Today, I want to write about “meaning and recognition of being Japanese” thinking with education in Japanese elementary school.
First of all, I am Japanese. My mother and father are Japanese, I born in Japan and grow up in Japan. But I lived in England for 4 years in total when I was in elementary school. I spend half of the time in Japanese school and the half in local school. In a way, it was the most shocking experience in my whole life and also later day life after I came back in Japan.
I came back in Japan when I was third grade in elementary. It was private elementary school in Nara and there were about 80 children in each grade and I was the only transfer student in my school. Also I was the only student who can speak with ES teacher. At first day in my elementary, I was called “gaijin” just because I came back from England and can speak English. The word was enough for me to addle my identity.
Why I am “gaijin”? What is the difference between me and other children?
From 2011 in Japan, every elementary school required English class for children to acquire basis of communication. The numbers of foreigners in Japan are increasing and it is not rare to see “Hafu” child in Japanese elementary school. I think this is good mood for Japanese education but still there are many things to think about. Japanese are ethnic group of accommodativeness which means they don’t like the “difference” especially when they are child. We have to think and teach about how children deal when they met with “difference” and how to understand it not just thinking about “communication skill”.
I agree with you. As you mentioned at last, Japanese people don’t accept difference. People believe assimilating and not to stand out in the society are the best way to live. Therefore, people, especially children points out the difference and says difference between others are bad.
Japanese education focus on cooperative and team work. So, people tend to ostracized difference. May be this happens in other society, but I believe Japan tend to be strong with this.
Therefore, teaching how they have to deal with “Difference” is important. Now days, foreign people are increasing in Japan. So, it is very important for us to deal and accept the difference.