Changes in the usage of the verb ijimeru (to bully) and the noun ijime (bullying) in Japanese news-paper articles were investigated. Full-text searches and postpositional particle analysis were performed on issues of three major Japanese
Changes in the usage of the verb "ijimeru" (to bully) and the noun "ijime" (bullying) in Japanese news-paper articles were investigated. Full-text searches and postpositional particle analysis were performed on issues of three major Japanese newspapers published between 1987 and 2011. The passive form of ijimeru (to bully) was used much more often than was the active form during the entire period investigated. During several specific years, the noun, ijime (bullying), appeared as a subject very frequently, but this trend was not consistent, and the number of articles containing this word decreased in most of the other years. Ijime (bullying)refers to an action that occurs independently of any particular actor. As such, it would be expected to appear frequently during any period of time. However, the word is construed to refer to suffering endured by an unlucky passive victim or to rare events such as natural disasters. The dissociation of the denotation from the actual usage of ijime (bullying) as well as the use of the term ijime (bullying) more generally are discussed from the perspective of social representations.