Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Sweet voice: The role of voice quality in a Japanese feminine style

  • Rebecca L. Starr (a1)
Abstract

‘Sweet voice’, a distinctive Japanese vocal style, illustrates the role played by voice quality as a marker of authenticity in the construction of linguistic styles. The acoustic properties and sociopragmatic functions of sweet voice, as performed by professional voice actresses, are analyzed using data from anime programs, paraphernalia, and fan discourse. Sweet voice is shown to be connected to a traditional notion of Japanese femininity, and licenses the positive use of grammatical features of Japanese Women's Language. The mature, traditional image conveyed by sweet voice contrasts with the youthful cuteness of burikko and related vocal styles, illustrating that multiple notions of femininity operate within Japanese popular culture. The interplay of voice quality and grammatical features suggests that perceptions of conscious control at different levels of language play a crucial role in social meaning. (Voice quality, Japanese, language and gender, style, authenticity)*

Copyright
References
Hide All
2channel (2013). 皆口裕子(46) 井上喜久子(17 + 31) 林原めぐみ(46) [‘Minaguchi Yuko (46), Inoue Kikuko (17 + 31), Megumi Hayashibara(46)’]. Online: http://www.logchannel.com/bbs/ogame/1368626634/; accessed May 26, 2014.
Balasubramanium, Radish Kumar; Bhat, Jayashree S.; Srivastava, Manav; & Eldose, Aimy (2012). Cepstral analysis of sexually appealing voice. Journal of Voice 26(4):412–15.
Bishop, Jason, & Keating, Patricia (2012). Perception of pitch location within a speaker's range: Fundamental frequency, voice quality, and speaker sex. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 132(2):1100–12.
Björkner, Eva (2006). Why so different? Aspects of voice characteristics in operatic and musical-theatre singing. Stockholm: KTH School of Computer Science and Communication dissertation.
Boersma, Paul, & Weenink, David (2012). Praat: Doing phonetics by computer. [Computer program] Version 5.3.14 (28 April 2012).
Brinca, Lilia F.; Batista, Ana Paula; Tavares, Ana Ines; Goncalves, Ilidio; & Moreno, Maria L. (2014). Use of cepstral analyses for differentiating normal from dysphonic voices: A comparative study of connected speech versus sustained vowel in European Portuguese female speakers. Journal of Voice 28(3):282–86.
Bryce, Mio; Barber, Christie; Kelly, James; Kunwar, Siris; & Plumb, Amy (2010). Manga and anime: Fluidity and hybridity in global imagery. Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies. Article 1.
Bucholtz, Mary (2003). Sociolinguistic nostalgia and the authentication of identity. Journal of Sociolinguistics 7(3):398416.
Bullock, Ben (ed.) (1994). What Is Yamato Nadeshiko? Online: http://www.sljfaq.org/afaq/yamatonadeshiko.html; accessed August 1, 2008.
Campbell, Nick, & Mokhtari, Parham (2003). Voice quality: The 4th prosodic dimension. Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 2417–20.
CC. 2002. Seiyuu directory. Online: http://www.geocities.com/seiyuu_directory/kikuko.html; accessed August 15, 2008.
Clammer, John (1995). Consuming bodies: Constructing and representing the female body in contemporary Japanese print media. In Skov, & Moeran, 1995a, 197–219.
Cryar, Morgan (2014). Head voice and falsetto. Become a singing master. Online: http://www.become-a-singing-master.com/head-voice-and-falsetto.html; accessed June 1, 2014.
Dark Mirage (2008). Zetai Ryouiki. Online: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ZettaiRyouiki; accessed August 15, 2008.
de Krom, Guus (1993). A cepstrum-based technique for determining a harmonic-to-noise ratio in speech signals. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 36:254–66.
Enyo, Yumiko (2005). Gender performance and intonation in a Japanese sentence-final particle yo ne.Paper presented at NWAV 2005, New York.
