The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Education Bulletin - Vol.7 Summary

Research Paper

Exploring the Possibility of Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition through Extensive Reading: From results based on extensive reading and vocabulary tests of Japanese graded readers


A study was carried out on university students in the Czech Republic as participants to determine whether incidental vocabulary acquisition occurs through extensive reading when learning Japanese as a second language. Japanese graded readers were used for extensive reading materials. Pre- and postvocabulary tests, questionnaires and interviews were administered. The vocabulary used for the tests was chosen from the readers and other sources. The words the students failed to define correctly in the pretest but did correctly in the post-test were considered to be acquired incidentally through reading, and were analyzed. The results showed more words from the readers were acquired than from other sources. In addition, the words that appeared more frequently were acquired, and more nouns were acquired than verbs and adjectives. There remains room for further inquiry into this topic by using different readers, and by improving the testing procedure.

Research Notes

Developing and Evaluating JF Can-do Indicating Proficiency in Communicative Language Activities
−based on CEFR Illustrative Descriptors (Level A2 and B1)−


Given that there is no common framework for Japanese language proficiency, The Japan Foundation is developing Japanese language proficiency descriptors (“JF Can-do”) based on the CEFR illustrative descriptors. This paper reports on the first stage of the development of JF Can-do (for levels A 2 and B 1) and the evaluation of the descriptions by teachers. The points of the evaluation are as follows : 1) validity of the proficiency level, 2) appropriateness of the language activity category, 3) clarity of descriptions, and 4) ease in visualizing classroom activities. Useful feedback was gained by carrying out the teachers' evaluation in the process of developing JF Can-do that are easy to use in classroom situations. Meanwhile, the results also showed that continued workshops were needed in order for the teachers to fully understand and share the framework.

Research into Japanese Conversation Teaching at Chinese Universities Intermediate and Advanced Classroom Activities and Teacher Awareness


The objective of this research was to evaluate teaching methods for Japanese conversation for nonnative Japanese teachers(NNT). Teachers participating in a pedagogy class were surveyed using a questionnaire and were asked to provide details on their teaching methods and experiences. The research was conducted using Chinese university teachers and took advantage of their collective experience with intermediate and advanced level students. The teachers were surveyed about their objectives, methods and activities with the goal of identifying the most effective teaching activities. In addition, the survey captured information on teaching challenges for Japanese conversation skills and suggestions for effective instructive strategies.
The results showed that NNT believe that commonly used classroom activities such as rote learning, translation and repetition are not always useful for teaching conversation. In addition, teaching obstacles such as comprehension of Japanese thought, learning honorific expressions and vocabulary, motivating students and teaching methods were identified.
Based on the results, suggestions for visiting teacher training were collated.

Vertical Relationships in Japanese Interpersonal Behavior and Pilot Study of Instruction to Improve Deciphering by Foreigners


This paper focuses on Hierarchical Relationship Management (HRM) in certain Japanese language conversation settings. It examines in particular how well non-native learners recognize Japanese speakers' facial expressions, and explores what type of nonverbal channel they use to understand hierarchical relationships among Japanese speakers. It aims to clarify individual differences caused by socio-cultural factors. For this purpose, first, I used a video tape (without voice) of conversation settings containing hierarchical relationships to analyze HRM differences among Japanese native speakers, then the paper surveyed 29 foreign diplomats/civil servants and 39 university students who were learning Japanese without providing recognition methods then analyzed them again after showing them the methods at the end to see and rate the video so that I may analyze their understanding of nonverbal channels, etc. The result shows that there is much confusion in the distinction between “superior” and “another person” where nonverbal channels are frequently observed though there no problem in distinguishing most conversational settings among “friend”. The study further suggests that a recognition method based on Japanese HRM characteristics may decrease such confusion.

Characteristics of Japanese Accent Spoken by Russian Native Speakers and Actual Problems Reported by Japanese Language Teachers: Research on Japanese language teachers in Russian speaking areas

Watanabe Hiromi

Though there is strong demand for phonics teaching in Russia,there have been few studies up to this point focusing on Japanese phonics education for Russian native speakers.
This paper reports on the characteristics of the Japanese accent spoken by Russian native speakers and actual problems of teaching pronunciation. A survey was carried out targeting 13 Japanese native instructors and revealed the followings.
1. Some characteristics in pronunciations by Russian native speakers were newly discovered as follows : “ す ” become “ ず ”, Yōon becomes Chokuon, and there was a strong emphasis on particles.
2. Although the pronunciation guidance is left solely to teacher discretion, they are facing the following challenges : lack of knowledge on the characteristics of Russian influenced pronunciation, instruction methodology, student feelings, and the limitation of time. Based on these findings, this paper proposes current phonics education conditions and problems and emphases for future research.

