Date of Award

1-1-2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Lakshmanan, Usha

Abstract

In recent years, more groups have been moving from location to location as technological advancements, economic interconnections, and interdependence among nation states have made this movement easier. Within this new environment, identities and nation state affiliations are in flux. These movements have also influenced the process of education. National education systems have been partially globalized through student and teacher mobility, deterritorializing of academic institutions, widespread policy borrowing, teaching English as a foreign/second language, and attempts to enhance the global dimension of curricula at secondary and post-secondary levels. The present study examines the Japanese Brazilian transnational community in Japan to determine whether a case for strong forms of bilingual education can be made in the context of linguistic human rights under Article 27 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Even though, the Japanese government ratified the Covenant in 1979, it has not been properly addressing the issue of bilingualism for linguistic minorities within Japanese society. Therefore, this study uses a general qualitative approach to offer explanations for the current sociohistorical and ethnolinguistic situation facing Japanese Brazilians in Japan. A critical cultural meta-ethnography was chosen for this investigation as it aims to provide an interpretive synthesis of qualitative research and other secondary sources. The contextual situation is explored to understand the development of Japanese Brazilians position both in Japan and in Brazil. First, I explain the development of the concepts linguistic human rights and "Japaneseness" as a racial group. Next, I examine the social, historical, and ethnolinguistic positions of Japan's ethnic and immigrant minorities and the position of their language in the Japanese public educational system in order to consider possible modes of action for educating Japanese Brazilian children. Then, I analyze governmental policies at the national and at the local levels to understand what the government has done to address the issue. I then explore possible grassroots movements' models both within Japan and in other parts of the world in order to make recommendations for language education for Japanese Brazilian children. Finally, I investigate areas for possible future studies.

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