Am I 'Watashi', 'Boku' or 'Ore'? from Tamarahco Hen Productions on Vimeo.

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Then watch "Am I 'Watashi', 'Boku' or 'Ore'?"

This presentation focuses on first-person pronoun usage in Japanese. The presenter asks if the paucity of options available to females in comparison to males is "a problem" -- and if so, for whom?

Key words-phrases: 'watashi', 'atashi', 'boku', 'bokura', 'ore', language usage, word coinage, equality.

Compare: Why do we capitalize the word “I”? (NYT, 2008)

The presenter argues that 'onna kotoba' and 'otoko kotoba' -- mutually exclusive, gender-differentiated codes of communication -- qualify as one especially enduring Japanese form of discrimination against women, but instead of proposing changes to the language itself, she has another idea. Watch and learn!

Key words-phrases: 'onna kotoba', 'otoko kotoba', false discrimination, gender-free (language, society)

After engaging in a little "dictionary research," the presenter makes a startling discovery regarding who, according to the writing system of Japan, qualifies as a person -- and who does not.

Key words-phrases: Japanese, radical (bushu), wife (tsuma), husband (otto), linguistic sexism, language reform.
1. Introduction: What We Think We Do (8 min)

2. Asking and Answering (10 min)

3. Interruption (10 min)

4. Agreement and Disagreement (10 min)

5. Encouragement Discouragement (14 min)

6. Achieving Fair Share (10 min)

This collaboratively produced six-part video series problematizes the routine pedagogical promotion of “communicative competence.” The star of the movie is the moviemaker’s former Kansai Gaidai University student, who returned last year as graduate researcher bearing searing questions related to gendered patterns in classroom interaction. [Presented at JALT's Seventh Annual Pan-SIG Conference, "Diversity and Convergence” at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan, May 10-11, 2008.]

There are, according to presenter, 989 words in contemporary Japanese that include the radical 'onna' (woman), and many if not most are negative. There are, in contrast, no words that include 'otoko' (man). The presenter argues that this is an obstacle to sexual equality. Watch and see why.

Key words-phrases: 'onna', 'otoko', kanji, semantic derogation, language usage, language reform, equality