Marcello Francioni

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

London, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9366

Approve Date

October 7, 2016

Project Title

Francioni, Marcello, U. of London, London, UK - To aid research on 'Onee-kotoba. Masculinity, Language and Sexuality in Contemporary Japan,' supervised by Dr. Carolina Osella

MARCELLO FRANCIONI, then a graduate student at University of London, London, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in October 2016 to aid research on ‘Onee-kotoba. Masculinity, Language and Sexuality in Contemporary Japan,’ supervised by Dr. Carolina Osella. Funding aided research on the service industry in Japanese-style gay bars in Tokyo (Japan). The main aim of this research was to trace the implications of gender and service, and what is the role of language in the gay bar scene. By working as a waiter, the grantee has collected data necessary to claim that the service industry in Japan is geared towards a masculinization of the customer, regardless of their proclaimed gender, and of a feminization of the staff through economic transaction. By adopting mother-like and wife-like behaviors, staff members gave customers the upper hand in after-work, one-on-one interactions that counterbalanced their everyday work routines of company workers lacking general interactional power. Moreover, the study has investigated the role of language use at gay bars, through the analysis of gay bars’ speech style called onee-kotoba. Contrary to the literature on the subject, this style mixes both hyper-feminine and hyper-masculine language in order to access a more nuanced emotional repertoire. Masterful mixing, the grantee has observed, made for desirable customers and conversation partners at the bars.