This paper examines the role of script selection in indexing identities and styles of self-presentation within a Japanese manga (comic). By cataloguing where the kanji, hiragana, and katakana scripts are used to represent first person pronouns, I establish the contexts where each script/pronoun combination serves as a locally normative representation. These norms are compared against non-normative representations to gain insight into the local meanings associated with the various scripts. Analysis of the variant forms is combined with an interview with the manga's author. Ultimately, the results reveal that the contribution of script to the meaning of a Japanese text goes beyond any single marked selection, and involves interactions between both locally normative patterns of script use and meaningful local violations of these norms. Selections of script are seen to convey nuances in how meaning is constructed in the text, as well as reflecting wider ideologies about language use in Japan.
- Japanese writing
- language ideology