The relationship between language and citizenship in Japan has traditionally been regarded as a fixed tripartite: ‘Japanese citizenship’ means ‘Japanese ethnicity,’ which in turn means ‘Japanese as one’s first language.’ Historically, most non-Japanese who have chosen to take out citizenship have been members of the ‘oldcomer’ Chinese and Korean communities, born and raised in Japan. But this is changing: the last three decades have seen an influx of ‘newcomer’ economic migrants from a wide range of countries, many of whom choose to stay. The likelihood that they will apply for citizenship, to access the benefits it confers, means that citizenship and ethnicity can no longer be assumed to be synonyms in Japan.

This is an important change for national discourse on cohesive communities. This book’s chapters discuss discourses, educational practices, and local linguistic practices which call into question the accepted view of the language-citizenship nexus in lived contexts of both existing Japanese citizens and potential future citizens. Through an examination of key themes relating both to newcomers and to an older group of citizens whose language practices have been shaped by historical forces, these essays highlight the fluid relationship of language and citizenship in the Japanese context.

chapter 1|18 pages

Language, Citizenship, and Identity in Japan

ByNanette Gottlieb

chapter 2|18 pages

After Homogeneity

Maintaining Unity in a Linguistically Diversifying Japan
ByPatrick Heinrich

chapter 3|21 pages

‘It's Better If They Speak Broken Japanese'

Language as a Pathway or an Obstacle to Citizenship in Japan?
ByChris Burgess

chapter 4|21 pages

Languages and Citizenship in Education

Migrant Languages in Government Schools
ByKaori H. Okano

chapter 5|19 pages

Children Crossing Borders and Their Citizenship in Japan

ByIkuo Kawakami

chapter 6|19 pages

Remedial Language Education and Citizenship

Examining the JSL Classroom as an Ethnic Project
ByRobert Moorehead

chapter 7|20 pages

Gender Capital and the Educated Citizen

Japanese Mothers Speaking of Language Acquisition and Education for Foreign Children
ByGenaro Castro-Vázquez

chapter 8|18 pages

Cultural Citizenship and the Hierarchy of Foreign Languages

Japanese Brazilians' Views on the Status of English and Portuguese in Japan
ByErnani Oda

chapter 10|18 pages

English Is My Home

Citizenship, Language, and Identity in the Ogasawara Islands
ByDavid Chapman, Daniel Long

chapter 11|24 pages

Multilingual or Easy Japanese?

Promoting Citizenship via Local Government Web Sites
ByTessa Carroll