Practical Reports

Action Report on a Japanese Listening Class of “Moshiokuri” for “Kaigofukushi-shi” (Caregiver) Candidates


In February 2010, The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai provided a follow-up Japanese language program for 34 Indonesian “Kaigofukushi-shi” candidates.
An analysis of the pre-program survey and hearings showed that “Kaigofukushi-shi” candidates had difficulty particularly in understanding “Moshiokuri (oral report at staff meetings before shift)” and reading and writing daily records of their work.So we provided a Japanese listening class for “Moshiokuri” in the program.
In preparation, we recorded and transcribed “Moshiokuri” at a special nursing home for elderly people for three days near The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai, and provided teaching materials based on their transcripts.
The class procedure was as follows :
1 ) Discuss “Moshiokuri” in specific nursing homes,
2 ) Provide example patterns of “Moshiokuri” for greater recognition,
3 ) Listening to “Moshiokuri” taking notes.
At the end of the class, the participants filled out questionnaires and wrote down their workplace patterns of “Moshiokuri”.

Development of "Japanese in Anime & Manga" Website:
Offering Japanese-Language Learning Motivation to Anime & Manga fans


Today, Japanese anime and manga are popular among young people around the world and are motivating many to start learning Japanese. However, many words and phrases in these media are not found in standard textbooks or dictionaries, making it even more difficult for foreigners to understand their contents in Japanese. For these Japanese learners fond of anime and manga, The Japan Foundation, Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai has launched an e-learning site, “Japanese in Anime & Manga”, to help them learn various character / genre-based Japanese expressions found in the media. Basic website development policies are set from needs analysis thus ; (1) Connecting Anime & Manga and Japaneselanguage learning, (2) Making use of perspectives unique to Anime & Manga, (3) Making learning fun and supporting learner autonomy. Since it opened, the website has had over 1,550,000 page views from 168 countries within 8 months. User feedback has helped improve the website.

An assessment Standards and Assessing Performance of Oral Presentation Using Rubrics and Comment Sheets - Applying Can-dos of JF Standard for Japanese-language education


Full Text (PDF:1,000KB)(Japanese)

An assessment of oral presentation was conducted in “Integrated Japanese” in 3 courses of Short- Term Training Program for Foreign Teachers of the Japanese-Language courses. We use Can-dos of JF Standard for Japanese-language Education in designating rubrics and comment sheets which were used in the assessment tasks. This paper reports the process and results of designating and implementing the assessments and discussing issues on designating and conducting a formative assessment. The discussion suggests tips for designating and conducting such assessment. These consider proficiency in Japanese language of trainee-teachers including both holistic and analytic viewpoints in rubrics and comment sheets referencing objective frameworks based on language use and locating sufficient time for postdiscussions.

Assessment Tools Resulting in Student Autonomy
−A Practical Report on the Development of “enTree”, a resource-type material for teaching Japanese and culture in Philippine high schools−

OFUNE Chisato, WAGURI Natsumi, Florinda Amparo A. PALMA GIL, Francesca M. VENTURA

Full Text (PDF:1,952KB)(Japanese)

Following a memorandum issued by the Department of Education of the Philippines, several public high schools in Metro Manila began offering Japanese language classes as an elective in June 2009. The authors of this paper were tasked with the development of a resource-type teaching material to help students achieve communicative competence to cope with the increasing demands of globalization. This teaching material aims to help students “Discover and Fulfill their MISSIONS” in life by enhancing their “Curiosity” and desire for “Self-improvement”. To confirm its effectiveness, students'ability to “reflect”, “monitor learning” and “manage learning records” need to be analyzed. As ordinary tests cannot measure the development of these abilities accurately, the authors developed several assessment tools in response to the nature of their material. Concepts behind these assessment tools, considerations made in their development and feedback from end-users are included in this report.

Role of Meaning of Intensive Training Program for Secondary School Teachers of Japanese Language' for Development Project by the Department of Education in Indonesia


Full Text (PDF:702KB)(Japanese)

This report clarifies the role of ‘The Intensive Training Program for Secondary School Teachers of the Japanese Language from Indonesia’ conducted for five years by The Japan Foundation Japanese Language Institute, Urawa for a development project for Japanese language education at the secondary level conducted by the Department of Education in Indonesia.
After fully reviewing the content and the process of the visitation program according to the objective for its use, we attempted to evaluate the program from the perspectives of improvement of language and communicative proficiency of the participants and the degree of satisfaction of them with the program. The cooperative project conducted between Indonesia and The Japan Foundation has resulted in job development and keeping participants motivated after returning to their home country.


Developing "NIHONG-e-NA": A Portal for Learning Japanese
−for supporting and spreading online Japanese language learning−

TANAKA Tetsuya, HAMADA Morio, MAEDA Sumiko, SUNAMI Hokuto

Full Text (PDF:876KB)(Japanese)

A New Approach to Supporting Japanese Language Teacher Training Programs of Universities in Japan
−A Report of “The Workshop: Experiencing Live Japanese Language Education” designed as part of Exchange Program between Japanese Universities and their Partner Universities Overseas−

IMAI Hisae

Full Text (PDF:824KB)(Japanese)

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