The risk of Japanese for talking about sex

レシピ / RECIPE

We Japanese are known as having special interests in raw foods. You can frequently see products which emphasize their ‘rawness’such as raw fish, raw eggs, raw sea urchins, and raw beer all over Japan. It is because the Kanji‘raw(生)’ in Japanese deeply connects with the positive image of being fresh and high-quality.

Similar things can be said for the word ‘half’(which was introduced from English). There are countless products which say ‘it is half-carolie’, ‘it is cut half’, or ‘it is as half as the ordinary size’. It is because the word ‘half(ハーフ)’ in Japanese deeply connects with the positive image of being healthy and good value.

This strong connection between each word in Japanese and particular images can be explained due to the system Japanese language adopts. The language uses three written characters and each connects with different images:
Kanji (Chinese characters): each Kanji has different meaning/image
Hiragana: the characters which have ‘broken/casual’ images compared with Kanji
Katakana: the characters which are used for things came from foreign countries and therefore have ‘exotic’ images compared with Kanji and Hiragana
So… Japanese people, by using Japanese as national language, naturally train themselves to connect words and images. That sounds great, right?

But, when it comes to sex… or any topics which need the sense of diversity, that advantage can turn into disadvantage. For example,
‘raw-sex(生セックス)’(sex without condom) is seen as ‘good’ thing and people sometimes ignore the risk
‘half(ハーフ)’ is used for ‘praising’ people born because of international marriages although the word implies discrimination against those people.
Such Japanese discriptions can instill strong stereotypes in people’s minds without getting noticed.

Therefore, I contend that Japanese people should be really cautious about using Japanese for talking about complicated or ambiguous matters such as sex.

コメント / COMMENT

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