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Script variation as audience design: Imagining readership and community in Japanese yuri comics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 November 2019

Hannah E. Dahlberg-Dodd*
The Ohio State University, USA
Address for correspondence: Hannah E. Dahlberg-Dodd The Ohio State University Hagerty Hall 398 1775 College Rd Columbus, OH43210,


Building on recent work supporting a sociolinguistic approach to orthographic choice, this study engages with paratextual language use in yuri, a subgenre of Japanese shōjo manga ‘girls’ comics’ that centers on same-sex romantic and/or erotic relationships between female characters. The comic magazine Comic Yuri Hime has been the dominant, if not only, yuri-oriented published magazine in Japan since its inception in 2005. Though both written and consumed by a primarily female audience, the magazine has undergone numerous attempts to rebrand and refocus the target audience as a means to broaden the magazine's readership. This change in target demographic is reflected in the stylistic representation of paratextual occurrences of the second-person pronoun anata, indicating the role of the textual landscape in reflecting, and reifying, an imagined target audience. (Script variation, manga, popular media, Japan, yuri manga)

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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