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アイヌ (ainu): three people in traditional Ainu costume, at the Ainu Museum in Shiraoi, Hokkaido.

Alternative formsEdit


アィヌ ‎(aynu)

  1. a person, a human being
  2. the Ainu people
  3. comrade
  4. father, husband, or other adult male

Usage notesEdit

This spelling is less common than アイヌ.

The Ainu pronunciation of this term has only two morae, so academic materials may spell this term in kana with the small , or in romaji with a y, to explicitly indicate that the initial vowel is the single-mora diphthong ay (/ai̯/), and not the two-mora diphthong a i (/a.i/).

However, there is no three-mora term a i nu in the Ainu language, and most Ainu texts written in katakana use the spelling アイヌ instead.


Batchelor, John (1926) An Ainu-English-Japanese Dictionary, third edition, Tokyo: Kyobunkan