Japanese Keitai Novels and Ideologies of Literacy
This chapter presents a study of Japanese keitai (mobile phone) novels. Keitai novels have received harsh criticism from literary critics in contemporary Japan. Based on quantitative stylistic and readability analyses, the study finds that keitai novels are not too different from conventional print novels except for their string/line length and a more conversational orientation, extending even to narration. The study illuminates current mainstream ideologies of literacy and literary standards, by which certain styles are deemed “immature.” Evaluations of keitai novels can be traced back to standards in the Japanese literary tradition. It is argued that the popularity of keitai novels may, however, point to the emergence of new literacies and literary sensibilities, which favor interactivity and a more speech-oriented style.
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