Esling, John H. (2012). Voice quality. In Chappele, Carole A. (ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics. Blackwell. doi: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal1271.
Gagné, Isaac (2008). Urban princesses: Performance and women's language in Japan's gothic/lolita subculture. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 18(1):130–50.
Garrett, Rachel (2013). Cepstral- and spectral-based acoustic measures of normal voices. Theses and Dissertations. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Paper 217.
Gordon, Matthew, & Ladefoged, Peter (2001). Phonation types: A cross-linguistic overview. Journal of Phonetics 29:383406.
Haikyou (2008). Ouhara Sayaka Profile. Online: http://haikyo.or.jp/PROFILE/woman/11570.html; accessed September 1, 2008.
Hearn, Lafcadio (1905). Japan: An attempt at interpretation. New York: Macmillan.
Heman-Ackah, Yolanda D.; Heuer, Reinhardt J.; Michael, Deirdre D.; Ostrowski, Rosemary; Horman, Michelle; Baroody, Margaret; Hillenbrand, James; & Sataloff, Robert T. (2003). Cepstral Peak Prominence: A more reliable measure of dysphonia. Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology 112(4):324–33.
Hillenbrand, James; Cleveland;, Ronald & Erickson, Robert (1994). Acoustic correlates of breathy vocal quality. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 37:769–78.
Hirano, Minoru; Vennard, William; & Ohala, John (1970). Regulation of register, pitch, and intensity of voice: An electromographic investigation of intrinsic laryngeal muscles. Folia Phoniatrica 22:120.
Honorof, Douglas N., & Whalen, D. H. (2004). Perception of pitch location within a speaker's F0 range. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 117(4):2193–200.
Hu, Tze-Yue G. (2010). Frames of anime: Culture and image-building. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Inoue, Miyako (2006). Vicarious language: Gender and linguistic modernity in Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Iriyama, Sho (2011). Comment on 水樹奈々 、 福圓美里 、 こやまきみこ 、 井上喜久子 釘宮理 恵 [‘Nana Mizuki, Misato Fukuen, Kimiko Koyama, Inoue Kikuko, Kugimiya Rie’]. Online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcpVGk_f5eM; accessed May 26, 2014.
Iseli, Markus; Shue, Yen-Liang; & Alwan, Abeer (2007). Age, sex, and vowel dependencies of acoustic measures related to the voice source. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 121(4):2283–95.
Ishi, Carlos Toshinori (2004). A new acoustic measure for aspiration noise detection. Proceedings of INTERSPEECH 2004, 941–94.
Ito, Mika (2003). The contribution of voice quality to politeness in Japanese. Proceedings of VOQUAL ‘03, Geneva, 157–62.
Ito, Mika (2004). Politeness and voice quality: The alternative method to measure aspiration noise. Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2004, 213–16.
Jahn, Anthony (2011). Talk better, sing better. Voice Council Magazine, August 19, 2011. Online: http://voicecouncil.com/talk-better-sing-better; accessed June 1, 2014.
Johnson, Daniel Ezra (2009). Getting off the GoldVarb standard: Introducing Rbrul for mixed-effects variable rule analysis. Language and Linguistic Compass 3(1):359–83.
Katyosukatyosu, (2011). Comment on 水樹奈々 、 福圓美里 、 こやまきみこ 、 井上喜久子 釘宮 理恵 [‘Nana Mizuki, Misato Fukuen, Kimiko Koyama, Inoue Kikuko, Kugimiya Rie’]. Online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcpVGk_f5eM; accessed May 26, 2014.
Keating, Patricia A. (2014). Acoustic measures of falsetto voice. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Providence, RI.
Kenpro Groups (2008). School duo. Online: http://www.school-duo.com/; accessed September 1, 2008.
Kinsella, Sharon (1995). Cuties in Japan. In Skov, & Moeran, 1995a, 220–54.
