Finding Mr Right: New looks at gendered modernity in Japanese televised romances

Debra J. Occhi, Cindi L. Sturtzsreetharan, Janet S. Shibamoto-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Language standardization lies at the heart of Japanese modernity. And numerous aspects of language development intended to fit the modern Japanese state intersect to regiment the linguistic imaginary regarding women's speech. Focus on Yamanote Tokyo-based joseigo ('women's language'), Standard Japanese and certain urban Kansai dialects in popular text and televisual representations of romantic heroines in geographically and linguistically peripheral areas of Japan has been documented, but has left the issue of linguistic masculinity and the romantic hero unexplored. The relation of male speakers to hyōjungo was assumed and 'masculine' speaking practices as broadcast in public space have received little attention despite a popular understanding that certain forms (e.g., ore 'I', and assertive sentence final particle zo) are 'masculine' in effect. Here, we examine images of manly men in contemporary romantic representations set in dialect-speaking areas to illustrate the linkages between the romantic hero and the use of Standard Japanese masculine forms and to offer insight into the underexplored set of possibilities for male speakers circulated in popular media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-425
Number of pages17
JournalJapanese Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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