On August 04, Prof. Masaki Oda, Professor of Applied Linguistics and Director of the Center for University International Programs at Tamagawa University, Tokyo, Japan, will be visiting Ingrid Piller and Kimie Takahashi at Macquarie University to discuss research collaboration. He will also be delivering a guest lecture with the title “Welcome to Japan. You are now in the world ‘in’ English: The Role of Public Discourse and ELT“. All welcome to attend.
“Welcome to Japan. You are now in the world ‘in’ English: The Role of Public Discourse and ELT”*
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the relationship between the formation of public discourses and the ELT policy making in Japan, with a special attention to recent emergence of Japanese companies who declare English as its official language.
In the past months, some major Japanese companies have publicly announced that they would make English as their official language. While there was no significant attention to the movements paid by those involved in the profession, a considerable attention was paid by the general public. As Rakuten, an internet shopping mall company announced the policy a week prior to the upper-house election, its impact was significant enough to make some candidates mention their view on the policy.
As a part of my on-going project on public discourses and ELT policy making, I will give you a primary report on the influence of business sectors on ELT in Japan by investigating prevailing discourses created by such movements, using excerpts from newspaper articles and press releases on the issues. I will also analyze excerpts from Twitter messages by Mr Mikitani, the president of Rakuten and his followers after the company had decided to make English as its official language, in order to illustrate the circular structure of power relations behind the prevailing discourses concerning learning English involving policy makers, politicians, mass-media and general public. A special attention will be paid to the way public discourses are gradually formulated in order to achieve the hidden agenda without being noticed.
*This study is founded by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Kakenhi) Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) 21520596 (2009-2012)
Masaki Oda (Ph.D. Georgetown) is Professor of Applied Linguistics at Tamagawa University in Tokyo, Japan. His main interests are socio-political aspects of language teaching, language in social life and Multimodal discourse analysis.