The Evolution of English Language Learners in Japan: Crossing Japan, the West, and South East Asia, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Evolution of English Language Learners in Japan

Crossing Japan, the West, and South East Asia, 1st Edition

By Yoko Kobayashi


144 pages

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pub: 2019-09-30
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This book seeks a better understanding of the sociocultural and ideological factors that influence English study in Japan and study-abroad contexts such as university-bound high schools, female-dominant English classes at college, ESL schools in Canada, and private or university-affiliated ESL programs in Singapore and Malaysia. The discussion is based not only on data garnered from Japanese EFL learners and Japanese/overseas educators but also on official English language policies and commercial magazine discourses about English study for Japanese people. The book addresses seemingly incompatible themes that are either entrenched in or beyond Japan’s EFL context such as: Japan’s decades-long poorly-performing English education vs. its equally long-lived status as an economic power; Japanese English learners’ preference for native English speakers/norms in at-home Japanese EFL contexts vs. their friendship with other Asian students in western study-abroad contexts; Japanese female students’ dream of using English to further their careers vs. Japanese working women’s English study for self-enrichment; Japanese society’s obsession with globalization through English study vs. the Japanese economy sustained by monolingual Japanese businessmen; Japanese business magazines’ frequent cover issues on global business English study vs. Japanese working women’s magazines’ less frequent and markedly feminized discourses about English study.

Table of Contents


List of illustrations

1. Japan’s English education and students’ notions about English study

2. Internationalizing Japan with the help of its Asian neighbors

3. A new alternative of studying English in English-speaking ASEAN nations

4. Japanese female students’ positive attitudes toward language study

5. Japanese (fe)male leaners’ (un)motivation in overseas ESL contexts

6. The mismatch between Japan’s strong economy and poor English education

7. Japanese business magazines’ special issues on English study methods: A window on the division between Japan’s business world and formal schooling

8. Japanese women’s magazines’ articles about English study: A window on Japanese women’s status in the business world



About the Author

Yoko Kobayashi works at Iwate University, Japan. Since the completion of her doctoral dissertation in 2000, she has published her research papers mainly in international journals, and this book aims to raise her research discussion to a new level.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Bilingual Education
EDUCATION / Language Experience Approach
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies