Becoming International in Japan

Class, Ethnicity and Early Childhood Education

By Yuki Imoto

© 2016 – Routledge

240 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415506137
pub: 2016-07-31

About the Book

International pre-schools in Japan are a growing phenomenon, used by parents who are keen to ensure that their children are fluent in English and at home with Western culture, thereby preparing their children for, as the parents see it, future success. This book, based on extensive original research, examines international pre-schools in Japan. It discusses the motivation of parents, teachers and others involved, and shows how international pre-schools exemplify a tension within Japanese society more widely concerning the extent to which Japan should internationalise, a tension which often becomes acute for international pre-school children as they reach the age of compulsory education and their lack of "Japaneseness" in relation to children who have not been to international pre-schools becomes apparent.

Table of Contents

1. 'English fever' and the International Preschool Boom 2. Discourses of Internationalism and Debates of Childhood 3. The Production of International Preschools 4. Identifying the 'International' Teachers 5. Intaa Mama?: Choosing an International Preschool 6. Socializing an 'International Child': the Organization and Everyday Practices of an International Preschool 7. Strategizing Class: Paths after Preschool 8. Making Sense of Diversity: Changes and Continuities in 'Japanese' Identity

About the Author

Yuki Imoto is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Science and Technology/Research Centre for Liberal Arts, Keio University, Japan.

About the Series

Japan Anthropology Workshop Series

Editorial Board:
Pamela Asquith, University of Alberta
Eyal Ben Ari, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Hirochika Nakamaki, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka

Kirsten Refsing, University of Copenhagen
Wendy Smith, Monash University

Founder Member of the Editorial Board:
Jan van Bremen, University of Leiden

Routledge is very proud to be publishing this important series, which has already signed up a good list of high quality books on interesting topics, and has a truly international range of authors and editors.

A key aim of the series is to present studies that offer a deep understanding of aspects of Japanese society and culture to offset the impression of constant change and frivolity that so tempts the mass media around the world.  Living in Japan brings anyone into contact with the fervent mood of change, and former residents from many other countries enjoy reading about their temporary home, but there is a demand also to penetrate less obvious elements of this temporary life.  Anthropologists specialise in digging beneath the surface, in peeling off and examining layers of cultural wrapping, and in gaining an understanding of language and communication that goes beyond formal presentation and informal frolicking.  This series will help to open the eyes of readers around the world from many backgrounds to the work of these diligent anthropologists researching the social life of Japan.

Submissions from prospective authors are welcomed, and enquiries should be sent in the first instance to the series editor Professor Joy Hendry (

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General