Discourse, Gender and Shifting Identities in Japan: The Longitudinal Study of Kobe Women’s Ethnographic Interviews 1989-2019, Phase One, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Discourse, Gender and Shifting Identities in Japan

The Longitudinal Study of Kobe Women’s Ethnographic Interviews 1989-2019, Phase One, 1st Edition

Edited by Claire Maree, Kaori Okano


162 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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This book is the first in a unique series drawn from an interdisciplinary, longitudinal project entitled ‘Thirty Years of Talk.’ For 30 years, Okano recorded ethnographic interviews and collected data on the language of working class women in Kobe, Japan. This long-range study sketches the transitions in these women's lives and how their language use, discourse and identities change in specific sociocultural contexts as they shift through different stages of their personal and public lives. It is a ground-breaking, ‘real time’ panel study that follows the same individuals and observes the same phenomena at regular intervals over three decades. In this volume the authors examine the changes in the speech of one particular woman, Kanako, as her social identity shifts from high-school girl to mother and fisherman’s wife, and as her relationship with the interviewer develops. They identify changes in linguistic strategies as she negotiates gender/sexuality norms, stylistic features related to the construction of rapport, the use of discourse markers as she gets older, and the interviewer’s information-seeking strategies.

Table of Contents

1. Phase One of the Longitudinal Study of Kobe Women’s Ethnographic Interviews 1989-2019: Kanako 1989 and 2000 (Kaori Okano and Claire Maree)

2. Kanako’s World 1989-2000: Growing Up Working Class and Shifting Identities (Kaori Okano)

3. Dialect and Discourse Markers Use: From Adolescence into Adulthood (Lidia Tanaka)

4. ‘Give Me A Break Already’: Gender, Laughter and the Interviewed-Self (Claire Maree)

5. Rapport and Discourse Transformation in Ethnographic Interview (Ikuko Nakane)

6. Evolving Questions, Questioning and Affiliation in Ongoing Ethnographic Interviews (Shimako Iwasaki)

7. Epilogue: Shifting Identities, Over the Years, and Within Ethnographic Interviews (Claire Maree and Kaori Okano)

About the Editors

Claire MAREE is Senior Lecturer in Japanese at the Asia institute, University of Melbourne. Her research spans the areas of critical language studies, gender/sexuality and language studies, media studies and queer studies. Major publications include ‘One-kotoba’ Ron (On ‘One-kotoba [language of queens]’) (Seidosha, 2013); Hatsuwasha no gengo sotorateji toshite no negoshieshon koi (Negotiation as a Linguistic Strategy of Speakers) (Hituzi Shobo, 2007). Claire has published chapters in collected volumes on Japanese language and gender, pragmatics, and queer studies. She contributes articles to journals such as The Asia-Pacific Journal, Media international Australia, Nihon Joseigakkai-shi, Women's Studies, intersections, Gendai Shiso and Sexualities.

Kaori OKANO is Professor in Asian Studies/Japanese at La Trobe University. She researches in the field of the sociology and anthropology of inequality and education in Japan and East Asia, including multiculturalism, indigenous education, ethnography of growing up, and local activism (e.g., NPOs and NGOs). Her key publications include Rethinking Japanese Studies (with Sugimoto, Y., 2017), Nonformal Education and Civil Society in Japan (2016, Routledge), Minorities and Education in Multicultural Japan (co-ed. 2011, Routledge),) Young Women in Japan: Transitions to Adulthood (2009), Education in Contemporary Japan (with M. Tsuchiya, CUP, 1999) and School to Work Transition in Japan (1993).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Sociolinguistics

This series is our home for innovative research in the field of sociolinguistics. It includes monographs and targeted edited collections that provide new insights into this important and evolving subject area.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics