“Making It Your Own by Adapting It to What’s Important to You”: Plurilingual Critical Literacies to Promote L2 Japanese Users’ Sense of Ownership of Japanese

  • Noriko IwasakiEmail author
  • Yuri Kumagai
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 39)


The dichotomy between native speaker (NS) and non-native speaker (NNS) remains ubiquitous across different language-learning contexts despite increasing mobility and multilingualism of society. L2 Japanese learners in particular may find themselves positioned as subordinate to NSs because of the myth of Japan being a homogeneous nation of one race and one language. To help L2 Japanese students counter such positioning and gain a sense of ownership, we implemented “plurilingual critical literacies” in a Japanese language course in the U.S. Critical literacy aims to cultivate students’ awareness that power relationships are at play in language use, and plurilingual pedagogy valorizes students’ multilingual resources. Eleven high-intermediate-level Japanese students mobilized their linguistic and cultural resources to read and discuss authentic texts by transcultural or “culturally mobile” writers (Dagnino 2015). These writers expressed resistance to the status quo and made meaning creatively, as mediators between two languages and cultures. Reading, analyzing, and discussing texts by transcultural writers motivated students to counter ideologies of NS superiority, and to own Japanese in the ways that best suited their transcultural identities.


Ownership Japanese-as-a-foreign-language Critical literacy Transcultural writer Plurilingualism Translanguaging 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Japanese StudiesNanzan UniversityNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Department of East Asian Languages and LiteraturesSmith CollegeNorthamptonUSA

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