Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

8-30-2016

Degree Program

Japanese

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2016

Month Degree Awarded

September

Advisor Name

Yuki

Advisor Last Name

Yoshimura

Co-advisor Name

Stephen

Co-advisor Last Name

Miller

Abstract

In Japanese, there are various kinds of first-person pronouns, and some of them express the referent’s gender identity. Gender-neutral pronouns are made in English- speaking world day by day, but there is not any common first-person pronoun which indicates the gender identity that positions the referent’s gender somewhere between masculine and feminine. The present paper conducted a life story research on the “Japanese life” of an advanced learner of Japanese at a university in the United States who has been exploring his gender identity by coining and using a new Japanese first- person pronoun 㛪 ore, which indicates “in the middle between masculine and feminine.” This new Japanese gender pronoun has enabled the research participant to express his gender identity as he desires to be, and brought the gender non-binary view to the Japanese-speaking world. His invention and usage of the new pronoun has been achieved between two languages, Japanese and Chinese, with the help of his friends. The study also shows the influence of the ideology of gender binary view in the society, which made a gap between his preferred gender expression and actual expression that occurs when he speaks Japanese. Finally, the present study suggests teachers and educational institutions of Japanese to provide students with environments where they can try out different identities and expressions before asking them what kind of language user they aspire to be.

First Advisor

Yuki Yoshimura

Second Advisor

Stephen Miller

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