Observations on Intra-Nebular Kyara Among Youth


  • Fumiaki SENUMA Bunri University of Hospitality




kyara (the role), Japanese youth, fitting into society, multiple kyaras


This article summarizes the author’s book (Senuma 2007) on kyara in communication among young people in modern Japan, and subsequent research developments.

Here, kyara refers to an intelligible, stereotypical abstraction, derived from a person’s prominent traits. Among the young generation, individuals are sometimes assigned a specific kyara by others in their peer group, regardless of that individual's intentions. Accepting and performing that kyara can elevate the mood of the situation, and become the occasion for communication and humour. This is a benefit of kyaras, but they have disadvantages as well. For example, it may be burdensome to perform that kyara, they might not like the kyara assigned by their friends, or they may be troubled by the disconnect between kyara and self. If kyara-based teasing turns into bullying, this can be a source of suffering for youths as well.

The above trends have escalated since the publication of Senuma (2007). Situations in which young people should perform kyaras around their friends have increased. Moreover, the younger generation must increasingly use different kyara for different situations due to the popularization of smartphones and the ubiquity of various social networking sites.

This “situational use of different selves” is contrary to the identity theory, which posits that people build a consistent self during adolescence. Human relationships and types of friendship are inherently varied, but to the young, fear of losing friends takes precedence, so they perform kyaras to fit in with their friends. If they become too accustomed to performing these kyaras, their innate right to change within their relationships to others could be stripped away by the group dynamic.


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29. 12. 2015



Research articles

How to Cite

SENUMA, F. (2015). Observations on Intra-Nebular Kyara Among Youth. Acta Linguistica Asiatica, 5(2), 43-50. https://doi.org/10.4312/ala.5.2.43-50