Language and Citizenship in Japan

Language and Citizenship in Japan

by Nanette Gottlieb (Editor)


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The relationship between language and citizenship in Japan has traditionally been regarded as a fixed tripartite: ‘Japanese citizenship’ means ‘Japanese ethnicity,’ which in turn means ‘Japanese as one’s first language.’ Historically, most non-Japanese who have chosen to take out citizenship have been members of the ‘oldcomer’ Chinese and Korean communities, born and raised in Japan. But this is changing: the last three decades have seen an influx of ‘newcomer’ economic migrants from a wide range of countries, many of whom choose to stay. The likelihood that they will apply for citizenship, to access the benefits it confers, means that citizenship and ethnicity can no longer be assumed to be synonyms in Japan.

This is an important change for national discourse on cohesive communities. This book’s chapters discuss discourses, educational practices, and local linguistic practices which call into question the accepted view of the language-citizenship nexus in lived contexts of both existing Japanese citizens and potential future citizens. Through an examination of key themes relating both to newcomers and to an older group of citizens whose language practices have been shaped by historical forces, these essays highlight the fluid relationship of language and citizenship in the Japanese context.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780415897228
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 12/09/2011
Series: Routledge Studies in Sociolinguistics Series
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 0.60(w) x 0.90(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Nanette Gottlieb is Professor of Japanese Studies in the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland.

Table of Contents

Introduction Nanette Gottlieb 1. "It's Better if They Speak Broken Japanese": The Japanese Language as a Pathway or Obstacle to Citizenship? Chris Burgess 2. After Linguistic Homogeneity: Attempts at Redefining Citizenship in a Diversifying Japan Patrick Heinrich 3. Cultural Citizenship and the Hierarchy of Foreign Languages: Japanese Brazilians' Views on the Status of English and Portuguese in Japan Ernani Oda II. Education, Language, and Citizenship 4. Citizenship and Education: Language, Capital, and Gender in the Schooling of Latin American (Im)migrant Children in Japan Genaro Castro-Vazquez 5. Children Crossing Borders and Their Citizenship in Japan Ikuo Kawakami 6. Remedial Language Education and Citizenship: Examining the JSL Classroom as an Ethnic Project Robert Moorehead 7. Language(s) and Citizenship in Education Kaori Okano III. Citizenship and Language Rights 8. Language Rights of Non-Japanese Defendants in Japanese Criminal Courts Ikuko Nakane 9. Aynu itak, Group Membership and Japanese National Citizenship Kylie Martin IV. Citizenship and Local Linguistic Practices 10. "English is my Home": Citizenship, Language, and Identity in the Ogasawara Islands David Chapman and Daniel Long 11. Multilingual or Easy Japanese? Promoting Citizenship via Local Government Websites Tessa Carroll

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