book notice: Language and Education in Japan: Unequal Access to Bilingualism

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sun Jun 22 15:59:50 UTC 2008

Language and Education in Japan: Unequal Access to Bilingualism
Series: Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities
Published: 2008
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Book URL:

Author: Yasuko Kanno
Hardback: ISBN: 9780230506947 Pages: 224 Price: U.K. £ 45.00

In this first critical ethnography of bilingual education in Japan, Yasuko
Kanno examines the relationship between school education and inequality of
access to bilingualism. She provides detailed and vivid accounts of the
lived experiences of teachers, students and parents at five schools in
Japan: an immersion school, a Chinese ethnic school, an international
school, and two state/'public' schools. Drawing on the concept of imagined
communities, Yasuko Kanno argues that schools provide unequal access to
bilingualism by envisioning different imagined communities for students of
different socioeconomic classes and socializing them into these stratified
imagined communities. While additive bilingualism in two socially
prestigious languages is aggressively promoted for upper-middle-class
students, immigrant and refugee children are subtly coerced into replacing
their first language with society's dominant language.
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