Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


A Study on the Accommodating Linguistic
Strategies Observed in Conversations
between “Okama” Hostesses and Customers


(The Graduate University of Advanced Studies,
School of Cultural and Social Studies, Department of Comparative Studies)

Key words:

“Okama”, Japanese snack bar, Language strategy of service, Politeness

The aim of this study is to analyze the linguistic strategies of so called “Okama” hostesses working at Japanese snack bars. “Okama” are people who are considered biologically born as male but who live (and/or work) as female. Data was collected from recordings of conversations between “Okama” hostesses and customers at the bar. The analysis is based on transcriptions of the recorded conversations and follow-up interviews collected from the participants of the conversations. The results of the analysis revealed some strategies adopted in the conversations. At first, the “Okama” complimented the customers, especially the female customers. Second, they belittled themselves for making customers feel good (to keep their positive face). These politeness strategies are common to female hostesses. The most characteristic aspect of “Okama” hostesses’ conversations was to deliberately mention of their original sex. It is not clear enough to call it a linguistic strategy yet, but it is possible to show how “Okama” hostesses entertain the customers who are not homosexual. Further research is needed to clarify “Okama” hostesses’ linguistic strategies by classification of language expressions.