Japanese <i>Keitai</i> Novels and Ideologies of Literacy

Yukiko Nishimura

in Digital Discourse

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199795437
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919321 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics

Japanese Keitai Novels and Ideologies of Literacy

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This chapter presents a study of Japanese keitai (mobile phone) novels. Keitai novels have received harsh criticism from literary critics in contemporary Japan. Based on quantitative stylistic and readability analyses, the study finds that keitai novels are not too different from conventional print novels except for their string/line length and a more conversational orientation, extending even to narration. The study illuminates current mainstream ideologies of literacy and literary standards, by which certain styles are deemed “immature.” Evaluations of keitai novels can be traced back to standards in the Japanese literary tradition. It is argued that the popularity of keitai novels may, however, point to the emergence of new literacies and literary sensibilities, which favor interactivity and a more speech-oriented style.

Keywords: keitai novels; ideology; literacy; literary standards; Japanese; mobile telephony; stylistics; readability; interactivity; conversational style

Chapter.  7825 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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