Japanese New Words and Japanese Society in the COVID-19 Era
New words can immediately reflect the present state of a specific society and express it. The purpose of this paper was to understand Japanese society amid the COVID-19 pandemic through new words.
Analysis targets were articles introducing new words related to COVID-19 in Japan, COVID-19-related newspaper articles retrieved July 5-31, and COVID-19 related posts on Twitter. In these analyses targets, new words related to COVID-19 were collected and analyzed. The results are as follow. A total of 107 new words were observed. Among them, approximately 70% were created because of the need to refer to newly created objects and phenomena.
This paper focused on the remaining 30% that a new word created by the government and a new word made by the Japanese citizens. Also analyzed the meaning, intention, and characteristics of each new word.
It was possible to infer the Abe government’s attitude toward COVID-19 and Japanese citizens’ evaluation of this through a new word. Summarizing the results, The Abe government practiced measures to counter COVID-19 by coining the new words; ‘Three Cs’, ‘Nonessential outings’, ‘Go To Travel’, ‘Go To Eat Campaign’, and ‘Tokyo Alert'. Against this, the Japanese citizens expressed their anger with a new word; ‘Shukinpei (集 近閉)’, adding a satirical element to the ‘Nonessential outings’, ‘Go To trouble, Go To Corona Infection Campaign, Go To Murder Campaign, Go To interests, Go To Hell, Go To Cancel’ and ‘Abenomask, Abenogenocide, Abeka (アベ禍)’, not only criticized the policy but the new words created by the government indicated how the Abe government responded to COVID-19. The result of the response was known through a new word made created the Japanese citizens.