Nishihara, Ikema, and Miyako



The language used in these songs represents the Nishihara dialect of Ikema, which is itself a variety of Miyako. Miyako is one of the six main Ryukyuan language groups (Yonaguni, Yaeyama, Miyako, Okinawa, Kunigami and Amami). Ikema originates on the island of Ikema, which is to the north of the main Miyako Island. The Ikema language is an UNESCO endangered language spoken in three communities – Ikema Island, Sarahama (Irabu Island), and Nishihara (Miyako Island).

These Projects

ここで紹介するプロジェクトは、 Institute for Collaborative Language Research (CoLang) 2016 で開講された中山俊秀(東京外国語大学)と大野剛(カナダ・アルバータ大学)による宮古語ワークショップの一環として行われたものである。

Projects were completed as components of the Miyako Documentation Practicum organized by Tsuyoshi Ono (University of Alberta) and Toshihide Nakayama (Tokyo University for Foreign Studies) at the Institute for Collaborative Language Research (CoLang) 2016 at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. CoLang hosts a set of workshops and practica which aim to provide training in documentation, maintenance, revitalization and advocacy for endangered languages and stresses the importance of collaborative research across disciplines to make language documentation more accessible.

The projects were conducted over the course of 3-5 days by groups of 2-3 students each. Some details therefore differ between the projects (for example, the precise name of the language, or transliteration conventions).

Hiroyuki Nakama 


Mr. Hiroyuki Nakama was our consultant for the CoLang practicum. Nakama-sensei’s family moved from Ikema to Nishihara three generations before he was born. He was born in Nishihara on Miyako Island and was raised by his paternal grandmother who spoke exclusively in Ikema.




This site was created by the participants of the 2016 CoLang Miyako Documentation Practicum. Contact Christianne Ono (cmono@hawaii.edu) with your questions, comments, and feedback; we’d love to hear from you!