Background: The Visagraph II is used to evaluate eye movements made while a subject silently reads one or more standardized paragraphs. The Visagraph II is not currently available for use with Japanese text. This study was designed to: 1) determine the reliability and repeatability of data obtained while native Japanese readers read texts written in Japanese; 2) identify and quantify eye movements made by our subjects when reading exclusively Kana text versus mixed Kanji/Kana text; 3) compare the eye-movement characteristics of native Japanese subjects reading texts translated into Japanese to published normative data from subjects reading text in English.
Methods: Twenty four Japanese foreign students in the United States, who had at least graduated from high school in Japan and currently attended American schools (mainly colleges and English as a Second Language programs), served as subjects. None had ever been diagnosed as reading disabled or dyslexic. Reading material consisted of three Level 1 and three Level 10 paragraphs translated into Japanese by a professional translator.
Results: ANOVA comparisons did not show significant differences between paragraphs. There were more fixations, a shorter span of recognition, longer duration of fixation, and slower reading rate when reading mixed Kanji/Kana texts compared to exclusive Kana. There were more fixations and regressions, longer duration of fixation, and shorter span of recognition with Japanese than English.
Conclusions: The Visagraph II can be used for Japanese readers to evaluate reading performance in Japanese even
though some adjustments might be needed. There are differences in eye movements between reading exclusive Kana
text versus mixed Kanji/Kana text as well as between English and Japanese text.