Foreign Language Education in Japan

Exploring Qualitative Approaches

  • Sachiko Horiguchi
  • Yuki Imoto
  • Gregory S. Poole

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Sachiko Horiguchi, Yuki Imoto, Gregory S. Poole
    Pages 1-18
  3. Kiri Lee, Neriko Musha Doerr
    Pages 19-34
  4. Thomas Hardy
    Pages 35-49
  5. Akiko Murata
    Pages 51-64
  6. Gregory S. Poole, Hinako Takahashi
    Pages 85-102
  7. Tiina Matikainen
    Pages 103-117
  8. Akiko Katayama
    Pages 119-132
  9. Rieko Matsuoka
    Pages 133-145
  10. Patrick Rosenkjar
    Pages 147-166
  11. Neriko Musha Doerr
    Pages 167-178
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 179-191

About this book


Language education is a highly contested arena within any nation and one that arouses an array of sentiments and identity conflicts. What languages, or what varieties of a language, are to be taught and learned, and how? By whom, for whom, for what purposes and in what contexts? Such questions concern not only policy makers but also teachers, parents, students, as well as businesspeople, politicians, and other social actors. For Japan, a nation state with ideologies of national identity strongly tied to language, these issues have long been of particular concern. This volume presents the cacophony of voices in the field of language education in contemporary Japan, with its focus on English language education. It explores the complex and intricate relationships between the “local” and the “global,” and more specifically the links between the levels of policy, educational institutions, classrooms, and the individual.

In the much-contested field of foreign language teaching in Japan, this book takes the reader directly to the places that really matter. With the help of expert guides in the fields of anthropology, sociology and linguistics, we are invited to join a vital discussion about the potentially revolutionary implications of the Japanese government’s policy of teaching Japanese citizens to not only passively engage with written English texts but to actually use English as a means of global communication.” – Robert Aspinall, PhD (Oxford), Professor, Faculty of Economics, Department of Social Systems, Shiga University, Japan

This insightful book about language education involves different disciplines using ethnographic methods. Both ‘native’ and ‘non-native’ speakers of Japanese (or English) collaboratively examine two different types of qualitative approaches in Japan – the positivistic and the processual. This is a must-have book for researchers and educators of language who are interested in not only Japan but also language education generally.” – Shinji Sato, PhD (Columbia), Director of the Japanese Language Program, Department of East Asian Studies, Princeton University, USA.



Japan language education qualitative approaches globalization identity institutions ethnography

Editors and affiliations

  • Sachiko Horiguchi
    • 1
  • Yuki Imoto
    • 2
  • Gregory S. Poole
    • 3
  1. 1.Temple University Japan CampusTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Keio UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Doshisha UniversityKyotoJapan

Bibliographic information