Rethinking Language and Culture in Japanese Education Beyond the Standard Edited by: Shinji Sato, Neriko Musha Doerr

Hardback - 280 pages
Related Formats:
01 Apr 2014
Multilingual Matters
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148


How does language or culture come to be standardized to the degree that it is considered 'homogeneous'? How does teaching language relate to such standardization processes? How can teaching be mindful of the standardization processes that potentially involve power relations? Focusing on the case of Japanese, which is often viewed as homogenous in terms of language and culture, this volume explores these questions in a wide range of contexts: the notions of translation and modernity, the ideologies of the standardization of regional dialects in Japan, current practices in college Japanese-as-a- Foreign-Language classrooms in the United States, discourses in journals of Japanese language education, and classroom practices in nursery and primary schools in Japan. This volume’s investigation of standardization processes of Japanese language and culture addresses the intersections of theoretical and practical concerns of researchers and educators that are often overlooked.


This is a fascinating original study of the politics involved in standardizing Japanese language. It is the first to jointly examine Japanese language education for 'native' speakers (kokugo) and for 'non-native' speakers. Its interdisciplinary approach makes the book enlightening for anyone interested in language, education, or Japanese society.

- Kaori H. Okano, La Trobe University, Australia

A must-read book for Japanese and other language educators. This book makes language educators, myself included, face the nature of our profession, which, whether we like it or not, cannot escape from being involved in ideologies and politics. The book asks us to examine our accountability as intermediaries between the 'language' and learners, who regularly (and often without much thought) make choices about the 'language' for the learners.

- Chihiro Kinoshita Thomson, University of New South Wales, Australia

Author Biography:

Shinji Sato is Senior Lecturer and Director of the Japanese Language Program, Department of East Asian Studies, Princeton University, USA. His research interests include language policy and teaching and the critical examination of commonplace ideas in language education.

Neriko Musha Doerr teaches at Salameno School of American and International Studies, Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA. Her research interests include bilingual and heritage language education and the anthropology of education.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

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