Ingrid Piller and Kimie Takahashi are talking about the making of Japanese on the Move on ABC Radio National Lingua Franca. Tune in at 3:45pm on Saturday, May 05 or for the repeat on Wednesday, May 09 at 9:45pm. Alternatively, you can listen any time on ABC Radio National Lingua Franca.
Ingrid and Kimie speak about their 12-year academic collaboration in the sociolinguistics of language learning, bilingualism and intercultural communication, particularly as they are relevant in the contexts of migration to Australia and the global spread of English. They explain how Japanese on the Move grew out of this research and aims to showcase the experiences of transnational people with connections to Australia and Japan because the contributions of such people to both their countries of origin and their countries of residence are often overlooked.
A key achievement of Japanese on the Move is the way it pushes at narrow conceptions that closely link language and ethnicity as we feature many participants making ‘non-obvious’ language choices.
Japanese on the Move also makes a contribution to questioning the belief that successful settlement in Australia is tied to English as we feature successful business people with little English and who speak about state English proficiency requirements as barriers rather than supports to their businesses.
Japanese on the Move also shows that even the idea that the world of work is English-speaking in Australia is not always true.
Japanese on the Move is also concerned with language choice in the family and the joys and challenges of raising children as transnational parents.
Finally, Japanese on the Move shows how history complicates a personal sense of belonging as we feature different generations of Japanese migrants to Australia who arrived into “different Australias” at different times.
We also speak about the medium of Japanese on the Move as a unique way of conducting and disseminating academic research and making a contribution to re-imagining Australia. Being multilingual, being cosmopolitan or being Asian are often seen as somehow ‘un-Australian’ but Japanese on the Move features a uniquely Australian group of people who contribute immensely to the community as business owners, employees, artists, parents or volunteers.
The proudest contribution of Japanese on the Move is thus the way the portraits featured there challenge us to re-imagine what it means to be Australian in the 21st century.