Kong, Eun Jong; Kiyoko, Yoneyama; & Beckman, Mary (2014). Effects of a sound change in progress on gender-marking cues in Japanese. Poster presented at LabPhon 2014. Tokyo, Japan.
Kreiman, Jody; Shue, Yen-Liang; Chen, Gang; Iseli, Markus; Gerratt, Bruce R.; Neubauer, Juergen; & Alwan, Abeer (2012). Variability in the relationships among voice quality, harmonic amplitudes, open quotient, and glottal area waveform shape in sustained phonation. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 132(4):2625–32.
Kristof, Nicholas (1995). Japan's feminine falsetto falls right out of favor. New York Times, December 13 1995.
Laver, John (1980). The phonetic description of voice quality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Leino, T. (1993). Long-term average spectrum study on speaking voice quality in male actors. Proceedings of the Stockholm Music Acoustics Conference, 206–10. Stockholm, Sweden.
Lin, Emily; Jayakody;, Dona & Looi, Valerie (2009). The singing power ratio and timbre-related acoustic analysis of singing vowels and musical instruments. Voice Foundation's 38th Annual Symposium: Care of the Professional Voice, 3–7 Jun 2009, Philadelphia, PA.
Manbow (2008). Inoue Kikuko's official site. Online: http://www.manbow.com; accessed August 1, 2008.
Maryn, Youri; Roy, Nelson; de Bodt, Marc; van Cauwenberge, Paul; & Corthals, Paul (2009). Acoustic measurement of overall voice quality: A meta-analysis. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 126(5):2619–34.
Masataka, Nobuo (1992). Pitch characteristics of Japanese maternal speech to infants. Journal of Child Language 19(2):213–23.
Master, Suely; de Biase, Noemi; Brasilia, Maria Chiari; & Laukkanen, Anne-Maria (2008). Acoustic and perceptual analyses of Brazilian male actors' and nonactors' voices: Long-term average spectrum and the ‘actor's formant’. Journal of Voice 22(2):146–54.
Master, Suely; de Biase, Noemi; & Madureira, Sandra (2012). What about the ‘actor's formant’ in actresses' voices? Journal of Voice 26(3):117–22.
Miller, Laura (2004). You are doing burikko! Censoring/scrutinising artificers of cute femininity in Japanese. In Okamoto, Shikego & Smith, Janet Shibamoto (eds.), Japanese language, gender, and ideology: Cultural models and real people, 148–65. New York: Oxford University Press.
Miller, Richard (2000). Training soprano voices. New York: Oxford.
Ohara, Yumiko (1999). Performing gender through voice pitch: A cross-cultural analysis of Japanese and American English. In Pasero, Ursula & Braun, Friedrike (eds.), Wahrnehmung und Herstellung von Geschlecht [‘Perceiving and performing gender’], 105–66. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
Ohara, Yumiko (2004). Prosody and gender in workplace interaction. In Okamoto, Shikego & Smith, Janet Shibamoto (eds.), Japanese language, gender, and ideology: Cultural models and real people, 222–40. New York: Oxford University Press.
Okamoto, Shikego, & Smith, Janet Shibamoto (2004). Introduction. In Okamoto, Shikego & Smith, Janet Shibamoto (eds.), Japanese language, gender, and ideology: Cultural models and real people, 320. New York: Oxford University Press.
Okamoto, Shikego, & Smith, Janet Shibamoto (2008). Constructing linguistic femininity in contemporary Japan: Scholarly and popular representations. Gender and Language 2(1):87112.
Otsuma, Kotaka (1929). 日常常識儀礼作法 [‘Etiquette and manners as daily knowledge’]. Tokyo: Okamura Shoten.
Podesva, Robert (2007). Phonation type as a stylistic variable: The use of falsetto in constructing a persona. Journal of Sociolinguistics 14(4):478504.
Sadanobu, Toshiyuki (2004). A natural history of Japanese pressed voice. Journal of the Phonetic Society of Japan 8(1):2944.
