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English is my home: Citizenship, language, and identity in the Ogasawara Islands

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Abstract

This research is based on analyses of biographical and auto-biographical fieldwork interviews with the descendants of first settlers on Chichijima and archival investigation in Japan and the US. The data discusses the challenges that this history presents to commonly accepted views of citizenship, identity and language in Japan. It also reveals how individuals within this community have responded to the varying experiences of uprootings and regroundings under US and Japanese administration.
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This article examines how female L1-Japanese professors who teach Japanese language and culture on U.S. campuses present their identity in interviews. An analysis of their narratives reveals that they employed various tactics of intersubjectivity, and presented themselves in complex and strategic ways. Their multiple grounds of identity (e.g., they are female, Asian, ethnically Japanese or Korean and Japanese, foreign-born, L1 users of Japanese, LX users of English, and professors of Japanese language and culture) as well as their ideologies on language and identity affected which tactics of intersubjectivity (authorization, authentication, adequation, and/or distinction) they chose to use in their depictions of their identity in the interviews. The article ends with suggestions for how American institutions could be more inclusive of international faculty who might feel little affinity for institutional activities designed for people of color.
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The transformation of the contemporary Japanese writing system stemmed from the simultaneous political and cultural problematizing of so-called kokugo (national language) and kokuji (national script). Debates surrounding the structure and function of the written form of Japanese played an ongoing role in Japanese language reform proposals and policy planning initiated between the mid-1860s and early 1990s. Despite the long history of the debates and the large body of literature treating them, a comprehensive review of the scholarship dealing with the various dimensions of Japanese script reform is currently unavailable. This article provides a detailed overview and analysis of studies of the Japanese script reform debates that utilise contemporary works describing the origins and development of language problems and language rights issues. The article subsequently considers the possibilities for future inquiries involving transnational and post-national aspects of script reform, whilst reflecting on the conspicuously gendered and ethnic dimensions of contemporary Japanese language policy-formulation itself.
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Full-text available
Previous scholarship has assumed a monolingual norm. This norm has been noted across disciplines and societies, where it demands assimilation and language shift. However, socially responsible language scholars have increasingly rejected this norm in favour of renewed interest in language contact, and associated complexity. Many social institutions in which interpreters and translators work in modernist nation states view languages as separate, separable units which come into contact in highly regularised ways and can therefore be highly regulated. I argue instead that a renewed focus on ethics in the study and practice of translation and interpreting involves recognising forms of communication which are increasingly common and diversified due to superdiversity. This paper describes an investigation into multilingual language practices in four changing UK cities, using Linguistic Ethnography. The study’s own approach to ethical practice is first evaluated. I then ask how increased study of multilingualism can contribute to interpreters’ and translators’ work and how this work fits with contemporary patterns of language use, drawing on distinctions between the ethical and moral. I suggest that, whilst translating and interpreting can offer an ethicised approach to language contact, a truly moral approach may require rich understands of contemporary superdiverse societies.
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Reams have been written to question, explore and define 'Japan', 'Japanese culture' and 'the Japanese', both by Japanese scholars and by foreign observers of Japan. Most of it is based on an unwitting existential assumption that 'Japan', 'Japanese culture' and 'the Japanese' are 'things' out there, whose objectively verifiable forms need only be ascertained. Much of the discussion has centred on the specificities of these forms. I submit that this is not a productive approach: that at best, all these discussions and pronouncements of what 'Japan' is, what 'Japanese culture' constitutes, and who 'the Japanese' are, vary in accordance with innumerable and variegated experiences in changing historical circumstances. In mid-20th century sociology and anthropology, facile assumptions were made that society, culture, people, polity and territory were coterminous such that their respective boundaries perfectly coincided. This assumption was created and reaffirmed by structural-functionalist theory which pervaded social sciences of the time. It was thought that each society possesses a unique culture and that society and culture are contained in the political boundaries of the state. Japan was described and analysed on the basis of such a static theory in the early days of postwar Japanese studies. © Cambridge University Press 2009 and Cambridge University Press, 2010.
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The return migration of Latin American nikkeijin to Japan is unprecedented in the country's history. Never has Japan been faced with so many returning Japanese who are so culturally different. Their presence profoundly challenges the country's long-held beliefs about Japanese ethnicity, race, and culture. Although the media are reputed to be the principal agents of social change, their coverage of these nikkeijin immigrants does more to reinforce than challenge traditional Japanese ethnic and cultural assumptions. (Migration, ethnicity, media, Japan)
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This paper compares recent efforts to reduce lone mothers' reliance on cash assistance and support their increased participation in the workforce and economic independence in Japan and the United States. Similar to reforms introduced in the U.S. in 1996, lone mother policies in Japan have been subject to a series of cuts leading to the introduction of time limits and work-related programs in 2002. In this paper, we examine the character of recent welfare reforms in both countries and their implications for lone mothers' welfare and economic independence. Based on Japan's experience and recent lessons from the U.S., we show the limitations of a focus on caseload reduction and work participation rates, and instead highlight the importance of addressing lone mothers' low wages in form of policies for the working poor.
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This book addresses the profound question of mental malaise in its many forms in contemporary Japanese society, focusing on: work, family and youth. The purpose is to provide an analytical, critical account of the social psychological state of the Japanese today, as well as to present possible measures that could contribute to positive outcomes.
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This chapter examines another constraint on a mother's ability to work: the time demands placed on her by the Japanese market for education. This, too, is related to internal labor markets: because graduating from a good school is such an important signal to firms seeking skilled labor, and because workers cannot expect to move easily from one firm to another once they are placed, there is a large premium on getting into the best possible school. Mothers face an insurmountable collective dilemma—as long as some women are boosting, or at least perceived to be boosting, their child's chance of lifetime success, everyone else feels tremendous pressure to do the same. The chapter is organized as follows. The second section gives a general overview of how the privatized education market has developed and how families have responded to the demand for education. The third section deals with the longitudinal trends in household spending on education. The fourth section discusses regional variation in development of the private education market and its relation to the prefectural profiles of female labor participation patterns.