Policy at odds with its purpose

Chris Clancy’s Aug. 1 letter, “Language policy hurts children,” makes for an interesting debate as a followup to the July 14 editorial “More people studying Japanese.” I can understand that children must be the ones who are affected the most.

When you think of the sheer numbers of people studying Japanese, it seems like a big increase. But is not a lot of the interest in manga, animation and the like?

That is what’s being promoted overseas by several education agencies as well. That’s a good thing, but I wonder how many Japanese companies would be interested in hiring people who are largely influenced by anime culture and that kind of Japanese.

There seems to be a dissonance between purpose and policy. Many foreigners have to be taught Japanese manners, a polite way of speaking and so forth once they join a company — even after they’ve studied at Japanese universities. They should be taught these things at university rather than in the workplace.

Also, one must note that most Japanese learners tend to be from particular countries. More could be done to increase the number of students from other countries.

As I was reading this news, I found out that my Japanese friend, who works as a Japanese-language teacher, is being moved within the company from teaching Japanese to working as a tourist adviser from next year — this after having left a job and studying for years to become a teacher. How ironic.

rajdeep seth
kure, hiroshima

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • kamakiri

    From my own experience of being interrested in traditional japanese culture i wanted to study in Japan. Because my country( Belgium) does not have a working holiday or special visa arrangement with Japan I had the hardest time of my life to be able to stay in Japan and get a visa . Whyle around me i saw French, Americans and so on who had a working holiday visa were in Japan for two years but couldn’t speak one word Japanese or were even remotely into the culture. (don’t want to generalize but everybody who has lived in Japan knows the experience) what i’m saying is that it cannot be so hard to provide a special visa for somebody who has a masters degree in Japanology.
    Also not hand out working holiday visa’s like they are cookies in the quest for native speakers english. Being a native speaker alone does not make you elligible to be a teacher of english.