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I've heard the じょう being pronounced as some kind of voiceless fricative in multiple works of entertainment, especially in the case of 激情. Is it some kind of remnant phoneme from old Japanese or is it just an artistic stylization? I'm pretty sure it doesn't appear in the modern standard phonology, or does it?

Examples on YouTube

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    It's normal that じょう adopts [ʒo] in sequence of phonems. – user4092 Feb 4 '16 at 13:23
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    To me, the ones in the movies sound a normal voiced じょう. – user4092 Feb 5 '16 at 0:59
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    These videos are obviously げきじょう to me, and it is hard to confuse げきじょう with げきしょう. Does it mean natives distinguish in a different way? I am curious. – Keita ODA Feb 7 '16 at 20:00
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激情 should never be pronounced with voiceless fricative like "shou" as you say. If you mouth it "gekishou," it turns out to be 激賞 meaning "high praise," or 劇症 meaning an acute symptom of disease, like fulminant hepatitis.

情 either as its own, or in combined-form like 情熱 (passion)、情緒 (emotion)、熱情 (ardor), 情実 (personal considerations /motives)、情趣 (feeling /atomosphere) must always be pronounced "じょう - jou."

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If you loosen your throat, じょう might turn to しょう as you say. But that has nothing to do with one's style.

edit: じょう as in げきじょう is not easy to deeply pronounce (in fact, しょう as in えきしょう is sharply pronounced with the vowel in き skipped) and it could be physically closer to しょう as in, say, あいしょう rather than average じょう.

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    What do you mean by "deeply pronounce"? – Eiríkr Útlendi Feb 5 '16 at 1:18
  • With your throat tightly closed. – user4092 Feb 5 '16 at 1:19
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I can't really make sense of those videos as げきしょう. (Not an English native speaker, if that may be related.)

That's how the word (and the sequence of phonems, as noted by (user4092) reads in regular speech, not just in songs.

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