Korean in Japan

R. A. Stegemann moogoonghwa at mac.com
Mon Jan 10 22:52:48 UTC 2005

Fellow list members,

In response to Harold's recent article submission:

Assuming that high school enrolment is approximately equal across
schools, the new enrolment in Korean language courses is about 13%.  In
so far as Korea is Japan's closest neighbor it is a fairly substantial
and certainly praiseworthy increase for the high schools involved. Now
lets put things into perspective.

In 2001 there were 4,053, 627 Japanese students enrolled in Japanese
high schools. Dividing this enrolment figure into those provided in the
Asahi Shimbun article yields the following:

Chinese:    0.42%
Korean:     0.17%
French:     0.16%
German:   0.08%
Others:     0.08%      TOTAL:     0.91%

In short, not even 1% of all Japanese high school students are trying
to learn a language other than Japanese and English. If I remember
correctly the number of foreigners living in Japan is somewhat over 1%.
Certainly Koreans are Japan's largest foreign ethnic group.


R. A. Stegemann
EARTH's Manager and HKLNA-Project Director
EARTH - East Asian Research and Translation in Hong Kong
Tel/Fax: 852 2630 0349

p.s. Mostari I have not forgotten you, simply I have a paper to present
on the 16th.

On 10 Jan 2005, at 22:48, Harold F. Schiffman wrote:

>> From Asahi Shimbun
> Korean edges by French in language class
> The Asahi Shimbun
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------
> In what might be seen as a grass-roots good neighbor policy, Korean has
> slipped past French as the second most popular optional language to be
> taught in Japanese high schools.  An Asahi Shimbun survey showed an
> increase of 28 schools in the 2003-04 school year offered the language,
> which is semantically close to Japanese.  A total of 247 public or
> private
> high schools are teaching 6,960 students Korean this year, found the
> December survey that covered the school year ending March 31, 2005.
> English is a compulsory subject at most high schools.
> While the survey did not try to determine reasons for the increase, it
> comes amid rising popularity of things Korean here, from matinee
> heartthrobs to cuisine. The survey showed Chinese topped the list of
> languages, with 481 high schools teaching 17,111 students. Third was
> French with 6,406 students at 231 schools. Fourth was German, with
> 3,397
> students learning at 99 schools.
> The category of ``other languages,'' including Russian and Spanish,
> ranked
> fifth, with 3,379 students at 136 schools.
> In the survey conducted in the previous year by the Ministry of
> Education,
> Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Korean ranked third after
> Chinese
> and French.
> Asked about what students studied, respondents in Yamagata Prefecture
> said
> their students practiced simulating a trip to South Korea. In Kobe,
> schools used animations and pop songs from South Korea as learning
> materials.
> Students in Fukuoka Prefecture cooked Korean food during language
> classes,
> while students in Saga Prefecture practiced Korean traditional musical
> instruments and dance.
> The survey was conducted through boards of education and agencies in
> charge of private high schools at local governments in 47 prefectures
> and
> 13 major cities.(IHT/Asahi: January 10,2005)
> http://www.asahi.com/english/nation/TKY200501100101.html
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