JapanInterdependence / Amae “...a complex web of mutual obligations and responsibilities...”Indicated and supported through verbal & non- (Rohlen, LeTendre, 1996: 119),verbal communication.
• The word entered the Japanese lexicon in the 1970sReturnee / Kikokusei Kikokushijo帰国生 帰 国 子 女 return country girl boy/child • Criteria differ across governmental departments & educational facilities • Only commonality is the lack of agency in the sojourn
The Returnee Problem /帰国生 問題 "When Japanese leave Japan, their membership is suspended. Every year they are away, re-entry as Ambassadors members of the group ... becomes more difﬁcult. It is particularly difﬁcult if after reentry Victims they betray their exposure to foreign ways, which reminds others of the severing of bonds. Privileged Elite Re-entry raises questions of identity that can be silenced only by strict conformity and virtual denial of the foreign experience." Ching Lin Pang. 2000: 171
Returnee / Kikokusei 帰国生• Acquire the communicative norms of the host country/countries Direct/Indirect styles Eye contact• Perceived ﬂuency & native-like pronunciation• International perspective, ‘critical’ of ‘home’ country
The Returnee Problem /帰国生 問題• Social “Can’t read the air” (Kejime) Relationships & Language• Education Expectations English Ability Japanese Ability Different learning styles• Nationality / Labels Kanno - differentiated reintegration & assimilation
The Returnee Problem /帰国生 問題 • Educational programmes 1980s • Readjustment - Japanese society • Remedial - Japanese Language ‘peeling off the foreignness ひらがな (gaikoku hagashi) カタカナ 漢字 Romanji
The StudyAims What role(s) does English play for Returnees? What does it mean to the individual? How is it perceived collectively? Is English ability more symbolic or practical?
Website & Online questionnaire English & 日本語 1 Former Students Returnee Schools Multiple choice / Likert scale Social Networks Sentence completion 2 18+ Participants self-labelled Researcher as removed Anonymous as possible Voluntary Open-ended questions for qualitative responsesThe Study Method
Usage• Usage Groups 15% 5% RL2 JL2 NL2 80%• Native Users 5% Native User as Optimal Native-like proﬁciency 22% for Improvement is important Agree Agree Disagree Disagree 78% 95%
Utility & Advantage• Exams & Education English is just a tool to pass entrance exams for universities for kikokusei.... they can take exams much easier than normal high school students have to take.• Jobs & International Business For me, English is a capital to surpass my competitors in different occasions of society. Ability to speak English is highly valued in Japanese society, but not all English learners can obtain that.
English in the Japanese Institution• English needs to be objective and quantiﬁable.• The “educatio-examination system” (Mc Veigh. 2002)• Tests become ordinary educational activities and are accepted as the norm. (Horio. 1988. O’Donnell. 2005)
Internationalism & Transformation• For me English is... ... a thing that connects me with other cultures. ... a language that completely changed my life by letting me see the whole wide world. ... a language tool and something which keeps me international than being national. Whenever I speak English, it is a great chance to express my ideas which could not be expressed in my mother-tongue
English & Internationalism• Foreign Teachers - JET, ALTs• Foreign Students• Study abroad programmes• International Studies• An international person is ‘someone who interacts with foreigners in a natural way but does not forget that he is Japanese’ (Ching Lin Pang. 2000)
Identity• For me English is... • For Kikokusei, English is... ... a necessity. One key factor that sets ... part of who I am us apart from other students. ... one of the parts of my identity. When I speak English, I feel like I am different from me speaking Japanese ... it is part of who I am. English helps me express the other part of me that I cannot express in Japanese.
Language as group membership• Kikokusei identity is constantly challenged - Pronunciation, Reticence.• Their identity is unique as Kikokusei (Sasagawa, Toyoda & Sakano).• Not unusual or wrong for bilinguals to have different identities in each language. (Pavlenko. 2006.)• The classroom is a compound bilingual space - the languages present should be seen as intertwined not exclusive. (Van der Meiji, Zhao 2010)• Bilingualism should be celebrated not penalised. (Kanno. 2000)
Glocal Teaching. Learner Goals.• Successful bilingual programmes strengthen students’ sense of worth, identity and value of their own culture. (Montero-Sieburth, Perez. 1987)• Labels admit & exclude: TCK, Internationalism, Transcultural/ Transnational• Unique to the context• Unique to the individual