Japanese Gendered Features, Idols, and the Ideal Female Romantic Partner
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Gendered language features, or lack thereof, are utilized in Japanese society to perpetuate feminine ideals in the media. This thesis focuses specifically on how the ideal female romantic partner is portrayed in modern Japanese media through the use of gendered language features. Japanese has been considered a very gendered language. However, more recent research has questioned whether the description of gendered features in Japanese reflects a language ideal or language reality. For example, in 2004, Janet Shibamoto-Smith investigated language and its use as a cultural model for romance, specifically looking at how language was used by the protagonists of romance novels in the 1980s and 1990s in Japan. Similarly, this paper explores how Japanese idol music serves as a model for romance and ideal female partners in contemporary society. Following the methodology set up by Shibamoto-Smith, this study investigates language use in the media of the 2010s in order to analyze the linguistic representations of an ideal female partner.