But as there is evidence that some speakers as young as 40 may still be fluent, the number could be slightly higher than that.* Miyako Islands

The Online Miyako-Ikema Dictionary


The purposes of this dictionary are indeed many. It is intended to:

  • Help support the community of Ikema speakers by providing a basic knowledge of their language in an easily accessible and helpful format.
  • Give thanks to the community for their assistance in collecting field data.
  • Support revitalization efforts and community participation in the language.
  • Help spread knowledge and awareness of the endangered languages and dialects of Japan.

This dictionary is being developed for the web using the Webonary theme for WordPress and - for the time being - is being graciously hosted for free by SIL. The main contents of the dictionary are being collected, edited, and stored in a database called Fieldworks Language Explorer, a popular dictionary-making and language-analysis tool developed by SIL. The database is currently being developed through an international collaboration between researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Kyoto University, and those currently in the field in Miyako. Miyako-Ikema Dict Workflow

Project Status

This online version of the Ikema Online Dictionary is in its early stages. Many planned features either do not work or have not yet been implemented. In addition, there are only 363 out, out of 3,281 total entries, that have most fields completed. The following table shows the current status of the dictionary's database.

Ikema Dictionary Status

3281 100.0% # Entries Total
1227 37.4% Iwasaki Set
2048 62.4% Takubo Set
6 0.2% Unidentified
500 15.2% Overlapping Est.
Data Field Completion
Headwords / Lexemes
3279 99.9% Latin Orthography / Romaji
3273 99.8% IPA
2939 89.6% Japanese Orthography / Kana
2400 73.1% English
1188 36.2% Japanese
0 0.0% Ikema
Example Sentences
1153 35.1% Latin / Romaji
480 14.6% Kana
873 26.6% Japanese Translations
564 17.2% English Translations
Pictures & Illustrations
23 0.7%
Audio Clips
16 0.5%
Grammatical Category / Part of Speech
2912 88.8%
2398 73.1% English
1192 36.3% Japanese
Miscellanious Data
1005 30.6% Contributor
546 16.6% Source
911 27.8% Location
385 11.7% Semantic Domain
764 23.3% Tone Class
48 1.5% Phonology Notes
67 2.0% Notes
10 0.3% Categories, Links, Comments, Etc.
Word Variation Forms
39 1.2% Variation
132 4.0% Conjugated
48 1.5% Topicalized
18 0.5% Imperative
2 0.1% Accusative

*Hayashi, Yuka. “Ikema (Miyako Ryukyuan).” An Introduction to Ryukyuan Languages (2010): 168.