Language and Citizenship in Japan  book cover
1st Edition

Language and Citizenship in Japan

Edited By

Nanette Gottlieb

ISBN 9780415897228
Published November 18, 2011 by Routledge
252 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The relationship between language and citizenship in Japan has traditionally been regarded as a fixed tripartite: ‘Japanese citizenship’ means ‘Japanese ethnicity,’ which in turn means ‘Japanese as one’s first language.’ Historically, most non-Japanese who have chosen to take out citizenship have been members of the ‘oldcomer’ Chinese and Korean communities, born and raised in Japan. But this is changing: the last three decades have seen an influx of ‘newcomer’ economic migrants from a wide range of countries, many of whom choose to stay. The likelihood that they will apply for citizenship, to access the benefits it confers, means that citizenship and ethnicity can no longer be assumed to be synonyms in Japan.

This is an important change for national discourse on cohesive communities. This book’s chapters discuss discourses, educational practices, and local linguistic practices which call into question the accepted view of the language-citizenship nexus in lived contexts of both existing Japanese citizens and potential future citizens. Through an examination of key themes relating both to newcomers and to an older group of citizens whose language practices have been shaped by historical forces, these essays highlight the fluid relationship of language and citizenship in the Japanese context.

Table of Contents

1. Language, citizenship, and identity in Japan Nanette Gottlieb  2. After homogeneity: maintaining unity in a linguistically diversifying Japan Patrick Heinrich  3. ‘It’s better if they speak broken Japanese’: Language as a pathway or an obstacle to citizenship in Japan? Chris Burgess  4. Languages and citizenship in education: Migrant languages in government schools Kaori H. Okano  5. Children Crossing Borders and their citizenship in Japan| Ikuo Kawakami  6. Remedial language education and citizenship: Examining the JSL classroom as an ethnic project Robert Moorehead  7. Gender capital and the educated citizen: Japanese mothers speaking of language acquisition and education for foreign children Genaro Castro-Vázquez  8. Cultural citizenship and the hierarchy of foreign languages: Japanese Brazilians' views on the status of English and Portuguese in Japan Ernani Oda  9. Language rights of non-Japanese defendants in Japanese criminal courts
Ikuko Nakane  10. English is my home: Citizenship, language, and identity in the Ogasawara Islands David Chapman and Daniel Long  11. Multilingual or Easy Japanese? Promoting citizenship via local government websites Tessa Carroll

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Nanette Gottlieb is Professor of Japanese Studies in the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland.