Arranging the Identity As “Communication Disorder”

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Gentaro KATO, Otemon Gakuin University, Japan
This presentation focuses on the “communication disorder” in a unique usage among Japanese young people. They often say, for example in a case of self-introduction, “I’m commu-sho.” Commu-sho is an abbreviated word from communication shogai and they use the word very casually. Shogai means a physical obstacle or a kind of barrier; it also includes disability or handicap.
Commu-sho originally indicates real disorders: talking too much to ignore the surroundings, breaking human relations because of their irascibility. Almost all of those who call themselves as commu-sho, however, does not have any experiences of medical or psychiatric diagnostics. They just feel that they may be shy especially to the unfamiliar person and may have a bit difficulty on expressing their intentions.
It can often be seen that Japanese young people sort out a person as a template character, for example, earnest, idiot, incompetence, healing and so on. They are typical characters in animations and games. Young people play the character in their everyday life as they are recognized and they think that the feature of the typical character is their own personal identity. Identifying as communication disorder can be seen as a version of the characterizing. Actually, commu-sho also often appears in many animations.
In the contemporary society, the contingency of reaction in a communication is increasing so that young people try to make it simple on setting some typical characters that have already been seen in media. In other words, arranging their identity can be the reduction of complexity on a symbolic interaction. Setting templates can stabilize the reaction and the expectation of the next reaction and it can also reduce unnecessary troubles and verification processes. This simplification is valuable both to recognize the other and to identify the self and make presentations of self.