Thirty years of talk

The Longitudinal study of Kobe ethnographic interviews 1989-2019

How do we change the way we talk over time? How do we create our identities by the way we speak, and with what consequences?

The Kobe Study examines life transitions and traces the language use of a group of working class women over 30 years. It analyses shifts in the women’s language and identities by examining interviews that Professor Okano (a social anthropologist) has regularly conducted with the same women from 1989 when they were 18 years old to the present.

The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between linguistics and social/cultural anthropology. We aim to bring new insights into issues of language, gender, class and mobility in Japan in the context of transition from young adulthood to middle adulthood.

A recent publication from this project is: Maree, C. & Okano, K. (eds.) (2018) Discourse, gender and shifting identities in Japan ( London: Routledge). Okano’s anthropological study has been published as two monographs: School to work transition in Japan: An ethnographic study (1993), and Young women in Japan: Transitions to adulthood (2009).

ARC Discovery Grant 2017-2019 (DP170102598), administered by Asia Institute, Melbourne University

Team: Dr Shimako Iwasaki (Monash University), Dr Claire Maree & Dr Ikuko Nakane (Melbourne University), Professor Kaori Okano (La Trobe), Dr Chie Takagi (Osaka University), Dr Lidia Tanaka (La Trobe University).[in the alphabetical order].