Volume 3, Issue 1  April 2020, pp. 22–43          Download PDF

A Special Issue on Student Research
Representations of multiculturalism in Japanese elementary EFL textbooks: A critical analysis

Kate Alice Efron https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6464-14271

1 Indiana University Bloomington, USA kategarnettefron@gmail.com

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/ice.v3n1.224


Recent reforms to Foreign Language Activities policies in Japan have highlighted the importance of facilitating multilingualism and multiculturalism in global contexts. However, as this analysis finds, some of the most recent textbooks (2018-2020) for Foreign Language Activities classes in Japan are English Foreign Language (EFL) textbooks that fail to provide teachers and students with meaningful discussions on society, language, or culture. This critical discourse analysis (CDA) finds that four elementary school textbooks currently being used by boards of education throughout Japan fail to meet the Ministry of Education's goals for developing multilingualism and multiculturalism in Japanese elementary schools. Working in an anti-racist lens, this paper identifies problematic areas within the textbooks Let's Try 1, Let's Try, We Can 1, and We Can 2 (MEXT, 2018) and discusses the necessity of an attitudinal shift from linguistic hegemony to the implementation of anti-bias frameworks in language and culture education in Japan.


© Kate Alice Efron

CC  4.0
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Suggested citation

Efron, K.A. (2020). Representations of multiculturalism in Japanese elementary EFL textbooks: A critical analysis. Intercultural Communication Education, 3(1), 22–43. https://doi.org/10.29140/ice.v3n1.224

Related Articles:

Officer reports
The JALT CALL Journal Published: 27 April, 2021, Volume 17(1), 72–73. Download PDF

Negotiating intercultural spaces and teacher identity in an internationalised school in Shanghai
Adam Poole
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 23 August, 2019, Volume 2(2), 59–70. Download PDF

Designing a course in intercultural education
Adrian Holliday
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 11 August, 2018, Volume 1(1), 4–11. Download PDF

(Re)imagining a course in language and intercultural communication for the 21st century
Adriana Raquel Diaz, Paul J. Moore
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 29 December, 2018, Volume 1(3), 83–99. Download PDF

Reframing and hospicing mobility in higher education: Challenges and possibilities
Adriana Raquel Diaz, Marisa Cordella, Samantha Dispray, Barbara E. Hanna, Anna Mikhaylova
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 19 April, 2021, Volume 4(1), 106–121. Download PDF

Strategy use, self-efficacy beliefs, and self-regulatedness in adult foreign language learning
Akihiro Saito
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 26 August, 2020, Volume 3(2), 152–167. Download PDF

Engagement with technology: Gaming, immersion and sub-optimal experiences
Alastair Henry, Cecilia Thorsen
Technology in Language Teaching & Learning Published: 21 December, 2019, Volume 1(2), 52–67. Download PDF

In pursuit of intercultural competence: Exploring self-awareness of EFL pupils in a lower-secondary school in Norway
Anastasia Khanukaeva
Intercultural Communication Education Published: 23 December, 2020, Volume 3(3), 118–140. Download PDF

Language, diversity and culturally responsive education
Ann E. Lopez
Migration and Language Education Published: 30 April, 2020, Volume 1(1), 3–13. Download PDF

L2 motivation in ESP and EGP courses: An investigation of L2 motivational selves among learners of English in Saudi Arabia
Aser Nazzal K. Altalib
Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics Published: 30 April, 2019, Volume 2(1), 1–16. Download PDF