Visuality of writing in our modern world of multimedia and mass communication: focusing on the written Japanese

Mio Bryce

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


Advanced high-technology communications has brought significant changes to language presentation. Considering the role of written languages and their evolution, this paper discusses the materiality of language, particularly the increased visuality of written Japanese in socio-cultural and psychological contexts. An incorporation of graphics into linguistic presentations (e.g., picturisation of letters and characterisation of graphics) is a prevailing, current phenomenon. Graphic symbols (e.g., emoticons) have increasingly come to express writers' feelings in electronic communications. New graphic writings have also come into existence. This is exemplified by girls' stylised letters/characters, born in a fusion of social, cultural, historical and psychological changes: the demand for efficiency, commercialisation and the fictionality derived from writers' desires for self-expression, conformity and anonymity. The intensified visuality in linguistic presentations indicates that today's written discourses convey less intellectual information and more aesthetic and/or emotional values. This certainly reflects this period of excessive information. I suggest, however, the strong visual performance of Japanese writing is intrinsic. There is a marked similarity between today's writing and that of the Heian period (794-1192), in terms of aesthetics and psychologies. We write to communicate with others and ourselves, therefore the exploration of writing styles shows a cross-section of our social and mental activities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of a conference held in 2003 on language education in Australian and New Zealand universities
EditorsGillian Wigglesworth
Place of PublicationMelbourne
PublisherThe University of Melbourne, School of Languages
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)0734030576
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventMarking Our Difference Conference 2003 - Melbourne
Duration: 1 Oct 20033 Oct 2003


ConferenceMarking Our Difference Conference 2003


Dive into the research topics of 'Visuality of writing in our modern world of multimedia and mass communication: focusing on the written Japanese'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this