English Language Education in Japan

Dr Terutaka Ueno (Visiting Scholar, English, Darwin College),
Dr Masashi Asai (Visiting Scholar, English, St Edmund's College)

Saturday, 22 February, 1997; 7:00-9:00 pm

Seminar room, Darwin College

In the midst of Meiji Restoration, Japan decided to introduce Western civilization and technology in order to preclude colonization and to "catch up with them". The most important means of this introduction was, naturally, the Eurpean languages, English in particular. The Japanese Government introduced English into compulsory education, and since then the majority of Japanese study English for at least 6 years. Teaching English at universities in Japan, however, is a strange experience. After all those years of English learning, many students seem to be fed up with it. Not necessariliy are they bad at it; on the contrary, large proportion of them have an enourmous amount of knowledge. But they are very poorly motivated in studying English any further. Why is this? There is a loud cry for "Globalization" and a necessity of even more (or more effective) learning on the one hand, and some strange (and hidden) reaction, or even animosity, against it on the other. Why is this? And what is the real problem?