Photo: a scene from the event.

Language education is a highly contested arena within any nation and one that arouses an array of sentiments and identity conflicts. Lively discussion developed in the Q & A session of a book launch event of “Foreign Language Education in Japan: Qualitative Approaches” edited by Sachiko Horiguchi, Yuki Imoto, and Gregory S. Poole. The event was organized by the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS) and held on February 1 at TUJ Mita Hall.

Gregory S. Poole (professor, Doshisha University) moderated the first panel session with Tiina Matikainen (instructor, International Christian University), Rieko Matsuoka (professor, National College of Nursing), and Patrick R. Rosenkjar (TUJ professor). Each shared challenges and issues they encountered in the course of their research.

Photo of panel discussion by Sachiko Horiguchi, Akiko Katayama, Gregory S. Poole, and Yuki Imoto.
From left: Sachiko Horiguchi (TUJ), Akiko Katayama (The University of Tokyo), Gregory S. Poole (Doshisha University), and Yuki Imoto (Keio University) *affiliation at the time of the event

Yuki Imoto (assistant professor, Keio University) moderated the following panel session with Akiko Katayama (project assistant professor, The University of Tokyo), Poole, and Sachiko Horiguchi (TUJ assistant professor) presenting their approaches focusing on classrooms and institutions. Poole and Horiguchi explained the joys and tensions of doing collaborative ethnographic research. Katayama shared her results and strategies for qualitative research on students’ pronunciation in university classrooms.

In the Q & A session, guests raised a number of insightful questions and issues. Poole pointed out the exclusivity of English when people speak of “global” in Japan, to which one of the guests responded that French and other languages are no longer influential working languages. The hegemony of English was discussed and a wide range of views were exchanged.

This book project originally developed from a panel discussion “Changes and Continuities in Japanese Educational Institutions: Foreign Language Education and the Discourses of Multi-Culturalism” organized by Imoto and Horiguchi for the Anthropology of Japan in Japan annual conference held at TUJ in 2009. This book launch event also served as a reunion for three of the panelists who received doctoral degrees at TUJ: Katayama, Matikainen, and Matsuoka.

Photo of panel discussion by Patrick R. Rosenkjar, Rieko Matsuoka, Tiina Matikainen, and Gregory S. Poole.
From left: Patrick R. Rosenkjar (TUJ), Rieko Matsuoka (National College of Nursing), Tiina Matikainen (International Christian University), and Gregory S. Poole (Doshisha University) *affiliation at the time of the event


*affiliation at the time of the event

  • Patrick R. Rosenkjar (professor, English Education, Temple University, Japan Campus)
  • Gregory S. Poole (professor of sociocultural anthropology and dean, Institute for the Liberal Arts, Doshisha University)
  • Rieko Matsuoka (professor, National College of Nursing)
  • Tiina Matikainen (instructor, English for Liberal Arts Program, College of Liberal Arts, International Christian University)
  • Sachiko Horiguchi (assistant professor of anthropology, Temple University, Japan Campus)
  • Akiko Katayama (project assistant professor, Center for Global Communication Strategies, College of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo)
  • Yuki Imoto (assistant professor, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Foreign Languages and Liberal Arts, Keio University)

About ICAS

The Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS) provides a platform for scholars worldwide to present their studies and facilitate academic discussions. It hosts over 30 public lectures and symposia each year. Lecture topics—focusing on contemporary Asia as well as American related affairs—range from politics, economy, and foreign and military affairs, to cinema and pop culture. In addition, ICAS invites undergraduate/graduate students from overseas as summer interns. Interns work as research associates with faculty members at Temple University, Japan Campus.

For upcoming events please see the ICAS website: