1st Edition

The Role of English Teaching in Modern Japan
Diversity and multiculturalism through English language education in a globalized era

ISBN 9780415787888
Published December 13, 2016 by Routledge
156 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

The Role of English Teaching in Modern Japan examines the complex nature of Japan’s promotion of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). In globalized societies where people with different native languages communicate through English, multicultural and multilinguistic interactions are widely created. This book takes the opportunity to look at Japan and examines how these multiple realities have affected its English language teaching within the domestic context.

The myth of Japan’s racial and ethnic homogeneity may hinder many Japanese in recognizing realities of its own minority groups such as Ainu, Zainichi Koreans, and Brazilian Japanese, who are in the same EFL classrooms. Acknowledging a variety of English uses and users in Japan, this book emphasizes the influence of Japan’s recent domestic diversity on its EFL curriculum and urges that such changes should be addressed. It suggests new directions for incorporating multicultural perspectives in order to develop English language education in Japan and other Asian contexts where English is often taught as a foreign language. Chapters include:


  • Social, cultural, and political background of Japan’s EFL education
  • Race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism
  • Representations of diversity in Japanese EFL Textbooks
  • Perceptions of English learning and diversity in Japan
  • The role of EFL education in multicultural Japan


Table of Contents

1. Introduction: English from a multicultural approach  2. Social, cultural, and political background of Japan’s EFL education  3. Race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism in the Japanese context  4. Representations of Japan’s diversity in its EFL Textbooks  5. General attitudes toward diversity and multiculturalism  6. Understanding Japan’s internal diversity and multiculturalism  7. Discussion/conclusion: Toward the future role of English teaching in Japan

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Mieko Yamada is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne.