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General Discussion Theres a Clannad of AIR-headed Kanon fodder being shot by the Little Busters After Tomoyo on a Planet-arian.

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  #1  
Old 2006-01-15, 21:18
DragonmasterX DragonmasterX is offline
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Default Dialects in visual novels

It seems like Kansai-ben is the only dialect ever spoken in visual novels(my favorite being Haruko of Air), or Japanese games in general. Why is this the case?
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  #2  
Old 2006-01-15, 21:41
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Because there's no such thing as Kyushu-ben?
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Old 2006-01-15, 21:50
l|ammamama l|ammamama is offline
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From what I've read on the topic, it seems that the general lack of regional dialects isn't restricted to games, but extends to all of the published media in Japan. Apparently the majority of the publishing companies, television networks, game companies etc. operate out of Tokyo due to an active government initiative to make that city the true 'capital' of the nation not only politically speaking, but economically and socially as well.

The Kansai dialect seems to have survived the 'filtering' effect in part because it is closely associated with a number of popular comedians - making it one of the few (the only?) dialects besides the official 'standard' japanese that is heard on national television on a regular basis.

Since Kansai-ben is the most 'recognized' accent, it would make sense for game-makers to use it to add spice to a certain character - as opposed to using a more obscure dialect.


Then again - I'm far from an expert on the topic. Most of this is coming from a book I read on Japanese society.
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Old 2006-01-16, 05:48
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Yes, I think the main reason is the same as the reason why you don't see that much dialectal variation in English writing: very few dialects have any mainstream literary status. In Japan, basically just 標準語, 関西弁 (usually 大阪弁, to be precise), and 東京弁. No reason why they couldn't use うちなあぐち or 熊本弁... except that a reasonable proportion of the population wouldn't understand a word of it. ;)

And even then, as often as not what passes for "dialect" is the hideous pastiche sometimes called なんちゃって関西弁. Far easier to sprinkle your characters' speech with a few やs and へんs than to actually go to the effort to understand the tongue - just like lazy American writers will tend just to add a pinch of y'all. ;)

(I believe Haruko's dialect is pretty accurate, on the other hand. Possibly because VisualArt's is an Osaka company.)
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Old 2006-01-16, 09:24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l|ammamama
Apparently the majority of the publishing companies, television networks, game companies etc. operate out of Tokyo due to an active government initiative to make that city the true 'capital' of the nation not only politically speaking, but economically and socially as well.
Maybe this was true in the Meiji era, but I find it hard to believe now. The main trouble with writing an unfamiliar dialect is that it's... unfamiliar. Although Azuma Kiyohiko did take some bold steps by including untranslated Okinawa-go in Azumanga Daioh.
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Old 2006-01-16, 10:05
DragonmasterX DragonmasterX is offline
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The only exception I know of is Moses from Tales of Legendia, who speaks Hiroshima-ben.
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Old 2006-01-16, 11:35
l|ammamama l|ammamama is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shii
Maybe this was true in the Meiji era, but I find it hard to believe now.
There were a lot of things in the book that I was really suprised by. Here's a few excerpts from it thanks to Amazon's nifty search-inside feature ^^

Quote:
The process of population concentration was expedited by the national bureaucracy, which sought to make Tokyo the center of centers... Under ministerial instructions, each industrial sector established its headquarters in the capital... the national bureaucracy has succeded in establishing a government-controlled, Tokyo-centered industrial hierarchy.

The concentration of the information industry in Tokyo lessens the visibility of the extensive regional diversity of Japanese society. Throughout Japan, most commercial television stations are readily associated with one of the five "key stations" in Tokyo, and relay the programs made in the capital... and most pages of the national dailies are edited in Tokyo. Thus the Japanese public is constantly fed views of the world and the nation that are constructed, interprited, and edited in Tokyo.

The centralization of the dissemination of information is accompanied by Tokyo control of Japanese "language correctness." The cirriculum set by the Ministry of Education dictates that pupils should be taught to speak standard Japanese. Dialects of the periphery are often disparaged... Thus, the dominance of the Tokyo subculture in media and language often obscures the reality of regional diversity in Japan.
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Old 2006-01-16, 11:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haeleth
Far easier to sprinkle your characters' speech with a few やs and へんs than to actually go to the effort to understand the tongue
Tsutomu from Wind -a breath of heart- -- and through him, the great evil that is nbkz Sakai -- would be the prime example of this crime ...
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Old 2006-01-16, 14:52
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Quote:
The concentration of the information industry in Tokyo lessens the visibility of the extensive regional diversity of Japanese society. Throughout Japan, most commercial television stations are readily associated with one of the five "key stations" in Tokyo, and relay the programs made in the capital... and most pages of the national dailies are edited in Tokyo. Thus the Japanese public is constantly fed views of the world and the nation that are constructed, interprited, and edited in Tokyo.
This is like saying that ABC, CBS, and NBC are trying to destroy American culture because they're centered in New York and have member stations around the country, and that the AP and Reuters are feeding Americans views of the world and nation that are constructed, interpreted, and edited in New York. And yes, FOX News is located in New York, too.

Quote:
The centralization of the dissemination of information is accompanied by Tokyo control of Japanese "language correctness." The cirriculum set by the Ministry of Education dictates that pupils should be taught to speak standard Japanese. Dialects of the periphery are often disparaged... Thus, the dominance of the Tokyo subculture in media and language often obscures the reality of regional diversity in Japan.
This is like saying that because the American government sets textbook standards, and none of these textbooks are written with a Southern accent, they are trying to eliminate regional diversity in the United States.

This book is yet another example of what happens when people look at Japan as an alien planet.
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  #10  
Old 2006-01-16, 15:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shii
This book is yet another example of what happens when people look at Japan as an alien planet.


(No racism or prejudice of any sort intended, hopefully obviously...)
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  #11  
Old 2006-01-16, 15:39
l|ammamama l|ammamama is offline
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Remember that all of this has been taken completely out of the context provided by the rest of the book, and as such it seems like the author (who is Japanese himself) is simply bashing on Japan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shii
This is like saying that ABC, CBS, and NBC are trying to destroy American culture because they're centered in New York and have member stations around the country, and that the AP and Reuters are feeding Americans views of the world and nation that are constructed, interpreted, and edited in New York. And yes, FOX News is located in New York, too.
The author was not claiming that Tokyo is trying to destroy Japanese culture, He was just making the point that the the highly centralized nature of the Japanese mass media "...often obscures the reality of regional diversity..." - which in part explains the lack of non-standard dialects (with kansai-ben being the exception) in games and other forms of entertainment.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shii
This is like saying that because the American government sets textbook standards, and none of these textbooks are written with a Southern accent, they are trying to eliminate regional diversity in the United States.
The critical distinction, however, is that in Japan certain dialects are actively repressed. What I left out of the middle of that quote, for the sake of brevity, was:
Quote:
For example, the dialect spoken in the Tóhoku district is regarded as rustic, and some schools in the region go as far as to force pupils to speak standard Japanese at school and to avoid using the Tóhoku dialect in the classroom.
But again, the author is not claiming that there is a crusade being waged against diversity in Japan - He is merely citing examples of how Japan actually contains much greater diversity then it's international image tends to portray.


I'll refrain from spouting off about how incisive, comprehensive, throughly researched, well documented, balanced, concise, and fabulous the book is (;-_-), but if you're interested in things like this I can't recomend it enough - you can find it (and reviews etc) on Amazon.
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Old 2006-01-16, 16:31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shii
This book is yet another example of what happens when people look at Japan as an alien planet.
(No racism or prejudice of any sort intended, hopefully obviously...)
I'm printing that out and I'm going to tape it to my wall.
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  #13  
Old 2006-01-16, 17:26
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Whoa, when did Australia become an alien planet?
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  #14  
Old 2006-01-16, 17:46
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Them kangaroos, they're outta this world.
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  #15  
Old 2006-01-16, 17:47
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So people from Australia can be called オスオス星人?w
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