The Case for Multilingual Japan: 1968-2008

John C. Maher, Professor of Linguistics, International Christian University, Tokyo and Visiting Professor St. Antony's College, Oxford

East Asian Identities and Cultures Cluster Seminar

25.Feb.2009 17.00 - 18.30
Room G.03, 20 Cromer Terrace - Leeds


Language diversity continues to evolve in the Japanese archipelago that comprises older mother tongues, newcomer languages, pidgins and creoles and newly standardizing languages. Multilingualism in Japan is greater than the sum of its languages. It resides not in the celebration of micro-ethnicities, of mere 'difference' but in a growing awareness of social hybridity, life-style crossing and 'metroethnicity' (Maher 2005).

How has the notion 'multilingual Japan' gained momentum over the past 40 years?  A nationwide survey of language awareness among college students in Japan will be discussed together with a vision for future strategic thinking in politics and education.


All welcome!