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Keynote Speaker

Koichi Iwabuchi


Koichi Iwabuchi is Professor of the School of Sociology and the Director of the Research Centre for Embracing Diversity at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan. His academic career has been made while moving back and forth between Japan and Australia. Resigning Nippon Television Network (NTV), he moved to Australia and completed a PhD at Western Sydney University (Media and Cultural Studies). Since then, Iwabuchi worked for International Christian University, Waseda University and Monash University as the Director of Monash Asia Institute. His main research interests are cross-border cultural flows, connections and dialogue & diversity, cultural citizenship and public pedagogy. He is groping for the creation of dialogic (un)learning process that encourages citizens to embrace diverse differences and live together with care for each other. His recent English publications include; Resilient Borders and Cultural Diversity: Internationalism, Brand Nationalism and Multiculturalism in Japan (Lexington Books, 2015); “Dialoguing with diversity: Towards an inclusive and egalitarian society”, Dive-In: An International Journal on Diversity & Inclusion, (No.1, 2021); Global East Asia: Into the 21st Century (eds. with F. N. Pieke, University of California Press, 2021).

Some thoughts on an unending dialogue with diversity

This talk critically discusses the encouragement of diversity and inclusion in Japan. 'Diversity and inclusion' has been widely recognized as a key principle to be fostered by institutions, corporations and administrations as it enhances innovation and productivity. Japan is no exception. However, the promotion of diversity does not necessarily enhance the inclusion of marginalized people on equal terms. Overviewing conceptual problems associated with diversity that has been developed in Euro-Australian contexts, this talk discusses several ways in which the apparent encouragement of diversity eventually deters the advancement of inclusion of socio-cultural differences and points out crucial issues to be tackled in the Japanese context. Such reappraisal does not negate the significance of diversity and inclusion. An unending critical dialogue with diversity is indispensable to grope for ways to steadily enhance social practice, imagination and solidarity toward the egalitarian embracement of socio-culturally marginalized people. 

Claire Maree

Keynote Speaker


Claire Maree is Professor in Japanese at the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne. Claire's key expertise lies in the linguistic analysis of identity and the mediatisation of language styles. The key themes of her current research are a) the reproduction, negotiation and contestation of identities in language, and b) the interconnection of gender and sexuality in everyday language practices. Claire's third monograph, queerqueen: Linguistic Excess in Japanese Media (2020, Oxford University Press) examines the editing and writing of queer excess into Japanese popular culture through mediatization of queerqueen styles. Claire also contributes to the area of language education. She has extensive experience in the study of contemporary Japanese culture/society. She is actively involved in Queer Studies and qualitative approaches to language, gender and sexuality. Claire collaborated on the ARC Discovery Project, "Thirty Years of Talk: A Panel Study of Kobe Women's Interview Discourse", with Prof. Kaori Okano and A/Prof Ikuko Nakane.

(adopted from her profile on the university website

Beyond Inclusion

In the 2010s, “diversity and inclusion” surpassed “multicultural coexistence” and its predecessor “internationalization” in the bureaucratic discourses of contemporary Japan.At each historical point these terms were co-opted into Japanese language education and Japanese Studies. The limits of approaches triumphing “diversity and inclusion” were exposed as hard borders were imposed in Japan and Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. state, and “multicultural coexistence” is predicated on a benevolent majority culture, “diversity and inclusion” is predicated on exclusionary practices.

How, then, can we move beyond inclusion?

In this talk I first focus on contemporary applied linguistics research which pushes beyond inclusion to affirmation. I will next draw on the nexus of language and studies research to examine the intersections of social justice, media and entertainment. by COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to opportunities to build and/or maintain networks which seek to counteract exclusion.

Keynote Speaker

Ken Cruickshank

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Dr. Ken Cruickshank is Professor in Education at the University of Sydney and Director of the Sydney Institute for Community Languages Education. He has many years’ experience as a teacher, educator and researcher in languages education. His most recent book is Language Education in the School Curriculum: Issues of Access and Equity (2020) published by Bloomsbury Academic, London. His two main recent research areas are increasing language teacher supply/ making pathways into accreditation for teachers with overseas-training and also on improving the provision and uptake of languages in schools and universities.

