Today I would like to introduce a source of reading practice outside of novels, youtube channels with subtitles! The first channel I would like to introduce in this series of post is かずえちゃん.
Subtitles can be a great way to practice reading while reinforcing pronunciation and listening practice at the same time! I often look for good quality Japanese subtitles when I am searching for Japanese media to watch online.
かずえちゃん is a channel that involves different videos pertaining to gender, sexuality, and relationships. A good chunk of his channel is dedicated to interviewing individuals or couples from the Japanese LGBT community, asking them to share their experiences. These topics will go into their perception of how they thought others would view them, ‘coming out’, and their current life styles.
Personally, I LOVE watching interviews and hearing people share their personal story. So, I watch this channel each time a new video comes out.
Do all of the videos have subtitles?
While the older videos do not seem to have subtitles, the videos from September 2019 do have hard coded Japanese subtitles making them a great resource for language learners.
Quality of the subtitles
The subtitles do not 100% reflect every word that is spoken during the interviews. Unlike in movies or dramas, these are interviews with real people who have not practiced how to say their lines clearly. There are some mistakes, or people back tracking… just like in real life. It is a great source for everyday listening, but at the same time it is a good source for reading practice as the subtitles are corrected for grammar and ease of understanding. This could help language learners learn how to express themselves or ask other thoughtful questions.
This channel is a rich source for those who are looking to learn more about gender and sexuality based vocabulary in Japan. I was really interested in their use of English based words that differ from the way they are used in America. While the term ‘non-binary’ is what I am used to as an American, it seems that many people in Japan use the word X gender(Xジェンダー) to refer to people who identify as neither male or female. It seems like this word has somewhat of a long history and its usage goes back to the 1990’s. I will have to look more into the history of this word later to see if it is truly a loan word or a Japanese created English based term. It seems that the LGBT community in Japan tends to use English based loan words when describing their identity such as lesbian(レズビアン) and gay(ゲイ).
An added bonus is that you will be able to see how to interview people in the Japanese language in a way that leads the questioner to feel conformable opening up.
This channel will give you a good knowledge base to have some idea of what the LGBT movement is like in Japan. Many people go into great detail of their childhoods, explaining how LGBT were shown in past media, their fears, and ultimately what it was like coming to family and/or friends. In my experience, even now people in the Japanese LGBT culture are not as out about their identities as Americans and other Western countries. While they do not have the anti-gay religious background that many countries do, Japan as a whole still has strict cultural norms that people are expected to adhere to. Gay marriage is currently not legal in Japan, but the movement to change this seems to be growing stronger.
This is a great channel to hear real life stories and experiences of Japanese people. Most of the interviews involve people living in various parts of Japan. I am really inspired by the courage of those who are able to share their story in such a public way while living in a conservative country.
かずえちゃん, thank you for the wonderful interviews and great subtitles!