Language Policy

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 121–142

Ideologies of English in Japan: the perspective of policy and pedagogy

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10993-007-9079-y

Cite this article as:
Seargeant, P. Lang Policy (2008) 7: 121. doi:10.1007/s10993-007-9079-y


This paper examines the ideologies of language which underpin mainstream applied linguistic research and educational policy generation for English language teaching in Japan. Over the last 30 years a burgeoning literature has devoted itself to the task of researching and directing English language education in Japan, but has, by its own admission, had little success in effecting much change in what it perceives as a system incompatible with effective language learning. By surveying prominent academic studies on this topic and analysing these with reference to the policy reforms with which they interact, the paper makes explicit the linguistic and socio-political assumptions upon which this work is based and suggests that a critical awareness of these ideologies can assist in the production of sustainable language regulation.


English language teaching (ELT)Communicative abilityForeign language policyIdeologyInternationalisationJapanPedagogy



Communicative language teaching


English language teaching


Japan Association of Language Teachers


Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program


Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology


Teaching English as a second or foreign language


Teaching English as a foreign language


Test of English as a foreign language


Test of English as an international language

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Language and Communication, Faculty of Education and Language StudiesThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK