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Japanese Popular Culture as a Major Motivation for Japanese Language Study.


Thesis for a Master of Arts in Japanese from San Francisco State University.

John Gale 2012.




Japanese popular culture, such as anime, manga, and video games, influences Japanese-as-a-Foreign-Language (JFL) students to study Japanese and is a major channel for interacting with Japanese language and culture. This thesis investigates what kind of relationship university JFL students have with Japanese popular culture. The investigation features two parts: a quantitative Student Survey Questionnaire and a qualitative Textbook Evaluation Questionnaire. The Student Survey Questionnaire asks 164 university JFL student participants about Japanese popular culture that they enjoy and how they acquire Japanese language through Japanese popular culture. The Textbook Evaluation Questionnaire has seven participants evaluate four Japanese language textbooks that use Japanese manga comics as the teaching medium. This investigation finds that university JFL students do indeed interact with Japanese popular culture in a significant way. Japanese popular culture influences them to study Japanese, but is not their main reason for studying the language. Also, the majority of participants believe that positive Japanese language acquisition can occur through engaging with Japanese popular culture.

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