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Japanese-Language Education Overseas

Country/Region-Specific Japanese-Language Education

Sending Japanese-Language Specialists Overseas

124 Japanese-language specialists in 40 countries

Japanese-language specialists have been sent to many countries to help establish a solid and sustainable base for Japanese-language education. In fiscal 2013, 124 Japanese-language specialists were sent to 40 countries.They work to conduct and improve Japanese-language education in their respective countries and institutions. They train local teachers, help develop the curricula and teaching materials, help teachers to network, and teach Japanese classes.

A Japanese-language specialist in Mexico traveled in and outside the country to hold many training seminars covering Japanese-language teaching methods and the JF Standard. Also, an online course called JA.PRO en línea was conducted for Japanese-language teachers in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean where Japanese-language teaching information is scarce. The course aimed to brush up their Japanese ability and share information on teaching methods.

Through the Internet, JA.PRO connected the classroom to teachers in remote locations and conducted a Japanese course based on the JF Standard. It enabled the local teachers to make announcements and give reports on their training received in Japan. All this was done live online to meet the diverse needs of Japanese-language teachers spread out over the vast area of Central America and the Caribbean.

Photo of Japanese-language specialist in Mexico.
Japanese-language specialist in Mexico.

Japanese-Language Education Support Projects

Sakura Network Expanded to 126 Institutions Worldwide

The JF Nihongo Network (also known as Sakura Network) connects Japanese-language education institutions overseas. It aims to spread the Japanese language and improve Japanese-language education overseas. Network members include overseas Japan Foundation offices as well as institutions (universities) and organizations (Japanese-language teacher associations, etc.) pivotal to spreading the Japanese language locally. The network started in 2008 with 39 institutions in 31 countries. It now has 126 institutions in 47 countries in fiscal 2013.

Members can apply for Sakura Core Project subsidies to implement and support events that spread or develop the Japanese language in their local area. There is also the grant program for Japanese language education activities for countries where there is no Japan Foundation office. Subsidies are provided for purchasing teaching materials, paying teachers, and holding events like speech contests, conferences, and symposiums. Japanese-language education support is thereby tailored to match the needs of the respective country or region.

A Sakura Core Project called the Balkan Peninsula Nihongo Summer Camp was held in Bulgaria in June 2013. The camp had 47 participants from universities in Bulgaria, Turkey, Romania, Serbia, and Macedonia. They learned Japanese as well as Japanese culture such as calligraphy, anime, and manga. It was an invaluable opportunity and experience for them to deepen their understanding of the Japanese language and culture and to meet and study with other Japanese-language students from neighboring countries. We continuously assist widely effective activities such as Sakura Network to help sustain and improve people's motivation to learn Japanese.

Japanese-Language Education for Healthcare Worker Candidates under EPAs

In accordance with Japan's EPAs (Economic Partnership Agreements) with Indonesia and the Philippines, we held the six-month Japanese-language pre-training program in both countries. The trainees were nurse- and care-worker-candidates planning to work in Japan.

The pre-training program taught Japanese language (basic grammar, vocabulary, and conversation) and the basics about Japanese society and customs. After the trainees arrive in Japan and start working at hospitals and nursing facilities, they need to continue studying to pass the national examinations for their vocations while working; efficient self-learning is quite essential for them. The pre-training program helps them study on their own with limited time. Participants learned how to plan, review, and evaluate their own course of self-study in the program.

Cooperation in Japan to Support Japanese-Language Education

Since fiscal 2009, the Japan Foundation has joined hands with Japanese universities that have Japanese-language teacher training programs. University students majoring in Japanese-language education are sent overseas as interns. In fiscal 2013, 346 interns from 43 universities in Japan were sent abroad.

Also, in a related program, undergraduate students from overseas universities that had accepted interns from Japanese universities are invited to be trained at the Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai in Osaka. The Institute provides the invited students a chance to study Japan and the Japanese language. At the same time, it aims to strengthen ties between universities in Japan and overseas. In fiscal 2013, four training sessions were held, twice in summer and once each in autumn and winter. A total of 127 undergraduate students from 25 countries joined the sessions.

