University of Pittsburgh
March 31, 2004

The Burikko Is Sugar and Spice and Exceedingly Nice

April 9 lecture to explore the significance of the burikko in Japanese culture and gender ideology
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—She is extremely girlish and cute with a demeanor and voice as sweet as honey. She is a burikko, a staple of Japanese culture known for her feigned innocence. In an April 9 lecture, titled "A Cute Artificer Known as the Burikko," Laura Miller, associate professor of anthropology at Loyola University Chicago, will examine the folk perceptions and media representations of the burikko. The lecture will be held at noon in 4D56 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland.

Though the burikko's bogus innocence is frequently the object of ridicule, Miller will explain how the enactment of an adorable childlike persona reflects cherished feminine traits reified in longstanding gender ideology. Miller's lecture also will include an analysis of the ways in which burikko-types are characterized by a combination of vocal drag, baby talk, and other performative displays.

Miller received the Ph.D. degree in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. With research interests including linguistic ideology, interethnic communication, applied linguistics, folk models, popular culture, and gender representations in media and language, she specializes in linguistics and Japanese studies. Miller is the president of the East Asia Anthropology Section of the American Anthropological Association and former director and chair of the Midwest Japan Seminar, a regional multidisciplinary research association of university faculty and other scholars with strong Japanese-related interests.

The lecture is sponsored by Pitt's Asian Studies Center within the University Center for International Studies with funding from the Japan Iron and Steel Foundation and Mitsubishi endowments. A light lunch will be provided. For more information, call 412-648-7370 or visit