A New Meaning of Mental Health in Japanese Net World

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 15:15
Location: Hörsaal 24 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Gentaro KATO, Otemon University, Japan
This presentation focuses on the shift of the usage and the meaning of the words on mental health. Generally, ill health can be a reason of removing love interest in others. However, some exceptional discourses have become known in Japanese net world.

Menhera is a net slung that indicates people who needs some mental health care. It is a compound word that consists of mental, health and a suffix, er. Originally, people who may come to BBS about mental health were called as menheraa(men-heal-er). Later, it changes to shorter and menhera is sometimes used as a kind of discriminative words. However, only recently, we come across menhera as some positive meanings, for example kawaii(pretty, lovely).

In parallel with it, a typology of girl characters becomes popular. It categorizes girl characters of games, especially dating simulation games, animations and sometimes every girls and women in a positive sense or as an attractive point. Yandere is a type of the girl who has a disposition of blind love sometimes to the degree of mental disease. In a precise sense, manhera and yandere are different: menhera is narcissistic personality and yandere is borderline personality. However, these two words are the most distinctive on the change of the meaning about mental health and disease.

It has been often said that their dependency on lover sometimes can be attractive and menhera/yandere oriented is a kind of projection for the person who has been impossible of achievement in love or human relationship. However, not only within boys’ eye to girls, but also this new meaning of mental health spreads to the girl’s fashion and identity. This tendency makes the conventional analysis invalid. We also see bandages and eye patches as fashion items so that we have to reconsider the meaning of health and disease.