• Yabu, Hyogo


Regarding Koichi Ko’s Oct. 28 article, “Be careful not to bend your gender in Japanese“: While this is certainly a good article, as usual, I’m a bit bemused by the lack of acknowledgment that, at least in Kansai, wa is used almost as much by men as it is by women at the end of sentences. I guess I should tell all my friends up here in the Tajima region of Hyogo Prefecture that they talk like girls — according to an article written in English by somebody probably in Tokyo. I’m sure that’ll make them feel fantastic, or at least reinforce the fact that Kanto and Kinki’s long-standing cultural rivalry is as alive as ever.

I’m teasing, of course, but I think it’s worthwhile to help readers along with maybe at least a hint of the large regional variations that may diverge from hyojungo’s (the standard language’s) lovely milquetoast blanket of Kanto-ish generality, especially a regional variation as enormous and important as the Kansai dialect in general and its regional mutations. I know some hardcore dudes who occasionally end their sentences or outbursts with “wa” such as after a grueling soccer practice. There is the exhausted mutter “erai wa” or, after a mistake in sports, the exclamation “akan wa!,” often said in a loud and decidedly unfeminine holler of frustration and regret.

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