The Self-Other Positioning of International Students in the Japanese University English Language Classroom



Described as ‘a hotbed of innovation and new developments in international academic mobility’ (Knight, 2007, p. 23), the period since the turn of the century has witnessed a remarkable increase in the cross-border movement of individuals in pursuit of educational opportunity. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2011, p. 318) reports that in 2009 ‘almost 3.7 million tertiary students were enrolled outside of their country of citizenship’, a 6 per cent increase on the previous year. Such dramatic flows have been underpinned by increased global competition among universities and national economies, the simultaneous emergence of new educational markets and an increasingly convergent neoliberal discourse of globalization (Yokoyama, 2010).


International Student Language Policy English Teacher English Language Proficiency Japanese Language 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aspinall, R. W. (2010), Education reform in Japan in an era of internationalization and risk. Shiga University Center for Risk Research Discussion Paper Series, A-3, 1–20.Google Scholar
  2. Befu, H. (1993), Nationalisms and nihonjinron. In H. Befu (Ed.), Cultural nationalism in East Asia: Representation and identity (pp. 107–135). University of California Institute of East Asian Studies Research Papers and Policy Studies (no. 39): Oakland, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  3. Breaden, J. (2012), Internationalisation and paternalist micro-management in a Japanese university. Japanese Studies, 32 (1), 21–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Breaden, J. (2013), The organisational dynamics of university reform in Japan: International inside out. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, L., & Jones, I. (2011), Encounters with racism and the international student experience. Studies in Higher Education, 38 (7), 1004–1019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burgess, C. (2010, March 23), Higher education: Opening up or closing in? Contradictory reform goals could scotch chances of success. The Japan Times. [Date accessed: 4 December 2014].Google Scholar
  7. Cushner, K., & Karim, A. (2004), Study abroad at the university level. In D. Landis, J. Bennett & M. Bennett (Eds), Handbook of intercultural training (pp. 289–308). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Davies, B., & Harré, R. (1990), Positioning: The discursive production of selves. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 20 (1), 43–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Education Rebuilding Council (2013), University education and global human resource development for the future (third proposal). [Date accessed: 4 December 2014].Google Scholar
  10. Eskanadrieh, A., Liu, Y., Yamashina, H., Kono, K., Arai, A., Lee, R. B., & Tamashiro, H. (2012), Depressive symptoms among international university students in northern Japan: Prevalence and associated factors. Journal of International Health, 27 (2), 165–170.Google Scholar
  11. Hall, I. (1998), Cartels of the mind: Japan’s intellectual closed shop. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  12. Harré, R., Moghaddam., F. M., Cairnie, T. P., Rothbart, D., & Sabat, S. R. (2009), Recent advances in positioning theory. Theory & Psychology, 19 (1), 5–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hashimoto, K. (2000), Internationalisation is Japanisation: Japan’s foreign language education and national identity. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 21 (1), 39–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hashimoto, K. (2013), ‘English-only’, but not a medium-of-instruction policy: The Japanese way of internationalising education for both domestic and overseas students. Current Issues in Language Planning, 14(1), 16–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hendrickson, B., Rosen, D., & Aune, R. K. (2011), An Analysis of friendship networks, social connectedness, homesickness, and satisfaction levels of international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35 (3), 281–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hino, N. (2009), The teaching of English as an international language in Japan: An answer to the dilemma of indigenous values and global needs in the expanding circle. AILA Review, 22, 103–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hori, T., Tachikawa, H., Ishii, T., Shimada, N., Takemori, T., Lebowitz, A., & Asadas, T. (2012), An analysis of mental disorders of international students visiting the Mental Health Service at Tsukuba University Health Center. Seishin Shinkeigaku Zasshi, 114 (1), 3–12.Google Scholar
  18. Hsiao-Ying, T. (1995), Sojourner adjustment: The case of foreigners in Japan. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 26 (5), 525–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ishikawa, M. (2011), Redefining internationalization in higher education: Global 30 and the making of global universities in Japan. In D. B. Willis & J. Rappleye (Eds), Reimaging Japanese education: Borders, transfers, circulations, and the comparative (pp. 193–224). Oxford: Symposium Books.Google Scholar
  20. Iwasaki, N. (2013), Getting over the hedge: Acquisition of mitigating language in L2 Japanese. In C. Kinginger (Ed.), Social and cultural aspects of language learning in study abroad (pp. 239–268). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Co.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kim, Y. Y. (2008), Intercultural personhood: Globalization and a way of being. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32 (4), 359–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. King, J. (2013), Silence in the second language classrooms of Japanese universities. Applied Linguistics, 34 (3), 325–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Knight. J (2007), Cross-border tertiary education: An introduction. In S. VincentLancrin (Ed.), Cross-border tertiary education: A way towards capacity development (pp. 21–44). Paris: OECD Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kobayashi, Y. (2011), Global Englishes and the discourse on Japaneseness. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 32 (1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kraus, W. (2013), The quest for a third space: Heterotopic self-positioning and narrative identity. In C. Holler & M. Klepper (Eds), Rethinking narrative identity: Persona and perspective (pp. 69–83). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Co.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Maruyama, M. (1998), Cross-cultural adaptation and host environment: A study of international students in Japan. Unpublished PhD dissertation, The University of Oklahoma, OK: United States of America.Google Scholar
  27. McConnell, D. L. (2000), Importing diversity: Inside Japan’s JET program. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  28. McVeigh, B. (2002), Japanese higher education as myth. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  29. Miller, R. A. (1982), Japan’s modern myth. New York: Weatherhill.Google Scholar
  30. Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (2006). Global economic strategy. [Date accessed: 4 December 2014].Google Scholar
  31. Murphy-Shigematsu, S. (2002), Psychological barriers for international students in Japan. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 24 (1), 19–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2011), Education at a glance 2011: OECD indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  33. Pyle, K. B. (1996), The Japanese question: Power and purpose in a new era. Washington, DC: AEI Press.Google Scholar
  34. Rivers, D. J. (2010), Ideologies of internationalisation and the treatment of diversity within Japanese higher education. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 32 (5), 441–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rivers, D. J. (2011), Japanese national identification and English language learn- ing processes. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35 (2), 111–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rivers, D. J. (2012), Modeling the perceived value of compulsory English language education in undergraduate non-language majors of Japanese nationality. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 33 (3), 251–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Scott, S. (2013), Student seeking Kyoto flat told: No foreigners allowed. The Japan Times. [Date accessed: 4 December 2014].Google Scholar
  38. Siegal, M. (1994), Looking East: Learning Japanese as a second language in Japan and the interaction of race, gender and social context. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, University of California, Berkley, CA: United States of America.Google Scholar
  39. Smelser, N. J. (1997), Problematics of sociology. Berkley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  40. Stegewerns, D. (2003), Nationalism and internationalism in imperial Japan. London: Routledge Curzon.Google Scholar
  41. Tanaka, T., Takai, J., Koyama, T., & Fujihara, T. (1994), Adjustment patterns of international students in Japan. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 18 (1), 55–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. The Council for the Asian Gateway Initiative (2007), Asian gateway initiative. Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet. [Date accessed: 4 December 2014].Google Scholar
  43. World Education Services (2007), International student mobility: Patterns and trends. [Date accessed 4 December 2014].Google Scholar
  44. Yokoyama, K. (2010), Government, policy, and ideology: Higher education’s changing boundaries in two island kingdoms–Japan and England. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Damian J. Rivers 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Future University HakodateJapan

Personalised recommendations