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ERIC Number: EJ777985
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0010-4086
Blood Relatives: Language, Immigration, and Education of Ethnic Returnees in Germany and Japan
Ortloff, Debora Hinderliter; Frey, Christopher J.
Comparative Education Review, v51 n4 p447-470 Nov 2007
Since 1989, large numbers of "ethnic returnees" have settled in Germany and Japan. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, 2.8 million "Aussiedler," or ethnic German returnees, came to Germany from the former Soviet Union. In Japan, immigration reform driven by low-skill labor shortages induced nearly 300,000 "Nikkeijin," or people of Japanese descent, to come from South America in the 1990s. This article analyzes the development of language education at the local and national level for the "Aussiedler" and "Nikkeijin" since 1989. In particular, the authors investigate how the policy makers and educators have problematized the returnees and in what ways discourses of national identity, citizenship, and belonging have (not) adapted to the slow integrations of the "Aussiedler" and "Nikkeijin" into the larger German and Japanese communities. The return of large numbers of "Aussiedler" and "Nikkeijin" to Germany and Japan, respectively, in the 1990s challenged the foundations of ethnic identity in both countries. The development of language education policies for the returnees over the past 15 years also illustrates how national and local officials have problematized return migration and how notions of multiculturalism and national identity have evolved. The authors' analysis of these policies suggests that the comprehensive national policy framework in Germany has not resulted in substantially better outcomes for the "Aussiedler" than the local and nongovernmental implementation framework they found in Japan. Further, the authors show that in the case of "Aussiedler" and the "Nikkeijin," whose heritage are tied to the notion of Germanness and Japaneseness, respectively, the returnees' inability to speak their ancestral language is consistently offered as the primary reason for their lack of integration. (Contains 4 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 - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany; Japan