World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Kesen dialect

Article Id: WHEBN0014135225
Reproduction Date:

Title: Kesen dialect  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Japanese language, Japanese dialects, Japanese irregular verbs, Nyōbō kotoba, Sanuki dialect
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Kesen dialect

keseng̃ó / ケセン語
Native to Japan
Region Iwate Prefecture: Ōfunato, Rikuzentakata, and Sumita.
Native speakers
74,000  (date missing)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog kese1237[1]

Kesen dialect (気仙方言 Kesen hōgen) or Kesen (ケセン語 Kesengo, Keseng̃ó) is a dialect of Japanese spoken in Kesen County, Iwate Prefecture, Japan.

Kesen has been described by Harutsugu Yamaura (山浦玄嗣 Yamaura Harutsugu). Yamaura considers Kesen an independent language, related to both Japanese and Ainu languages, but this is not accepted by other linguists.[2]


Kesen is in common use for speech in Kesen County, but was unwritten until Harutsugu Yamaura developed a writing system in 1986 (see below). Unlike the Ryukyuan languages in Okinawa, the status of Kesen as an independent language, rather than a dialect, is disputed.[2]

Harutsugu Yamaura

Harutsugu Yamaura

Iwate language activist and medical doctor Harutsugu Yamaura described the dialect in various books, including a dictionary, a grammar, and a translation of the New Testament. Yamaura also created an orthography for Kesen using two writing systems, the first based on the Latin script, and the second on the Japanese writing system. Yamaura has forwarded the theory Kesen should not be considered a Japanese dialect, but an independent language in its own right with an Ainu substrate, a theory that is controversial.[2]

According to Yamaura, Kesen was strongly influenced by the Emishi language. The word Kesen, for instance, comes from the Ainu term kese moy (cove at the south tip) and kese ma (scraped place). Yamaura considered the conventional Japanese kanji for Kesen (気仙) an ateji imposed by Yamato Kingdom. Therefore used katakana, a writing system for foreign words, to spell the name (ケセン).

Yamaura's effort to describe Kesen and restore people's pride in their local speech is an example of efforts springing up all over Japan,[3]:14 where the education system has resulted in the stigmatization of local dialects, which children were forbidden to use.[3]:7 However, such efforts are routinely depicted in the Japanese media as "romantic, bizarre or quaint".[3]:14 Yamaura's work has been recommended by Japanese linguists as a model to be followed for other dialects.[2]


The beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, the fifth chapter.

  • Kesen
In Latin alphabet:
Sonadǎdo mo kig'i dér dar tōri, —Managú ni a managû. Ha ní a hǎ— 'te kadarar'er déru. N' dar domó, ora á kadar' té ogu. Warumono ní hamugawú na. Daré ga a sonada á mig̃iri no hottabû hadag'í dara, hindári no hottabú mo dasí-nare.
In Japanese characters:
In Romaji:
"Me ni wa me o, ha ni wa ha o" to ieru koto aru o nanjira kikeri. Saredo ware wa nanjira ni tsugu, ashiki mono ni temukau na. Hito moshi nanji no migi no hō o utaba, hidari o mo muke yo.
In Japanese characters:
  • English (Bible (King James)/Matthew)
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Further reading

  • Harutsugu Yamaura (1986) ケセン語入門 (Kesen-go Nyūmon, The Kesen language introduction). Kyōwa Insatsu Kikaku Center.
  • Harutsugu Yamaura (1988) ケセンの詩 (Kesen no Uda, The Kesen songs). Kyōwa Insatsu Kikaku Center.
  • Harutsugu Yamaura (2000) ケセン語大辞典 (Kesen-go Daijiten, The Great Kesen Dictionary). Mumyōsha Shuppan. ISBN 4-89544-241-1
  • Harutsugu Yamaura (2002) ケセン語訳新約聖書(1) マタイによる福音書 (Kesen-go-yaku Shin'yaku Seisho Ichi, Matai ni Yoru Fukuinsho, The New Testament in Kesen Language (1), The Gospel of Matthew), E-Pix Shuppan. ISBN 4-901602-02-0
  • Harutsugu Yamaura (2003) ケセン語訳新約聖書(2) マルコによる福音書 (Kesen-go-yaku Shin'yaku Seisho Ni, Maruko ni Yoru Fukuinsho, The New Testament in Kesen Language (2), The Gospel of Mark), E-Pix Shuppan. ISBN 4-901602-04-7
  • Harutsugu Yamaura (2003) ケセン語訳新約聖書(3) ルカによる福音書 (Kesen-go-yaku Shin'yaku Seisho San, Ruka ni Yoru Fukuinsho, The New Testament in Kesen Language (3), The Gospel of Luke), E-Pix Shuppan. ISBN 4-901602-06-3
  • Harutsugu Yamaura (2004) ケセン語訳新約聖書(4) ヨハネによる福音書 (Kesen-go-yaku Shin'yaku Seisho Yon, Yohane ni Yoru Fukuinsho, The New Testament in Kesen Language (4), The Gospel of John), E-Pix Shuppan. ISBN 4-901602-07-1
  • Harutsugu Yamaura (2004) ケセン語の世界 (Kesen-go no Sekai, The World of Kesen Language), Meiji Shoin. ISBN 978-4-625-43400-6


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Kesen". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ a b c d Shinji Sanada and Yukio Uemura (2007). "Japanese dialects and Ryukyuan". In Osahito Miyaoka, Osamu Sakiyama and  
  3. ^ a b c Tessa Carroll (2001). "Chapter 1. Changing attitudes: dialects versus the standard language in Japan". In Thomas E. McAuley. Language Change in East Asia. Routledge. pp. 7–24.  

External links

  • (Japanese) Harutsugu Yamaura from E-Pix official website.
  • (Japanese) The Great Kesen Dictionary from Mumyōsha official website.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.