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Japanese-Language Education Overseas

Japanese-Language Education

Sending Japanese-Language Specialists Overseas

126 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 2014, 126 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 curriculam and teaching materials, help teachers to establish a network, and teach Japanese classes.

For example, in Jakarta and Vietnam, specialists conducted workshops on creating teaching materials for a new curriculum. In Bangkok, intensive training co-sponsored by Thailand's education department was held for Japanese-language teachers who were to be hired for public service. And in Cologne, practical training was held for undergraduate students enrolled in a program to soon become the country's first non-native Japanese-language teachers in public education.

Japanese-Language Education Support Projects

Sakura Network with 127 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 has grown to 127 institutions in 47 countries by the end of fiscal 2014.

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.

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 a six-month Japanese-language pre-training program in both countries. The 378 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 arrived in Japan and started working at hospitals and nursing facilities, they had to continue studying to pass the national examination in their respective fields. Therefore, effective self-study habits were essential for them. The pre-training program helped 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.

Photo of Indonesia University of Education
Indonesia University of Education

Photo of International training camp at Jagiellonian University
International training camp at Jagiellonian University

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 2014, 260 interns from 51 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 2014, a training session was held in summer and in autumn. A total of 73 undergraduate students from 24 countries joined the sessions.

Training for Overseas Teachers and Learners

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

In fiscal 2014, our Japanese-Language Institute in Urawa conducted 16 training programs for 498 participants from 53 countries and regions.

The Long-Term Training Program for Foreign Teachers of the Japanese-Language is a six-month training program for young, non-Japanese teachers. In fiscal 2014, 57 teachers from 29 countries and regions participated in this program. Besides learning the Japanese-language and teaching methods, participants also experienced Japanese culture such as shodo calligraphy, tea ceremony, wearing a yukata, and school visitations. They also trained in Nikko and the Kansai Region to learn about the Japanese culture behind the language. Even after completing the training program, the participants have kept in touch with each other through social media to seek advice about Japanese-language education. An international network of Japanese-language teachers is thereby in place.

Many of the Japanese-language teachers who have trained at The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa are working in schools and taking leadership roles in teachers' associations around the world. The Institute is thus highly evaluated overseas as a training center.

The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa's 25th Anniversary

Since its establishment in 1989 in the city of Saitama (formerly Urawa), The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa has trained over 10,000 Japanese-language teachers and developed diverse studying and teaching materials in tune with the times.

For its 25th anniversary in 2014, the Institute held events for local people who have supported and helped us. Japanese-language education symposiums were also held to reflect on our past projects and think about future projects.

On November 29, 2014, together with the Saitama International Association, the Institute held an open house for the public called International Fair @Kita-Urawa 2014. The Institute's activities were explained, and long-term and advanced Japanese-language teacher trainees from overseas talked about their native countries, and sang and danced. They also explained about their training projects and Japanese-language teaching materials used in their countries. About 600 people, mostly from Saitama Prefecture and the city of Saitama, attended and enjoyed the fair.

In September 2014, a symposium titled Preparing Students for the 21st Century: The Front Line of Education in ASEAN Member States −The Role of Foreign Language Education in Secondary Education− with education officials from five ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) was held. It was a discussion and exchange of opinions on a number of topics: One's country's foreign-language education policies to train global personnel who will lead the 21st century, and the status of Japanese-language learning and education in one's country.

In February 2015, a symposium called Language Learning Design Starting from Task Performance −A Challenge of the Coursebook Series, Marugoto: Japanese Language and Culture− saw a lively debate with over 180 attendees, most of them involved in Japanese-language education.

Lectures and other activities were also held in this 25th year, a time for us to look back on the past 25 years and to think about how to support Japanese-language education in the years to come.

The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa shall continue conducting training programs and developing teaching materials to help advance and expand Japanese-language education.

Photo of Japanese-Language Institute's 25th anniversary symposium
Japanese-Language Institute's 25th anniversary symposium
Preparing Students for the 21st Century: The Front Line of Education
in ASEAN Member States

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 as well as high school and university students learning Japanese overseas. In fiscal 2014, the institute trained 548 people from 97 countries and regions.

The Lee Soo-Hyun Youth Exchange Program was held for the 14th time. For the JET Memorial Invitation Program for U.S. High School Students, started in 2011 after the Great East Japan Earthquake, 32 high school students were selected from all over the U.S. They visited places like Ishinomaki where two JET Program teachers from the U.S. died in the 2011 disaster. With the support of the survivors and friends of the two JET Program teachers, the students met with the local people.

We also held a preparatory training session for 140 people who were to be sent to ASEAN countries under The Japan Foundation Asia Center's "NIHONGO Partners" program.

The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai is also expanding training programs conducted on consignment. One example was the training session in fiscal 2014 for students from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. A Japanese-language training session for King Saud University students visiting Japan was held for the first time. This training session was sponsored by Mitsubishi Corporation's donation to the university.

Photo of Japanese-language trainees from King Saud University visiting Asakusa
Japanese-language trainees from King Saud University visiting Asakusa