Japanese Language Education and Possibilities for the Future

Australia ranks second-lowest of all OECD countries in the provision and uptake of languages in schools, but languages study is in crisis in all Anglophone countries. The promises for Japanese language study in the 1990s have never been fulfilled and in the process Japanese background teachers and students have been marginalised from mainstream education. This presentation looks at why this has happened and take a broad overview of Japanese language education in Australia across educational sectors and ages of students. The main focus of the presentation, however, is what practical steps can be taken to reverse the decline in the teaching and learning of Japanese across Australian schools and universities – following initiatives in the US, Australia and elsewhere. The three main findings discussed are 

  1. There needs to be a focus on assessing and accrediting students’ fluency gains in Japanese no matter where they are learning and what age they are. For this we need validated classroom-based assessment tools;

  2. There needs to be a shift from labelling teachers and students according to ‘background’ and ‘non-background’, looking instead at crediting teacher and student knowledge and skills;

  3. There needs to be mandatory study of languages in primary school, greater provision in secondary school and changes to the Year 12 exams to increase numbers at university level.

Special Lecture Speaker

Kazuko Nakajima


Born in Tokyo, spent her childhood (K-G3) in Beijing, China. She holds an undergraduate and postgraduate degree from International Christian University (M.A.) and a postgraduate degree from the University of Toronto (M.Phil.). She is Professor Emerita of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto. After retiring, she taught at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies and director of the Japanese Language Education Center and is currently the principal of the Secondary Division, Toronto Hoshuko in Canada. In 1988, she became the founding president of the Canadian Association for the Promotion of Japanese Language Education (CAJLE) and is currently honorary president. In 2004, the Japanese Society for Mother Tongue, Heritage Language, and Bilingual Education (MHB) was formed in Japan, and now the honorary president. Since 2016, she has been the president of Bilingual/ Multilingual Child Network (BMCN). Throughout her career, she has been involved in fact-finding surveys and developing language assessment tools for young learners. Major studies include:  (a) “Bilingual Proficiency Assessment of Toronto Hoshuko Students” (1979-81) jointly with Cummins, Swain, etc., (b) "Survey of Foreign Children's Japanese Language Proficiency (L2) and their Native Language Proficiency (L1)" (2000) of the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, (c) “Study of Bilingual Writing Skills of Toronto Hoshuko G1-G9” (2001). About assessment tools, she developed:  (a) The Oral Proficiency Assessment for Bilingual Children (OBC) with CAJLE members (2000), (b) "Interactive Reading Skill Assessment" (Nakajima and Sakurai, 2012), and (c) "JSL Interactive Assessment for Foreign Students (DLA)" (2012-2014), and currently she participates in the project: "Language Ability Evaluation of Foreign Students" of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan. Her publications include "Language and Education: For Parents Raising Children Abroad" (Overseas Children's Education Foundation), " Methods of Bilingual Education: What Parents and Teachers Can Do Before Age 12" (ALC Press), "Towards Multilingual Education: Foreign and Japanese Young People as Linguistic Resources (Hitsuji Shobo), translater and co-author of "Canadian Heritage Language Education" and "Education to Support Language Minorities" (Akashi Shoten). In 2019, she was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure.

New Challenges of Hoshuko that Play a Part in Immersion Education: Based on Crosslinguistic Pedagogy Theory and Fact-Finding Surveys

Regarding the education of Japanese and Nikkei children growing up overseas, the Japanese language policy focus on the “Japanese school'' or Nihonjin Gakko and the “supplementary school'' or Hoshuko as a supporting role. For children living in the 21st century, shouldn't the "supplementary school" where multiple literacies develop play a leading role? In this paper, we focus on second-generation children and consider the future of “supplementary school'' that play a role in immersion education.  According to the recent retrospective survey of successful Hoshuko graduates to illustrate the benefits of the program, it has become clear that the survivors of Hoshuko accept the life of  "six days a week" i.e. <five days at local school + one day at supplementary school>,  and through this, they develop “one academic ability, character development, and identity” using two languages. Since the primary purpose of the local public school and Hoshuko is not to acquire “language abilities” but to acquire “academic content”or  “scholarstic abilities,” the relationship between the two is quite close to immersion education that originated in Canada. However, the two schools are "two solitudes" without connection. Could transfer across languages occur in such a situation? And how can we promote transfer? Based on the results of the bilingual studies done with Hoshuko children, we propose a new challenge for Hoshuko education that fosters advanced biliteracy, from the perspective of crosslinguistic pedagogy, transformative multiliteracies education, and translanguaging.

Invited Speaker

​Shinko Fukazawa


Shinko Fukazawa has been working in Japanese language education in Thailand over 40 years. Since the 2000s, she has been involved in initiating activities to support children and families with Japanese roots. She has served as a Japanese language lecturer at Thammasart University, and at the Japanese Foundation. Currently, she holds the position of advisor for the ‘Japanese Language Classes for Bilingual Children’, and act as a representative for the ‘Japanese Mother Tongue and Heritage Language Education and Research Association of Thailand’ as well as the ‘Homestay Program for Japanese Families in Thailand, Ruamjai’. Her recent publications include Plurilingual and Pluricultural Workshops in Thailand- Activities of Self-Expression for Myself, and a Space for Sharing Experiences with Others (In Japanese) (2018, co-authored), Activities of Self-Expression for Myself (In Japanese) (2018, co-authored), and Educational Practices that Support the Growth of Plurilingual and Pluricultural Children: A Case Study of Parents in Thailand (In Japanese) (2013).

