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ERIC Number: ED579355
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 327
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-0-3552-6502-6
Projecting Self and Other through "Akogare" [Desire] among Japanese University Students: The English Language and The Internationalization of Higher Education in a Changing Japan
Nonaka, Chisato
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
"Akogare" [desire] is a Japanese word laden with cultural and emotive values. In the recent TESOL [Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages] studies, "akogare" has been conceptualized to emphasize the Japanese specific desire for English or "the West" in general. This study not only leverages such a conceptualization of "akogare", but also reframes it to highlight the complex and liberating space created by "akogare" where, I argue, individuals can negotiate or even transcend their ethnic, national, racial, gender, or linguistic identities. Using "akogare" as both an analytical lens and focus of investigation, this narrative study examines the field of Japanese higher education (JHE hereafter) in which, over the past few decades, the government has rolled out several large-scale "kokusaika" [internationalization] policies. While billions of yen (=millions in USD) are expended annually for such policies, few studies have yet to determine the actual effects. Moreover, these policies advocate English education (as both a subject and as the medium of instruction) with little reservation, postulating that English is the remedy for all international and global matters. To better understand the current "kokusaika" state of JHE and to reimagine what "kokusaika" should/can look like for Japan in the coming years, I examine the narratives of Japanese university students and faculty members. Specifically, this study focuses on how my study participants (over 200 students, faculty, staff, and other informants from JHE institutions) may perceive "Japaneseness" or "non-Japaneseness" at a given time and space, which has helped render a complex picture of the kokusaika landscape and of Japan at large. Methodologically, online questionnaires, follow-up interviews, and field observations are utilized to weave together threads of stories between and across different types of data. Through the bricolage of narratives, this study presents three major findings. First, it demonstrates how "Japan" or "Japaneseness/non-Japaneseness" is collectively yet divisively imagined/practiced by my study participants. This not only helps raise awareness of the complex "-scapes" of Japan, but also addresses the urgency to create a space for alternatives voices. Second, kokusaika funds are often being allocated to a select few universities while other universities without the necessary means are left out of the kokusaika campaign. By extension, there seem to be have and have-not universities within the kokusaika landscape of Japan and their students are likewise affected. Third, the idea of English in Japan reigns across different academic contexts where it can both foster and obscure one's akogare, even amongst the most well-established scholars in Japan. In this sense, English may be causing turbulence in the traditionally hierarchical system of JHE because one's years of experience or academic integrity and rigor may become less important when his/her English skills are put to the test. Overall, what seems largely absent yet progressively important in today's Japan, particularly in the kokusaika campaign, is a sense of multiplicity. I conclude, therefore, that the ongoing kokusaika campaign should be utilized as a potential and appropriate venue to foster a sense of multiplicity. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A