Kanji in this term
Grade: 1


From the 連体形 (rentaikei, attributive form) of Early Middle Japanese adjective 赤し (akashi), with the medial /-k-/ falling out. Cognate with 明るい (akarui, bright).

Medial voiceless plosives, like /-k-/, underwent voicing, then spirantization, then gliding, then being dropped, before /-i, -u, -e, -o/. As this intervocalic sound-change did not occur before /-a/(Hamano, 2000)[1], Middle Japanese /akaki/ became /akai/ 赤い.

⟨akaki1 → */akakʲi/ → */akagʲi/ → */akaɣi/ → */akaji/ → */akai/.


  • Tokyo pitch accent of inflected forms of "赤い"
Source: Online Japanese Accent Dictionary
Stem forms
Continuative (連用形) 赤く かく [àkákú]
Terminal (終止形) 赤い かい
Attributive (連体形) 赤い かい [àkáí]
Key constructions
Informal negative 赤くない かくな [àkákúnáꜜì]
Informal past 赤かった かった [àkáꜜkàttà]
Informal negative past 赤くなかった かくなかった [àkákúnáꜜkàttà]
Formal 赤いです いです [àkáꜜìdèsù]
Conjunctive 赤くて くて [àkáꜜkùtè]
Conditional 赤ければ ければ [àkáꜜkèrèbà]


(あか) (akai-i (adverbial (あか) (akaku))

  1. the color red
    • 16031604, Nippo Jisho (page 9)
      Acai. アカイ (赤い) 赤い(もの).


Related termsEdit


  1. ^ Hamano, S. Journal of East Asian Linguistics (2000) 9: 207. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008367619295
  2. ^ 1974, 新明解国語辞典 (Shin Meikai Kokugo Jiten), Second Edition (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Sanseidō
  3. ^ 2002, 京阪系アクセント辞典 (A Dictionary of Tone on Words of the Keihan-type Dialects) (in Japanese), Tōkyō: Bensei, →ISBN

Further readingEdit