Accepted paper:

Japanese language for peace and hope: from narrative of language learners in civil war zones

Authors:

Noriko Ichishima (Akita University)

Paper short abstract:

In this presentation, focus will be upon Syrian Japanese language learners both in the Syrian boarders as well as those with refugee status outside the country clarifying their linguistic consciousness from their narratives claiming the need for Japanese language education as a peace-building tool.

Paper long abstract:

According to a survey by the Japan Foundation titled, "Current Status of Japanese-Language Education abroad 2013." Japanese language education is currently being conducted in 136 areas globally. This includes countries steeped in civil wars such as Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. Yet the situation regarding Japanese language education is hardly elucidated. As an example, there are language learners in war-torn Syria who-under a perpetuated civil war-continue their language studies, while those fleeing and becoming refugees do so as well under adverse conditions. Problems have been reported in mass media circles with little follow up discussion of the plight of these language learners under severe civil war conditions. The necessity for offering support in the field of Japanese language education seems paramount. In this presentation, focus will be upon those language learners both within the Syrian boarders as well as those with refugee status outside the country clarifying their linguistic consciousness from their narratives claiming the need for Japanese language education as a peace building tool. The analyzed data are from about 28 hours of interviews with four Syrian Japanese language learners conducted on several occasions between 2014 and 2016 along with their notes. The analytical method used was in the framework of "Life Story Interview." Learner A reportedly said that while learning Japanese language in a severe civil war environment, such as in Syria is difficult, she wanted to aid the peace process using the Japanese language when the war would come to an end. Learner B expressed that although "refugee status" harbors a negative image, the civil war has reduced the country to its lowest point. It is his hope that his Japanese language will aid in the peace building to come. These narratives suggest that perhaps Japanese language can act as a kind of symbol for future hope and peace. Why these four narratives continued their language studies under these adverse conditions and why they view Japanese as a symbol for hope and peace will be the aim of my presentation as to how this might play a role in the peace-building process to come.

panel S10_06
Peace and language education (1): critical content-based instruction (CCBI) and ideas and practices of Japanese language education [JP]