Training for Overseas Teachers and Learners

Training for Overseas Teachers (The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa)

In fiscal 2013, our Japanese-Language Institute in Urawa conducted 20 Japanese-language teacher training programs for 511 participants from 60 countries and regions.

The two-month training program was held for the second time in fiscal 2013 for Japanese-language teachers of Japanese descendants (nikkei) in Central and South America at educational institutions offering Japanese-language education programs for nikkei students. It trained nine teachers from Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela. We focused on enhancement of their training courses to better suit their curricula and classes that deal with both Japanese language and culture to a wide range of students from kids to adults.

We conducted Project Work which had the teachers experience Japanese society and culture, gather information, and consider the way to apply what they had gained to their classes in their home countries. In this work they also experienced the cooperative learning with university students.

The teachers also visited Mie Prefecture and Hamamatsu City in Shizuoka Prefecture to observe schools geared for Japanese descendants in Japan. A joint workshop with nikkei teachers' participants of JICA Yokohama's program was also held. Through this program, the teachers evaluated their Japanese-language classes in Central and South America from a new perspective. They also intensified their understanding on the significance of nikkei teachers in education. We hope they continue improving and developing Japanese-language education in their countries.

In Southeast Asian countries, secondary education-level Japanese-language education is greatly progressing. One major goal of the schools there is developing the abilities and skills that tomorrow's society will demand. They include personal growth by self-studying, working with others, thinking on your own, and making presentations. The question on how to realize these goals in practical Japanese-language education is attracting teachers' interest.

In September 2013, we held the Japanese Speakers' Forum 2013 in Urawa jointly with the Kamenori Foundation and focused attention on the issue. It brought together 24 high school students and 11 teachers of secondary education level from Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Japan.

The high school students formed multi-national groups to complete a task related to "Something convenient: its problems and improvements." The students cooperated in their work, held discussions, and presented their results. The teachers observed the students' process and incorporated their findings in teaching plans. We plan to continue holding the Japanese Speakers' Forum with a medium- to long-term vision.

Photo of Japanese Speakers' Forum 2013 (Teachers' program)
"Japanese Speakers' Forum 2013" (Teachers' program)

Training for Overseas Learners (The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai)

Established in 1997 in Osaka, The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai provides program for specialist in cultural and academic fields to overseas whose jobs require professional Japanese-language proficiency and high school and university students learning Japanese overseas. In fiscal 2013, the institute trained 684 people from 104 countries.

Started in 2011 after the Great East Japan Earthquake, the JET memorial invitation program for US High school students brought 32 high school students from all over the U.S. to Japan. They visited Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture and Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate Prefecture, the two cities where two JET Program English teachers from the U.S. lost their lives in the Great East Japan Earthquake tsunami. With the support of the late English teachers' family members and friends, the students participated in "the Japan-America High School Summit in Rikuzen-Takata 2013" and other exchange activities.

In fiscal 2013, we expanded joint activities with other institutions and signed a cooperative pact with Kwansei Gakuin University, joining Wakayama University and Osaka University as cooperative universities. Our trainee students from overseas attended lectures at these universities. Special lectures and study-abroad seminars were also held. We thereby expanded comprehensive programs to introduce the universities and conduct exchange activities. Our training program also included, for the first time, lectures held at the Sakai Municipal Assembly, Kogakkan University, Ise Jingu Shrine, Toshiba Science Museum, OMRON Communication Plaza, and International Research Center for Japanese Studies.

The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai also expanded activities conducted on consignment. One example was the training session in fiscal 2013 held for young people from Qatar sent to Japan by their government. This consignment came about after a Qatar diplomat attended a training session in 2011 for foreign diplomats and government workers. He recommended the Japan Foundation to the Qatar government which then consigned the 2013 youth training session in Japan.

Photo of Visiting Qatar Youth Training group on a field trip to Hiroshima.
Visiting Qatar Youth Training group on a field trip to Hiroshima.