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Japanese Language and Literature

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Japanese, Language Acquisition


According to the survey results, 57% of the survey respondents said no to the question, “Is the Japanese language educator community in North America diverse one?” (Mori, Hasegawa, Park, and Suzuki, this volume). This result suggests that the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ) as a professional organization needs to improve diversity within the field. What is a more important question is whether or not our organization and its membership as a whole embrace the value of diversity and put it into practice in every aspect of their profession on a daily basis. The survey results make it clear there is disparity and division among our members according to varying language background and instructional levels. Now that we have the results and can see the kinds of issues being raised, we need to reflect on these issues and try to understand how they arose. Based on my experience of having served three national organizations (ATJ, NCJLT, and AATJ) as an officer and on the boards of directors, I will first elaborate on these issues and point out that AATJ has missed the opportunity to integrate the two organizations, the Association of Teacher of Japanese (ATJ) and the National Council of Japanese Language Teachers (NCJLT) after they merged. In order to improve the current situation, I suggest that AATJ transform into a full organization of well-integrated members by (1) reevaluating the current mission and bylaws in order to have a common goal or vision adopting the spirit of diversity and inclusion as a core value, (2) strengthening its commitment to fostering a climate conducive to open and respectful exchange of ideas, and (3) articulating what it aims to instill in students.


Copyright (c) 2020 Suwako Watanabe

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