Patricia J. Wetzel

Date of Award

Summer 9-21-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Japanese


World Languages and Literatures

Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 86 pages)


J. V. Neustupný -- Criticism and interpretation, Sue Wright (1947-) -- Criticism and interpretation, Bernard Spolsky -- Criticism and interpretation, Robert L. Cooper (Robert Leon) 1931-2012 -- Criticism and interpretation, Japanese language -- Study and teaching -- Japan, Language policy -- Japan -- History, Public schools -- Japan -- Cross-cultural studies, Bilingual education -- Japan, Bilingual education -- United States




This thesis discusses the current Japanese language (nihongo) education for immigrant students at public schools in Japan and provides recommendations through the study of language policy and the comparison of bilingual education in the United States. The current situation of a decreasing birth rate and increasing aging population in Japan has led to the acceptance of more foreign workers. Due to this change, language education in Japan has increasing development. The focus of chapter 1 is on the theories of language policy. This paper particularly focuses on the ideas of Wright (2004), Neustupný (2006), Spolsky (2004), and Cooper (1989), and discusses similarities and differences between them. By applying these theories to language policy in Japan, chapter 1 shows how language policy changed throughout Japanese history. Chapter 2 discusses the current environment surrounding immigrant students. It includes a description not only of the expanding population of foreign students, but also the history of Japanese language education and the laws related to it. This chapter also presents the present movement of language policy in Japan and how the movement affects Japanese language education for language minority students. Chapter 3 compares bilingual education in the United States to bilingual education in Japan, and makes three suggestions to improve Japanese language education at public schools in Japan, particularly addressing the classification of language levels for immigrant students, teaching styles, and the limitation of qualified bilingual teachers.

Persistent Identifier