Impoliteness and hypermasculine language in Japanese shock advertising

Authors

  • Satoko Suzuki Macalester College

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/eap.18182

Keywords:

impoliteness, politeness, gender, masculine language, advertising

Abstract

This article shows that by using hypermasculine language in shock advertising, advertisement creators highlight its aggressive and crude image. Hypermasculine language has been commodified as a marker of impoliteness. This analysis utilises the concept of indexical field and makes two theoretical contributions. First, it shows that one can employ the concept in the analysis of styles, which are broader linguistic resources than individual variables. The analysis thus expands the applicability of the concept. Second, the article shows that advertisement creators are changing the indexical field of hypermasculine language. The analysis thus corroborates the characterisation of the indexical field as fluid. This article also argues that, because many in Japan believe in the importance of avoiding offending others and the prominence of linguistic politeness, hypermasculine language, with its foregrounded meanings of aggressiveness and vulgarity, violates the perceived code of linguistic politeness and serves as a useful apparatus for shock advertising.

Author Biography

Satoko Suzuki, Macalester College

Satoko Suzuki, DeWitt Wallace Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures, teaches Japanese language and linguistics courses at Macalester College, USA. She is interested in discourse analysis, pragmatics, and sociocultural linguistics. Her recent scholarly work focuses on language and identity, language ideologies, and media representations. She recently published ‘Masculinity, Race and National Identity: Representations of Non-Japanese Men’s Speech in Contemporary Japanese Novels’ (Gender and Language, 2020) and ‘Multiculturalism or Cultural Nationalism? Representation of Ellie Kameyama as a Conduit and the Other in the NHK Morning Drama Massan’ (Japanese Studies, 2020). She is currently working on a new project titled ‘Language, Power, and Sense of Belonging in US Academia: Voices of Female Japanese Professors’.

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Published

2021-03-17

How to Cite

Suzuki, S. (2021). Impoliteness and hypermasculine language in Japanese shock advertising. East Asian Pragmatics, 6(1), 65–85. https://doi.org/10.1558/eap.18182