This book is an up-to-date critical examination of schooling in Japan by an expert in this field. It focuses on developments in the last two decades with a particular interest in social justice. Japan has experienced slow economic growth, changed employment practices, population decline, an aging society, and an increasingly multi-ethnic population resulting from migration. It has faced a call to respond to the rhetoric of globalization and to concerns in childhood poverty in the perceived affluence. In education we have seen developments responding to these challenges in national and local educational policies, as well as in school-level practices.
What are the most significant developments in schooling of the last two decades? Why have these developments emerged, and how will they affect youth and society as a whole? How can we best interpret social justice implications of these developments in terms of both distributive justice and the politics of difference? To what extent have the shifts advanced the interests of disadvantaged groups? The book shows that, compared to three decades ago, the system of education increasingly acknowledges the need to address student diversity of all kinds, and delivers options that are more varied and flexible. But interest in social justice in education has tended to centre on distribution of opportunities (who gets how much schooling), with fewer questions raised about the content of schooling that continues to advantage the already advantaged.
Written in a highly accessible style, and aimed at scholars and students in the fields of comparative education, sociology of education and Japanese studies, the book illuminates changing policies and cumulative adjustments in the daily practice of schooling, as well as how various groups in society make sense of these changes.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. History of schooling: Always learning 3. Directions and drivers of change: Reforms in transition 4. Culturally and linguistically diverse minoritized social groups 5. Childhood poverty, gender gap and regional variations 6. The politics of shokuiku, and compulsory school lunch 7. Nonformal education for school-aged children: Supplementary and alternative 8. Conclusions
Kaori H. Okano is Professor of Asian/Japanese Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Her publications include Education in contemporary Japan (1999, with M. Tsuchiya), Minorities and education in multicultural Japan (2012, with R. Tsuneyoshi & S. Boocock), Nonformal education and civil society in Japan (2016), Young women in Japan: Transitions to adulthood (2009), School to work transition in Japan (1993), Rethinking Japanese Studies (2018, with Y. Sugimoto), and Discourse, gender and shifting identities in Japan (2018, with C. Maree).