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ERIC Number: EJ777978
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 109
ISSN: ISSN-0010-4086
"A Nation at Risk" Crosses the Pacific: Transnational Borrowing of the U.S. Crisis Discourse in the Debate on Education Reform in Japan
Takayama, Keita
Comparative Education Review, v51 n4 p423-446 Nov 2007
There are three notable aspects to the recent crisis discourse in Japanese education. First, it is highly questionable whether the current state of Japanese education is deserving of a sensationalist label. Japanese scholars who were dubious of the crisis claim pointed to its highly ideological nature and to the lack of reliable longitudinal data to measure long-term scholastic trends. These voices of skepticism, however, have been muffled in the highly charged atmosphere sparked by the crisis rhetoric. Second, as witnessed in many other nations, the crisis was constructed through the reductive interpretation and selective appropriation of international league tables, namely, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Third, conservative critics of "yutori" reform exacerbated the crisis atmosphere by borrowing the crisis discourse popularized in the United States in the wake of the 1983 landmark report, "A Nation at Risk." They compared the current state of Japanese education under the 2002 "yutori" reform to the alleged crisis experienced by American education at that time and argued that solutions could be derived from America's "successful" school reform since 1983. This article focuses on this third characteristic of the recent crisis discourse in Japanese education, drawing upon the culturalist approach to educational borrowing advanced by Jurgen Schriewer and Gita Steiner-Khamsi as the central analytical framework and combining this with social constructionist theories that define crisis as an ideological construct. In so doing, the author attempts to contribute to the theoretical discussions on educational borrowing by presenting a unique case of externalization that reflects the particular cultural, economic, and political context of Japanese education today. (Contains 11 footnotes.)
University of Chicago Press. Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 877-705-1878; Tel: 773-753-3347; Fax: 877-705-1879; Fax: 773-753-0811; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan; United States
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for International Student Assessment