The necessity of international perspective in Japan

by Mayu Uehara

“Identify yourself within ten words.” This was first question in the Canadian government class which I had taken in Canada. My answer was “I’m Mayu who was born in a small island ‘Japan’.” I identified myself with given name and nationality. What surprised me was that other Canadian students identified their self with hobbies, personalities, dreams but they didn’t state “I’m Canadian.” International Migration has become controversial problem in Japan. What makes Japan being conservative and then what kinds of things may change current situation?

As far as I’m concerned, the word ‘only’ and historical culture make Japanese conservative. Generally, despite there are many temples and shrines in Japan, Japanese tend not to have strong religions. Then what ties Japanese bond strongly is language which is used only in Japan, habits which are only Japanese adopt, sense which we only have, common ancestors who had worked for only Japanese development, and gene and blood which we only have as Japanese. Though there are many times to connect with countries from overseas by trading products, food, ideas and so on, we are not used to live with foreigner except Asian. We had developed only our culture in this society. I think Japanese are concerned about whether these ‘only’ things are going to fade away and also life styles in case if government put less priority for protecting Japanese than before because of pursuing multi-nationalism. To add, the more we have consciousness toward being Japanese, the more we don’t understand much to be transnational immigration of other countries, because generally speaking, we don’t try to change nationality for profit. Being other country’s nation is concerned as serious decisions except global marriage. This is why we so-called homogeneous nations are mostly conservative. Though world become globalized, inside of Japan is still not globalizing.

Even though inside of Japan is still conservative, we still have ways to develop as a globalized country. These ways are improving communication tools such as second-language, adding global studies in high school education for learning basic knowledge of global issues, and improving working conditions for labor recruitment of foreigner. Nevertheless, government decided to adopt English as a subject in compulsory education, and numbers of people studying abroad has increased, there are few people who can speak or use English in Japan. English which is taught in schools mostly focus on much more grammar and make light little of speaking. It’s not useful and waste of time if we can’t use it in daily life. When we have foreign neighbor and if we can’t speak English or any other language which can be useful, it’s hard to tell them any kinds of rules of the communities which probably they don’t know. Improving second-language makes communities and society prepare for inside of globalization. Secondly, global studies are also important in the time for students to expand their perspective broader. The more they have chances to think about these issues, the more they can prepare for making judgments when they face them. Give students chances to observe Japan from world view must be helpful for them when they consider Japanese future. Thirdly, the numbers of foreigner who is working in Japan has increased; however, their working condition is unstable. Especially, though Japanese government is progressing recruiting Vietnamese or Thai for making up for a loss of nursing elderlies, their treatment is too cold-hearted. They must be treated as one of worker even they are employed as temporary workers. If there are international center which can help foreigner to support giving advises or teach Japanese systems, the Japanese society itself will be more active and the global society will become realistic.

In conclusion, the international immigrations are pretty difficult topic in Japan however; the thing can be optimistic ways to take step by step. To teach English and other second-language must be necessary for global society and also to train students to have opinions which are considered with both Japanese and international perspective will be more practical in the time. Though the inside of Japan is still not globalized, the world is shifting to more globalized perspective therefore we should think about these situations in more positive and global way. 

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