Personal Pronouns and Gendered Speech in Popular Manga (Japanese Comics)


  • Giancarla Unser-Schutz Hitotsubashi University



Manga – Japanese comics – are often said to be influential in young women's using more masculine first person pronouns. However, research hitherto has not focused on the actual distribution of personal pronouns in manga, leaving that relationship unclear. To assess this question, I examined the different forms found in the lines from a corpus of six popular series. Against popular expectations, I found that no female characters used masculine first-person pronouns, with few examples of them using masculine second-person pronoun. With this gap between popular thought and actual usage patterns in mind, I then reexamine manga's possible role in influencing language change.