The Japanese Language Classes in Thailand: Empowering Plurilingual/Pluricultural Children to Live Spontaneously – Diverse Parents and Children of Japanese Roots as Valuable Resources-

The ‘Japanese Language Classes for Bilingual Children’ in Bangkok was started in 1999 by Japanese parents who married to Thai partners. I have been involved in class management since 2002. Initially, our class goals were centered around ‘Japanese language and cultural maintenance’. However, in 2008, we shifted our focus to the ‘development of children’s language for their identity and their skills to establish relationships in society’. This transition led to a change in our class management approach, moving from parent-centered activities, which were driven by the parental desire to pass on the Japanese language to their children, to a children-centered perspective that prioritizes the children’s needs. As a result, our class activities have undergone changes, with a greater emphasis on ‘themes’ such as seasons in Japan and Japanese culture, which enhance children’s motivations and capture their interest.


In addition, we accommodate children of various ages and with different levels of Japanese language proficiency in our classes. Therefore, we have adopted a ‘theme-based experiential learning’ approach to enable all children to learn together. However, turning this vision into practices posed challenges. It was not until 2017 that we underwent trials and errors, and ultimately reached the current form of ‘theme-based experiential learning’ in all classes. We experienced several changes in our class management, and at present, we conduct classes with active parental involvement and collaborative teamwork.


In the field of heritage-language education for Japanese children, there has been a notable concern regarding the burden placed on parents who take on the role of teachers in the classroom, as well as the gaps that may exist between parents and children, which are crucial issues in classroom management. However, our theme-based experiential learning approaches have successfully bridged the needs and demands of both parents and children, resulting in the meaningfulness of the class activities.


During my presentation today, I will introduce the narratives of parents and children in our classes to demonstrate how they find meaning in theme-based experiential learning. Additionally, I will discuss the historical background of Japanese heritage-language education, which has been traditionally depicted as ‘a space of lacking’. However, in reality, it should be viewed as ‘a space of richness’ when we consider the diversity of parents and children as valuable recourses and design lessons from children’s perspectives.

The Japan Foundation - Special Speaker

Gunei Sato

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During the 26 years I served as a professor at the Center for Education of Children Overseas of Tokyo Gakugei University, I conducted extensive research specializing in the education of Japanese children living abroad and children with foreign backgrounds in Japan. Initially, my research focused on understanding the educational experiences of Japanese children living abroad. However, my interest expanded to include children with diverse backgrounds residing within Japan. Throughout my career, I have dedicated myself to developing the JSL (Japanese as a Second Language) curriculum, drawing inspiration from language education policies and practices implemented in Australia. Since then, I have actively contributed to policymaking and the implementation of educational policies to promote inclusivity and provide support systems for these children. Since April 2020, I have served as the Executive Director of the Japan Foundation Japanese Language Institute. Some of my recent works include "Tabunka-Shakai ni ikiru kodomo no kyouiku(Education for Children in a Multicultural Society)" (2019: Akashi ) and " Kaigai de Manabu kodomo no kyouiku(Education of Children Studying Abroad)" (co-authored 2020: Akashi Shoten).

Rethinking children’s language education

Lecture Title:

Rethinking children’s language education: exploring the possibilities of hybrid identity formation


Workshop Title:

Let's share our ‘concerns’ in our quest for ‘joyful parenting’!

The first half of the seminar is a lecture titled “Reconsidering children’s language education”. The talk will be divided into the following key sections: (1) observation from research and practice in intercultural education, (2) rethinking children and language, (3) perspectives on language learning, and (4) how to proceed with practice. Let’s think together about language education to help children form a hybrid identity.

The second half of the seminar consists of a workshop titled “Let's share our ‘concerns’ in aiming for ‘enjoyable parenting’!” I believe that ‘enjoyment’ is not something to be pursued, but something that comes about through interacting with children, family and peers. It is not something that exists outside of ourselves, but relates to what we are and the way we live our lives. The problems of parenting are endless, but we invite you to share your problems and think about parenting together.

This workshop will focus on several themes around language in a group work setting. Group members will be asked to talk to each other and discuss key issues. It is important that you participate in the discussion. You will be asked to come up with “concerns” and issues that arose from the discussion and think about how to deal with them.

Kaori Okano

Keynote Speaker

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Prof. Kaori Okano has been withdrawn from the keynote lecture.

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