Samlan, Robin A., & Story, Brad H. (2011). Relation of structural and vibratory kinematics of the vocal folds to two acoustic measures of breathy voice based on computational modeling. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 54:1267–83.
Seiyuu Directory (2002). Inoue Kikuko. Online: http://www.geocities.com/seiyuu_directory/kikuko.html; accessed August 1, 2008.
Shibamoto Smith, Janet (2003). Gendered structures in Japanese. In Hellinger, Marlis & Bußmann, Hadumod (eds.), Gender across languages: The linguistic representation of women and men, 201–26. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.
Shingo (2005). A discourse on moe, part I: Introduction and a moetic taxonomy. Heisei Democracy. Online: http://heiseidemocracy.com/2005/02/28/62/; accessed October 1, 2006.
Shue, Yen-Liang (2009). Voicesauce: A program for voice analysis. Online: http://www.seas.ucla.edu/spapl/voicesauce/.
Shue, Yen-Liang; Chen, Gang; & Alwan, Abeer (2010). On the interdependencies between voice quality, glottal gaps, and voice-source related acoustic measures. Proceedings of INTERSPEECH 2010, 34–37.
Skov, Lise, & Moeran, Brian (1995a). Women, media, and consumption in Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
Skov, Lise, & Moeran, Brian (1995b). Introduction: Hiding in the light: from Oshin to Yoshimoto Banana. In Skov, & Moeran, 1995a, 1–74.
Stevens, Kenneth, & Hanson, Helen M. (1995). Classification of glottal vibration from acoustic measurements. In Fujimura, Osamu & Hirano, Minoru (eds.), Vocal fold physiology: Voice quality control, 147–70. San Diego, CA: Singular Publishing Group.
Sugihara, Yoko, & Katsurada, Emiko (1999). Masculinity and femininity in Japanese culture: A pilot study. Sex Roles 40(7–8):635–46.
Sundberg, Johan (1987). The science of the singing voice. Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press.
Sundberg, Johan (2001). Level and centre frequency of the singer's formant. Journal of Voice 15(2):176–86.
Sundberg, Johan, & Askenfelt, Anders (1983). Larynx height and voice source: A relationship? In Bless, Diane M. & Abbs, James H. (eds.), Vocal fold physiology: Contemporary research and clinical issues, 307–16. San Diego, CA: Collegehill.
Superflavor (2007). Superflavor LiveJournal Jan 20, 2007. Online: http://superflavor.livejournal.com/; accessed August 1, 2008.
Swerts, Marc, & Veldhuis, Raymond (2001). The effect of speech melody on voice quality. Speech Communication 33(4):297303.
Tabuchi, Hiroko (2013). Japan's top voice: High, polite, and on the phone. New York Times, December 14, 2013. A1.
Takahara, Kumiko (1991). Female speech patterns in Japanese. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 92:6185.
Teshigawara, Mihoko (2003). Voices in Japanese animation: A phonetic study of vocal stereotypes of heroes and villains in Japanese culture. Victoria: University of Victoria dissertation.
Tronman63 (2007). Kikuko Inoue 17yo & Ami Koshimizu short clip. Online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XssN_nFzLRs; accessed August 15, 2008.
TV.com (2008). Kikuko Inoue bio. Online: http://www.tv.com/kikuko- inoue/person/116271/biography.html; accessed August 15, 2008.
Warhurst, Samantha; McCabe, Patricia; Yiu, Edwin; Heard, Robert; & Madill, Catherine (2013). Acoustic characteristics of male commercial and public radio broadcast voices. Journal of Voice 27(5):655.e1655.e7.
Washi, Rumi (2004). ‘Japanese female speech’ and language policy in the World War II era. In Okamoto, Shikego & Smith, Janet Shibamoto (eds.), Japanese language, gender, and ideology: Cultural models and real people, 7691. New York: Oxford University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Language in Society
  • ISSN: 0047-4045
  • EISSN: 1469-8013
  • URL: /core/journals/language-in-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed