Subtitled vs. Dubbed Anime: Viewer Perception of Japanese Culture

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Communication


Department of Communication


Committee Chair: Samuel Wallace

Second Advisor

Committee Member: Jason Combs

Third Advisor

Committee Member Joseph M. Valenzano III


Anime, a Japanese form of animation and film, has been globally popular for a period of time. This medium may have allowed cross-cultural learning among viewers through its Japanese cultural context. This study explores if there are indeed any cultural learning effects from consuming either subtitled or dubbed anime, the two common forms of audiovisual translation. Participants (n = 63) were students sampled from a Midwestern university and randomly assigned to three groups: control group, subtitled anime viewers’ group, and dubbed anime viewers’ group. Control group participants did not watch any anime, while the other groups watched one episode of anime with respect to the group they were assigned to. All participants completed the same survey, which was in the form of a knowledge test about Japanese culture. This study used a one-way analysis of variance to compare group differences in their average scores on the survey test. Analyses showed difference in cultural learning between subtitled anime viewers and anime non-viewers, with viewers scoring higher on the test. There are clear inferences that consuming a form of translated foreign media may enhance cross-cultural learning between different peoples. This study argues that globalized foreign media must be given more attention due to its pedagogical importance in terms of cultural communication and learning.


Communication, Education, Mass Media, anime, subtitled, dubbed, education, Japanese culture, cross-cultural learning

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2018, author