Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Media & Communication; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Lisa Holderman

Second Advisor

Alan Powell


A Silent Voice, a Japanese film released in 2016, serves as an example of how deaf communities in media can be more accurately portrayed.

Semiotics, the study of how we assign and derive meaning from language, images, and cultural phenomenon, often overlaps with film analysis and representational studies. These three fields are inherently interrelated in the power of film in conveying messages about an issue, location, or group to a wide audience. Too often, inaccurate portrayals of minority groups in film lead these groups to be simplified culturally, fostering misunderstanding and conflict between groups. Just one group that is often inaccurately portrayed but rarely covered in academia is the representation of deaf and hard of hearing communities in film. This paper undergoes a semiotic analysis of the 2016 Japanese film A Silent Voice, illustrating that the animation, personality, and story of its deaf character Shōko Nishimiya combat the stereotypes and tropes often imposed onto these characters.